Ang Sinulat ng Gabi

ni RR Cagalingan

Narinig ko na rin ito tuwing mag-aaya at nabanggit na rin ng isang kaibigan sa kaniyang post:

A: Tara, Writers’ Night táyo?

B: Ay, hindi ako pupunta, hindi naman ako writer.

At malungkot ko na lang sasabihin na, hindi naman ganun ’yun basta punta lang tayo. Hindi ko na rin maalala ang eksaktong panahon na inimbitahan akong dumalo sa taunang event na ito sa UP. Pitong taon na rin kami nagpupunta rito at bunga marahil ng pagkakaibigang nabuo sa iba’t ibang pangkat. Hanggang ngayon ay hindi ko na lang inaatang sa sarili ang bigat ng salitang manunulat. O siguro dahil makapal lang ang mukha ko at mahilig talagang uminom. Basta.

Alam kong medyo nahuli ako sa programa ngayon dahil nang silipin ko ang phone ay may ilang mensahe na ang mga kasamang nangangasiwa sa event. Pasensiya na at talagang naging umaatikabo ang biyahe mulang Maynila tungong Diliman. Pero nakaabot pa naman ako para masípat ang eksena, partikular ang marami-raming nagbebenta ng mga aklat—mulang mainstream hanggang sa indie na publikasyon. Parang naalala ko na hindi yata ganito noong nagdaang taon. At siyempre, bumisita muna ako sa booth ng Librong LIRA upang makahingi ng last minute instructions sa paglulunsad ng Ibig ni sir Joey Baquiran. Hindi ko rin nakaligtaang makipag-apir kay kuya Manny ng Anvil. Pramis, ang mamang ito ang isa sa mga pinakamasugid na tagasubaybay ng mga libro sa Filipinas.

Nasabihan na rin ako na magiging estrikto ang programa sa oras. At napakagandang marining ito dahil sa dinami-dami ng event sa lungsod ay normal na ang magpahaba nang magpahaba dahil sa iba’t ibang kadahilanan. Pagpasok mulang Lung Center (ang designated smoking area ng Univ Hotel na kinaroroonan ng ilang nagbebenta ng aklat) ay sasambulat ang malaking garden area na may trapal at punông-puno ng mga nakasilong na mga manunulat, bisita, manginginom, mangingibig, mutya, at iba pa. Naabutan ko pa ang paglulunsad ng Likhaan 11 at pagbati muli sa mga nakapaglathala sa journal ng ICW. Mabuti at mababása na ngayon nang libre ang Likhaan online kayâ mas lalawak pa ang maabot nito. Kruhay (Mabuhay sa Kinaray-a) nga pala kina Carlomar Arcangel Daona, Mariel Alonzo, Joel M. Toledo, Ned Parfan, Kat del Rosario, Anna Felicia C. Sanchez, Jenny Ortuoste, Thomas David Chaves, Jimmuel Naval, Chuckberry J. Pascual, Nicko Manipis de Guzman, Arbeen Regalado Acuna, Abner Dormiendo, Allan Popa, Jason Tabinas, Joselito D. Delos Reyes, Eugene Evasco, at Charlson Ong.

Pahabol na pagbati pala kay VJ Campilan na nagwagi ng Gawad Madrigal 2017 para sa kaniyang unang aklat na All my Lonely Islands (Anvil).

Sa loob ng silong, pansin na may kaniya-kaniyang puwesto ang mga panauhin. Naging biro na rin naming tawagin itong mga presidential table ng ilang hinahangaang manunulat. Marami ang nagkukumustahan at nagkakampayan. May mga eleganteng manang sa harapan na wagas sa pambubuyo sa mga nagbabasá. Naalala ko ang isa sa kanila na nagpayo sa isang magbabasá pa lámang na, lagyan mo naman ng libog!

Marami rin ang nása labas ng silong, lalo na sa hanay ng mga mas nakababata. Wala naman segurong pagtatangi kung saan nakaupo o nakapuwesto rito o bakâ nahihiya lámang ang iba. Kahit sa gilid ng venue maya’t maya ay may tumatawid na kung sino. Pero natitiyak kong unibersal ang alaala ng basâng damo at putik na kumapit sa mga sapatos at pantalon dahil nga umulan nang kaunti.

