Born in 1940, Rogelio R. Sicat (also “Sikat” in some publications) left his hometown San Isidro, Nueva Ecija in the 1950s to work on a degree in journalism at the University of Santo Tomas. After serving as a campus writer and literary editor of The Varsitarian, Sicat went on to become one of the greatest pioneers of Philippine fiction by deliberately choosing Filipino for the language of his prose, and by veering away from the concerns and conventions of the Western modernist writers.
Sicat’s work, which rejuvenated Philippine literature’s tradition of social consciousness, first appeared in the Tagalog literary magazine Liwayway. He gained recognition in the Palanca awards in 1962, and in 1965 came out in an anthology, Mga Agos sa Disyerto, alongside like-minded young writers. Sicat wrote on through the decades, establishing his position in literary history as fictionist, playwright and professor, eventually accepting deanship in the University of the Philippines Diliman.
“Impeng Negro” and “Tata Selo”, both of which have been interpreted into film, are only two of Sicat’s acclaimed stories. His other works include Dugo sa Bukang-Liwayway, Pagsalunga: Piniling Kuwento at Sanaysay, and the play “Moses, Moses”. Sicat died in 1997, but was honored a final time through a posthumous National Book Award the following year for his translation of William J. Pomeroy’s work into the title Ang Gubat: Isang Personal na Rekord ng Pakikilabang Gerilya ng mga Huk sa Pilipinas .