In celebration of the National Literature Month, the Unyon ng Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) will hold its National Writers Congress on April 30, 2016, 8 am to 5 pm, at the Faura Hall AVR, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City.

The congress consists of a writers forum in the morning, and the awarding ceremonies of the annual Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Francisco Balatas, Gawad Paz Marquez Benitez, and Gawad Pedro Bucaneg, in the afternoon. 

A new set of UMPIL officers will also be elected during the congress and application for new members will be processed.

Taking the overarching theme of the congress, “A Nation in Translation”, the writers forum is headlined by a keynote lecture by dramatist and translator Dr. Paul Dumol. Dumol teaches literature, philosophy and history at the University of Asia and the Pacific. Last year, his book The Manila Synod of 1852: The Draft of its Handbook for Confessors(Ateneo de Manila University Press) won a National Book Award for Translation from the Manila Critics Circle and the National Book Development Board.

The writers forum also features a panel discussion on the art and industry of translation. The panel includes poet Kristian Sendon Cordero, Chinese-Filipino writer Joaquin Sy, and Ateneo de Manila professor Danton Remoto.

Cordero is an award-winning poet in Filipino and Bikol and currently initiates translation projects for the emerging Ateneo de Naga University Press. Meanwhile, Sy is the most active translator of Chinese-Filipino writing. Remoto, last year’s recipient of the Gawad Balagtas for poetry in English, hosts a popular arts and current affairs show in Radio Singko 92.3 FM. 

Highlighting the congress is the conferment of the three major awards being given out by UMPIL since 1988. 

This year’s recipients of the Gawad Alagad ni Francisco Balagtas, a lifetime achievement award for literary writing, are Maria Josephine “Joi” Barrios-Leblanc (Poetry in Filipino), Victor Sugbo (Poetry in English and Waray), Macario Tiu (Fiction in English and Cebuano), Nicolas Pichay (Drama in Filipino), Tito Valiente (Essay in English), Resurrecion Hidalgo (Fiction in Hiligaynon), Wilmer Joseph Tria, SJ (Essay in Bikol and Translation), and Susie Tan (Essay in Chinese). 

Receiving the Gawad Paz Marquez Benitez, an award for achievement in literary education, is the poet Dr. Christine Godinez-Ortega, the long-time director of the Iligan National Writers Workshop, and professor of literature at the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology. Receiving the Gawad Pedro Bucaneg, an award for literary organizations, is the Chinese-Filipino Literary Society.

The congress is open to the public.

The congress is supported by the Kagawaran ng Filipino, School of Humanities, Ateneo de Manila; the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino; and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

For inquiries and registration, email UMPIL Secretary-General Dr. Michael Coroza at [email protected].