May mga kumanta ng mga standard at suwabeng-suwabe ang hagod ng mga bayaw ng Radioactive Sago Project. Nakakatuwa dahil minsan na lang sila makompleto o bihira na talaga akong manood ng gig. May ipinabalik na alaala ang kanilang Black Smoke Blues at para bang angkop rin sa kung anong lumalambong sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon natin. Panalong-panalo ang hulíng kanta ng Sago na kahit tumatakbo ito sa pagitan ng dalawang dekada ay wagas at wasak pa rin ang bulyaw ni Lourd hinggil sa pag-iral natin dahil lahat tayo ay baboy!

May balagtasan din pala mula sa grupong The Makátas. Sorry sa plug: kabilang po ako sa grupong ito. Pero sa dinami-dami ng mga pinagtanghalan, may kakaibang udyok ang ganang sumapi sa amin sa pakikipagtalo. Kasabay na rin nito ang tákot na bakâ ma-next ang mga tugmaan namin dahil nakikinig sina sir Rio Alma at Michael Coroza sa likod.

Nagkaroon din ng open mic kayâ hindi nagpahuli ang mga rapper ng Cannabis Ink mulang Tondo, mga kasapi ng Ugnayan ng Manunulat (UP UGAT), at si Franz “Lion Pants” Pantaleon. Pinakamasaya pa ring makita ang mga batang manunulat na nagtatanong kung maaari silang magbahagi ng kanilang mga akda. Kahit kailan, basta may panahon, hindi táyo dapat tumanggi sa mga nais magbahagi.

Saglit lamang ang open mic at nagbigay-daan pa ito sa kantahan mula kina Charlson Ong (na maituturing na muhong mang-aawit ng Writers’ Night), Marne Kilates (ang makatang crooner ng Daraga), at Celina Cristobal. Habang patuloy ang pagkalag sa awit ng gabi ay inanunsiyo na rin na libre ang beer (nagbigay ang San Miguel Corporation ng labinglimang kahon ng alak bilang donasyon sa piging) kayâ lalo pang lumawig ang posibilidad ng gabi (na malasing lalo?).

Padagdag lang nang padagdag ang kasiyahan ng Writers’ Night kada taon. Kahit saang pangkat o linyang pinagmulan ay bukás ang gabing ito para sa iyo. Panawagan na rin ito sa iba pang kapatid lalo na ang mga nagsusulat sa kani-kanilang pahayagang pangkampus at organisasyong pangmanunulat. Bukod sa mga pangkat, bakâ nga panahon na rin para mas idiin pa ang kahulugan ng Writers’ Night bílang gabi ng pagniniig ng mga manunulat at mambabasá. Dahil ang manunulat ay mambabasá at mahirap maging manunulat kung walang mambabasá. At kung di pa rin umobra ang pangungumbinsi, nasabi ko na kanina na libre ang beer!

 

Kasapi si RR Cagalingan ng Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA) at alumnus ng Thomasian Writers Guild (TWG). Naglilingkod siya sa pamahalaan at nakitira sa Lungsod Pasig.

Celebrating the Craft of Writing

by Isa Lorenzo

This year’s Writers Night capped off a trifecta of activities which included the 17th Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award (MGBFBA) and the launch of Likhaan Journal 11.

Held at the President B.M.S. Gonzales Room at the University Hotel, this year’s MGBFA recognized the debut works of authors writing in English. Initiated in 2001, The MGBFBA is an annual award given by the UP Institute of Creative Writing with the generous support of the Madrigal-Gonzalez family. For 17 years, the MGBFBA has honored Filipino writers who have recently come out with their first books in either English or Filipino. The award hopes to become both an inspiration and springboard for the recipient to continue with what they have started, and to foster the creation of even more critically acclaimed works of literature in the Philippines, in the various genres.

Previous winners of the MGBFBA have gone on to win other major awards and have written important new works, including F. H. Batacan, whose crime-thriller novel Smaller and Smaller Circles has enjoyed international acclaim and is now a major motion picture.  Another is Dr. Luna Sicat Cleto, now one of the ICW’s fellows and former ICW deputy director, for her novel Makinilyang Altar.  There’s also one of this year’s judges, Angelo “Sarge” Lacuesta who was the award’s first recipient in 2001 with his acclaimed collection of short stories, Life After X.

