Santos, Bienvenido

The novelist, short story writer and poet Bienvenido Santos was born on March 22, 1911 in Tondo, Manila. In 1932, he obtained his BA from the University of the Philippines. As a scholar under the Philippine Pensionado program in 1941, he pursued an MA in English at the University of Illinois, Columbia University and Harvard University. During the war years, he served as public information officer under the Philippine government in exile in Washington D.C. In 1946, he returned to the country to be a teacher and university administrator. He accepted a Rockefeller fellowship in 1958 at the Writers Workshop in the University of Iowa, where he later became a Fulbright exchange professor. He was also honored with the Guggenheim Fellowship, a Republic Cultural Heritage Award, Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, and an American Book Award. Santos also received honorary doctorate degrees from the UP and the Bicol University in 1981, and from Wichita State University, where he was a Distinguished Writer in Residence from 1973 to 1982. After he retired, he became a Visiting Writer and Artist at the De La Salle University in Manila. He passed away in 1996.

Santos’ works of short fiction, among which are well-known stories that depict the Filipino condition in America, include the collections You Lovely People (1955) and  Scent of Apples (1979). His six novels include The Man Who (Thought He) Looked Like Robert Taylor and What the Hell for You Left Your Heart in San Francisco. His poetry collections are entitled Distances: In Time and The Wounded Stag: 54 Poems, while his nonfiction has been collected in four books, among them Memory’s Fictions and Postscript to a Saintly Life.