Filipino Authors Honored at 41st National Book Awards

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Once again, the Manila Critics Circle (MCC) partnered with the National Book Development Board (NBDB) to celebrate the exceptional works of Filipino authors at the 41st National Book Awards held at the Areté at the Ateneo de Manila University on February 24th.

This year’s awards ceremony was particularly significant as it coincided with the two-year preparation of the Philippines as the second Southeast Asian country to be chosen as the Guest of Honor in 2025 at the prestigious Frankfurter Buchmesse, the world’s biggest book fair. This recognition highlights the growing influence and importance of Filipino literature on the global stage.

A total of 235 titles were submitted across 34 categories, representing the diverse literary landscape of the Philippines. These categories included seven languages: Filipino, English, Bikol, Binisaya, Hiligaynon, Tausug, and Waray. The awards recognized the outstanding contributions of both literary and non-literary works.

During the ceremony, the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to writer and literary critic Isagani Cruz. With over 30 published books, Cruz has not only made significant contributions to Philippine literature but has also been an advocate for promoting Philippine culture. He is a member of various groups and institutions that support and nurture the literary and artistic heritage of the country.

The Ateneo de Manila University Press was named the Publisher of the Year for the sixth consecutive year. This recognition reflects their commitment to publishing high-quality books that contribute to the advancement of Philippine literature.

Among the winners, Glenn Diaz’s “Yñiga” was awarded the Best Novel in English, while RM Topacio-Aplaon’s “El Arbol de la Alegria: Southern Quartet 1” won the Best Novel in Filipino category. Vida Cruz-Borja’s “Song of the Mango and Other New Myths” received the prestigious National Artist Cirilo F. Bautista Prize for Best Book of Short Fiction in English.

In the nonfiction category, Eric Ramos’ “Soldier, Solon, Statesman,” a biography chronicling the life of former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff and senator Rodolfo Biazon, was awarded the Pablo A. Tan Prize for Best Book of Nonfiction Prose in English. The Best Book Design award went to “Transfiguring Mindanao: A Mindanao Reader.”

The event was graced by the presence of National Artists Gemino H. Abad (Literature) and Ricky Lee (Film and Broadcast), who emphasized the importance of celebrating and honoring literary authors. Ricky Lee, known for his contributions to Filipino cinema, encouraged aspiring writers to persevere in their craft, despite the challenges they may face. He shared, “Never give up. The life of a writer has its ups and downs. There are frustrations and rejections. If you want to write, then keep on writing, non-stop.”

In addition to the winners mentioned above, several other remarkable works were recognized in various categories. Rowena P. Festin’s “Ang Buang ng Bayan: Mga Maikling Kuwento” won the Gerardo B. Cabochan Prize for Best Book of Short Fiction in Filipino. Wilfredo Liangco’s “Even Ducks Get Liver Cancer and Other Medical Misadventures” received the Pablo A. Tan Prize for Best Book of Nonfiction Prose in English. Jesus Aman Calvario’s “Pasasaan” was awarded the Best Book of Nonfiction Prose in Filipino.

Two anthologies were also acknowledged for their exceptional contributions to literature. “Kalandrakas Part I, 1890-1945: Stories and Storytellers of/on Regions in Mindanao, 1890-1990” and “Kalandrakas Part II, 1946-1990: Stories and Storytellers of/on Regions in Mindanao, 1890-1990” edited by Ricardo M. de Ungria were awarded the Best Anthology in English. Rolando B. Tolentino and Chuckberry J. Pascual’s “Plus/ at Iba Plus, Maramihan: New Philippine Nonfiction on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities” won the Best Anthology in Filipino category.

Lastly, Christian Jil R. Benitez’s “Isang Dalumat ng Panahon” was recognized as the Best Book of Literary Criticism/Cultural Studies, while the Best Book on Media Studies was awarded to “Alternative Cinema: The Evolution of Philippine Independent Film” by Rolando B. Tolentino.

The 41st National Book Awards showcased the exceptional talent and creativity of Filipino authors across various genres and languages. These awards not only honor their contributions but also inspire and encourage aspiring writers to continue pursuing their passion for literature.

Source: The Manila Times

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