This year’s finalists were Arnie Quibranza Mejia for Writing Naked: A Memoir, V.J. Campilan for All My Lonely Islands, Francisco Guevara for The Reddest Herring, and Catherine Torres for Mariposa Gang and Other Stories. The judges are Gemino Abad, Randy David, and Sarge Lacuesta.

The University of Santo Tomas Press had three finalists (Mejia, Guevara, and Torres), while Anvil Publishing had one (Campilan).

Writing Naked was brought about by Mejia’s love for his ex-boyfriend, Ansel, who died of AIDS. Ansel’s death spurred Mejia to write the book, which took two decades to finish.

Campilan’s experience as a third-culture kid (TCK) inspired All My Lonely Islands. Campilan talked about the alienation she felt and the discrimination that she experienced when she returned to the Philippines. This led her to write a novel about a TCK. Guevara’s mother, Mrs. Ana Ferreria-Guevara, choked up as she related her son’s sudden death at the age of 31, from a skateboarding accident. “When writers die, they become books, which is after all, not too bad an incarnation,” she said.

Torres, who is based in Germany, was unable to attend the award ceremony.

Campilan won this year’s MGBFBA. “I wrote All My Lonely Islands as a meditation on what it meant to grow up with a fractured identity, its particular brand of loneliness and alienation. It started as my own story and expanded into a representation of Filipino TCKs, thousands of us who return to these islands, feeling just as lost and as cut off, floating isolated on the Pacific. I wanted a chance to explain our side of the story; this novel graciously gave me the platform to do so.” she said in her acceptance speech.

After the MGBFBA, everyone trooped outside to the University Hotel grounds. After an early dinner, the Likhaan 11 launch commenced. This year’s Likhaan published young writers, like Nicko de Guzman and Kat Del Rosario, along with established names like Allan Popa, Eugene Evasco, and Ned Parfan, who read one of his sonnets for the launch.

Another launch immediately followed the Likhaan 11 launch: the soft kickoff of Romulo P. Baquiran’s poetry book Ibig. Baquiran was feted (and gently criticized) by fellow writer Niles Jordan Breis, who introduced the book. Other writers, including Giancarlo Abraham, Loaf Fonte, and Bebang Siy read poems from the book. It was sold at a discounted price at the “Lung Center” just before the open grounds, along with books from the University of the Philippines Press and Anvil Publishing.

Gou de Jesus kicked off Writers Night by introducing pianist Henry Katindig and his wife Jeannie, who played a medley of songs from a bygone era. Katindig then jammed with the Radioactive Sago project, who played their hit songs “Gin Pomelo” and “Baboy.”

Writers came and went: National Artists Rio Alma and Bienvenido Lumbera, a resplendent Gilda Cordero Fernando. Directors Trebs Montero and Khavn dela Cruz also attended, the latter even jamming with Radioactive Sago Project.

Soon, de Jesus sang with the Katindig couple. Writers Marne Kilates and Charlson Ong followed suit.

An open mike featured performances from the barong-clad Makatas (made up of Dakila Cutab, Karl Isaac Santos, and RR Cagalingan), who delivered a Balagtasan battle, and rap songs from two of the men featured in the movie Tribu.

Past 11:30 p.m., and the authors were still at it. It was truly a night to celebrate the craft of writing.

Photos by Benjie Villacruel

Call for Submissions: Kritika Kultura / ADMU Press First Book Prize

Kritika Kultura (KK), in partnership with the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) Press, is now seeking submissions for its first book prize.

Gina Apostol, award-winning novelist, will serve as the competition’s inaugural judge. Her achievements include the Juan Laya Prize for the Novel (Philippine National Book Award) for both Bibliolepsy and The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata, which also won the biennial Gintong Aklat Award from the National Book Development Board. Her third novel, Gun Dealers’ Daughter, won the 2013 PEN/Open Book Award and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize. Her fourth novel, The Unintended, will be out in the fall of 2018.

