Photo by J.P. Autor

Oct. 24, 2014, 12:32 p.m. – THE UST Publishing House
joined the country’s first literary festival with the launching of six new
titles last Oct. 23.

Two new collections of poetry from Palanca winners,
“Hidden Codex” by writer-editor Jose Marte Abueg and “Loose
Tongue” by poet and former Varsitarian Associate Editor Carlomar Daoana,
were released.

The UST Publishing House also launched two new novels:
“The Coconut Republic” by Manuel Montealegre and “We Who Cannot
Be Daughters” by journalist and editor Clarissa Militante. “Cuaresma:
Isang Dulang Ganap Ang Haba”, a play written by University of the
Philippines  theater arts professor Sir
Anril Pineda Tiatco, was also released.

Also launched was “For Love and Kisses,” a
collection of stories by literary agent and former National Book Development
Board of the Philippines Executive Director Andrea Pasion-Flores.

UST professors Eros Atalia and Joselito de los Reyes,
together with essayist Ferdinand Jarin and fictionist Beverly Siy, spoke in a
forum titled “Reading and Writing for Filipinos by Filipinos” that
tackled the essence of Philippine literature.

“Nagsusulat ako sa wikang Filipino dahil Filipino din
ang gusto kong kausapin,” Siy shared. “Mapalad tayo na nabigyan tayo
ng napakagandang [wika] na naka-survive sa pananakop ng madaming lahi.”

Meanwhile, acclaimed writer and former Varsitarian Literary
Editor Eric Gamalinda released his first international novel, “The
Descartes Highlands.”

The novel tells the story of two half-Filipino brothers who
were sold for adoption by their American father and separated since birth. The
two, unaware of the other’s existence, tried to unravel their past and
reconnect with their father.

Palanca reaffirms literary calling

Gamalinda said the novel took 10 years to write, and was the
“most difficult book” he had written.

“I wanted to challenge myself with this novel,”
the New York-based writer said. “I hooked real-life events to the
narrative and made sure I would write something no one had ever written

The book was initially shortlisted for the Man Asian Prize
in 2009. It has since been revised for the book launch. Originally, the three
narratives of the characters were written in succession. Instead, the three
plots were weaved together in a single story.

All releases were part of the three-day Philippine Literary
Festival, sponsored by Raffles Makati and National Bookstore in partnership
with various publishers including the UST Publishing House. The event will run
until Oct. 25. A. C. P. Moldez and E. C. A. Lopez


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