The Likhaan UP Institute of Creative Writing is bringing back the Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award for 2021. To catch up with last year’s events, there will be two MGBFBA awards for this year: the 20th in Filipino, and the 21st in English.

For the past twenty years, the MGBFBA has honored the most exemplary first books of young Filipino writers in and out of the Philippines. It is difficult to write one’s first book, and making it stand out from the rest is an even tougher challenge. Through this award, the UP ICW continues to encourage writers to bring their best foot forward into the literary world, even in the face of a pandemic.

Publishers and independent entities may nominate as many titles as they want for the award as long as it is the first book of the author, and as long as these books fall under the timespan indicated for each category. For books in Filipino, those qualified must have been published within 2018-2019, while for books in English, the timespan is 2019-2020.

The nominated book may be (1) a collection of poems; (2) a collection of short stories; (3) a full-length novel; (4) a collection of plays; (5) a collection of creative nonfiction (literary essays, autobiography, biography, travelogue, newspaper columns, etc.); or (6) a graphic novel or collection of short graphic stories. Please note that while we are using the UNESCO definition of a book as a publication of at least 49 pages (not including the cover pages), we are open to children’s books that might fall below 49 pages. Similarly, we welcome self-published work. Books that do not fall under the category of creative writing are not qualified.

The author/s of the nominated books can reside in any country as long as they are of Filipino citizenship.

The deadline for nominations is April 30, 2021. Email entries at [email protected] with this subject line:

MGBFBA2021_(FILIPINO / ENGLISH)(Last name, First name / Organization)(Title of Nomination)

Nominators must submit a cover letter along with a watermarked PDF of the books to our aforementioned email address, with two (2) hard copies of each book to be delivered to our office:

UP Institute of Creative Writing, RM 3200, Palma Hall Pavilion 3, Quirino Ave., University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.

Winners of the award are entitled to a P50,000 cash prize.

The awarding ceremony will be held in November. This time, the proceedings will be held online via Zoom and our Facebook livestream. The MGBFBA will also officially kick off the annual year-end celebrations of the UP ICW, culminating in the 2021 UP Writers’ Night.

For inquiries and concerns, you may also email us at the email address above.