Apostol’s growing oeuvre is remarkably influenced by her scholarly interests. Lately, she has been researching the Filipino-American war and has found herself unable to write about it in a single novel. The Unintended is an intellectual concept-novel, though also a book of grief, using research on the Balangiga massacre and the Filipino-American war to reexamine contemporary times. During the Duterte era, a white moviemaker and a Waray translator write dueling scripts about Balangiga and test the reader on these questions—who should be telling what story, and what is the telling for? The Unintended is only 220 pages long. Meanwhile, William McKinley’s World, her work-in-progress, is not yet a third way done at 300 pages. It is a domestic family saga weaving together filial memory of growing up with a pro-Marcos family under martial law with the diaries of two brothers, one a collaborator and spy for Americans, the other a revolutionary, during our forgotten anti-colonial war against the Americans—one brother has to kill the other, but what is that dying for?

Apostol’s novels are marked for their articulation of history not only in the sense of what has already taken place, but also as unforeseen possibility. Her works ground the reader in familiar circumstances while simultaneously rethinking personal agency alongside historical urgency.

If she has one way of describing work that she enjoys, it would be work that has spine: the structure holds the parts together, whether it is a work of detection, or desire, or despair, or simply of the comic quotidian, or of daily life.

This book prize welcomes a variety of works: from a simple novel with run-of-the-mill characters who suddenly find themselves in a Jane Austen romance, to a young-adult anti-colonial ghost story. Likewise, submissions which leave nothing wanting by way of novelistic form, and which challenge the boundaries of both scholarship and fiction, are also welcome.

All told: although the competition is open to a range of thematic considerations and formal approaches, the winning work will be distinguished by a sense of completion and integrity, both in form and content.

 

Prize Guidelines

  1. Who May Submit

The first book prize is open to all Filipino citizens regardless of place of residence who have not published a book of fiction or have not entered a formal contract for publication of a book of fiction by the deadline for submission of manuscripts to this competition.

The following may also be eligible to join the competition:

  1. Filipino writers who have published books in other genres or other disciplines;
  2. Filipino writers who have published books of fiction with no ISBN.

These writers may submit their independently published work to the competition.

Staff and employees of KK and AdMU Press, including their family members and relatives up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity, and incumbent students of the judge are disqualified from joining the competition.

  1. What May Be Submitted

Interested writers may submit a book-length (at least 49 pages) manuscript of fiction: a novel, a collection of short stories or flash fiction, or a cohesive gathering of works of various forms that may fall under the general classification of fiction. The manuscript must be written in English; translations into English from Filipino and other local languages are accepted, but the entirety of the original must be unpublished. Each writer may submit only one manuscript to the competition. The manuscript as a whole must be unpublished, but individual pieces within the manuscript may have been previously published. If applicable, include an acknowledgments page with publication credits in the manuscript. Simultaneous submissions to other publishers and contests are not permitted, although inquiries about the status of their submissions may be emailed to the organizers six months after the deadline has passed.

  1. How to Format the Manuscript and Where to Submit

Each manuscript must be submitted both in hard copy and electronically.

The hard copy (A4 paper size) must begin with a cover page that shows the manuscript’s title and the author’s name, address, telephone number, email address, and the word count of the manuscript. A second cover page must also be included, this time containing only the manuscript’s title and, if applicable, a table of contents. Please include a brief biography and, if applicable, a list of publication credits at the end of the manuscript, on a separate page. The manuscript must use a standard typeface in at least 11-point type; the manuscript may be 1.5-spaced or double-spaced. The hard copy of the manuscript must not be stapled or bound. Instead, the loose sheets must be placed inside an envelope.

Send the hard copy of the manuscript to:

Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
1/f De La Costa Hall
Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights, Quezon City 1108
Philippines

Email the soft copy of the manuscript to kkliterary@gmail.com (cc: kk.soh@ateneo.edu). For both the subject heading of the email and the filename of the submission, the author’s last name and the words “Book Prize” must be mentioned (for instance, Cruz_Book Prize). The following must be placed as in-line text in the email: the author’s name, address, telephone number, email address, and a brief biography; the word count of the manuscript; and a list of publication credits. The soft copy needs only one cover page, which includes the manuscript’s title and, if applicable, a table of contents. The manuscript must be submitted as an attachment, in .docx or .pdf format.

  1. When to Submit

The hard copy of the submissions must be postmarked no later than March 31, 2018 and the soft copy must be submitted no later than 11:59 pm (Philippine Standard Time) on March 31, 2018.

  1. Announcement of Winner

The result will be announced on September 2018. The winning manuscript will be published by Ateneo de Manila University Press, and the author will receive a modest cash award.

Please address inquiries to kkliterary@gmail.com (cc: kk.soh@ateneo.edu).

Kritika Kultura is acknowledged by a host of Asian and Asian American Studies libraries and scholarly networks, and indexed in the MLA International Bibliography, Thomson Reuters (ISI), Scopus, EBSCO, and the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Forum Kritika on Food Transformations: Eating and Wasting in the Anthropocene (extended to Dec. 31, 2017)

Food in the 21st century would be unrecognizable to our great grandparents. Canadian ecocritic Susie O’Brien has recently explained in an interview in ARIEL that “food is a rich site through which to think about a number of things: environment, colonialism, culture, affect, subjectivity, among others.” There is an urgency to theorizing about food, especially given the fact that hunger is seriously at odds with the promises of industrial agriculture. Indeed, according to Vandana Shiva, “industrial agriculture has not produced more food. It has destroyed diverse sources of food, and it has stolen food from other species to bring larger quantities of specific commodities to the market, using huge quantities of fossil fuels and water and toxic chemicals in the process.”

One of the four main impacts of contemporary industrial livestock that Tony Weis explores in The Ecological Hoofprint (2013) is environmental. Within this category of environmental impacts are subcategories including climate change, water use and pollution, biodiversity loss, energy wastage, the increase of antibiotic resistance among bacteria (and the subsequent creation of “superbugs”), and genetic pollution. There is no question, as Greta Gaard has recently observed, that “the ecological and human toll of industrialized human agriculture is no longer debated.” Yet, debates do rage about what exactly constitutes the Anthropocene, when it began, how it is sustained, what its philosophical and ethical contours and implications are, what conceptual tools it enables or disables, what it means to “think scale in cultural theory” (to borrow a phrase from Derek Woods), and so on.

What the Forum Kritika on Food Transformations seeks are theoretical understandings of literary food within the context of 21st century topics surrounding food. In particular, this Forum Kritika is interested in addressing several questions:

— How can we discuss from literary works the ways in which the practices of corporate capitalism and the pursuit of profit in the American food industry are neither viable nor productive of sustainable food sources, and how do we gauge and discuss the impacts of these practices on the Global South?

— What are the relationship between ecophobia, food, and rampant nationalism, and how are the cultural and national identities that cohere in food systems under threat when those food systems are dismantled?

— How can we theorize about the waste associated with food production, and how do these theoretical understandings cohere within the context of current debates about the definitional reach of the term Anthropocene?

— How can we theorize about relationships between food justice and environmental justice? What are the impacts of transnational food systems on the Global South?

— How important are matters about artificial food-like substances, GMOs, and synthetic hormones?  And why?

— What can we gain from literary investigations of food in novels including but not limited to Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats or All Over Creation; Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl; Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, The Edible Woman, Lady Oracle, or The Handmaid’s Tale; Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation; and so on?

Submission guidelines

Please send essays in the form of a Word document attachment to Dr. Simon C. Estok (estok@skku.edu; cc: kk.soh@ateneo.edu; subject: Food Transformations) by Dec. 31, 2017. Submissions should contain 7,000 to 8,000 words; include an abstract (200 to 250 words) and keywords (5 to7; should not be repeated in abstract and title). Kritika Kultura’s anonymous peer-review process requires that the electronic version of the essay contain no information that would identify the author. An author bio (100 to 150 words) should be included as a separate electronic file with the submission.

Papers will undergo a double blind peer review by specialists in the field; evaluation period of papers will be from Jan. to May 2018. Revisions of accepted essays will be due by May 15, 2018, with a final copy due date of June 15, 2018. The Forum Kritika on Food Transformations will be published in Aug. 2018.

About Kritika Kultura

Kritika Kultura is acknowledged by a host of Asian and Asian American Studies libraries and scholarly networks, and indexed in the MLA International Bibliography, Thomson Reuters (ISI), Scopus, EBSCO, and the Directory of Open Access Journals. For inquiries about submission guidelines and future events, visit http://journals.ateneo.edu/ojs/kk/ or email kk.soh@ateneo.edu