Call for Emerging Writers in Mindanao: The 2018 Cagayan de Oro Young Writers Studio

Original post August 8, 2018, 2:26 p.m.
Updated August 9, 2018, 6:19 p.m.

The Nagkahiusang Magsusulat sa Cagayan de Oro (NAGMAC), a young artists collective of poets, essayists, fictionists, playwrights, screenwriters, editors, and translators from Northern Mindanao, in partnership with writers network Libulan Queer Collective and the Xavier Center for Culture and the Arts (XCCA), is now accepting applications to the 2018 Cagayan de Oro Young Writers Studio to be held on 29 October (poetry & drama leg) and 30 October (fiction & creative nonfiction leg) at Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan in Cagayan de Oro City.

Now on its third year, the Cagayan de Oro Young Writers Studio is an annual creative writing fellowship for 12 of the most promising young and “unworkshopped” poets, essayists, fictionists, playwrights, and screenwriters born and/or based in Mindanao.

Entries in Binisaya, (Tagalog-based) Filipino, and/or English of various themes shall be composed of any of the following:

• For a Poetry fellowship: 2 poems (written for the page and/or for performance);
• For a Fiction fellowship: 1 short story (1500 to 3000 words), or 1 chapter (3000 to 5000 words) from a novel (with synopsis), or 2 works of flash fiction (500 to 1500 words each);
• For a Creative Nonfiction & Essay fellowship: 1 creative nonfiction (1500 to 3000 words) such as nonfiction memoir, personal essay, travel writing, lyric essay, literary journalism, or other hybridized forms; or 2 micro-essays or works of flash nonfiction (500 to 1500 words);
• For a Drama fellowship: 1 one-act play, or 1 short screenplay, or 1 ten-minute radio drama script (up to 30 pages).

Applicants may apply for more than one genre. Although there is no thematic preference, queer-themed manuscripts which depict a strong allegiance to a sense of place may qualify for the sole Libulan Queer Fellowship.

The CDO Young Writers Studio will consist of manuscripts critiquing and consultation, craft lectures on writing genres and creative process, mentoring sessions, inputs from alternative press editors and indie publishers, and other parallel writing activities to be facilitated by NAGMAC senior writers such as poets Ben Aguilar and Ton Daposala; spoken word artist Adeva Jane Esparrago; screenwriter and playwright Dennis B Flores; fictionist and essayist Abigail C James; and fictionists Nadine Hendrikka (NH) Legaspi and EJ Villena. Poet and essayist Alton Melvar Dapanas serves as the workshop director.

This year, the guest panelists are poet Mariel Alonzo of Davao City, essayist Jade Mark Capiñanes of General Santos City, fictionist and playwright R Joseph Dazo of Cebu City, fictionist Sigrid Gayangos of Zamboanga City, playwright Dominique La Victoria of Cagayan de Oro City, poet and playwright Gil Nambatac of Iligan City, and essayist and poet Ria Valdez of Davao City. Other local writers are welcome to the event.

Accepted fellows will be provided with certificates, lunch, snacks, and workshop materials. There is no registration fee but accepted fellows will shoulder their own transportation, board and lodging expenses.

Electronic copies, in MS Word format, Times New Roman font 12, of the manuscript may be emailed to with the subject Genre_CDOYWS (example: Drama_CDOYWS). The applicant’s name should not appear on the manuscript. On the email’s body, include the following applicant details: full name, address (in Mindanao), institutional affiliation (workplace and/or school), Facebook URL, mobile number, and a short bionote (150-200 words). A curriculum vitae (CV) should also be attached.

Deadline of submissions is on 16 September 2018, 11:59 PM.

Teachers of junior or senior high school and college Creative Writing/Malikhaing Pagsulat and Creative Nonfiction/Malikhaing Sanaysay subjects who wish to observe the sessions may send in a letter of intent addressed to the workshop director through the same email address on or before 16 September. Slots are limited.

All inquiries from interested partners and sponsors should be coursed through the same email.

The CDO Young Writers Studio aims to be a safe space for new ways of writing where emerging writers are engaged in a dialogue of critical discourse and creative practices situated in and shaped by geopolitics and aesthetics of writings from the southern Philippines, and where these same writers are not subjected to a “promotion of deference and reproduction of hierarchies, but a multiplication of approaches and cultivation of difficult originality” (Charlie Samuya Veric, 2017).

The impetus and core purpose of Young Writers Studios (in Cagayan de Oro and in Cebu), bringing emerging writers together to share their pieces and develop their craft, contributes to the larger goal of enfolding these young writers, many of whom do not have access to creative writing resources, into the larger community of local writers and indie publishers, and the flourishing local literary scene.

Call for Submissions: Bulawan Literary Journal of Northern Mindanao

The Bulawan Literary Journal of Northern Mindanao is now open for contributions to its fifth issue themed “Departures & Destinations.” The journal editors are looking for poems, short stories, flash fiction, micro-essays, creative nonfiction, one-act plays, short screenplays, excerpts from full-length plays/screenplays, novel chapters, critical essays, book/film/play reviews, and visual artworks that discuss and problematize:

1. depictions on the various modes of transportation and travelling in literature (may include but not limited to outcomes of the jeepney phase-out, the plight of the commuters, and a critique on the transportation system);
2. “othered” spaces such as landscape/seascape/skyscape, (material/spiritual) culture, languages, heritage, and geopolitics;
3. issues of migration, immigration, diaspora, and displacement (may include but not limited to Lumad and Moro peoples’ displacement due to militarization and development aggression);
4. intersections of ethnicity, socioeconomic class, physical/mental (dis)ability, and gender identity in transport and travelling; and
5. relevant topics such as flanerie and the tourist-as-dilettante.

Contributions from (1) those who are born and/or based in Northern Mindanao and (2) those who are residing in the country (outside Northern Mindanao) or in diaspora whose works are about, set in, or relevant to the region are welcome.

Submissions should be original and previously unpublished works in Binisaya, (Tagalog-based) Filipino, and English, or a combination of these three languages. Literary works in Higaonon and Meranaw languages are welcome and should be accompanied with a translation to any of the previously mentioned languages.

Interested writers may send in:

1. Poetry: 2 to 3 poems (written for the page or for performance);
2. Fiction: 1 short story (1500 to 3000 words), 1 chapter from a novel (2000 to 5000 words) with a synopsis, or 2 works of flash fiction (500 to 1500 words each);
3. Creative Nonfiction and Literary Essay: 1 creative nonfiction (1500 to 3000 words) such as nonfiction memoir, personal essay, travel writing, lyric essay, literary journalism, or other hybridized forms, or 2 works of flash nonfiction/micro-essays (500 to 1500 words each);
4. Drama: 1 one-act play, 1 short screenplay, or an excerpt from a full-length play or screenplay (up to 30 pages).

Theme-related critical essays (2000 to 5000 words) on Mindanao literature and Mindanao Studies, and reviews (1000 to 2500 words) of books, plays, and films by Mindanaoan writers and filmmakers are also welcome. Visual artworks such as paintings, illustrations, graphic design, digital photography, and typography may also be submitted.

Send manuscripts (font size 12 Times New Roman in MS Word format) and visual artworks (JPEG/PNG format) as email attachment to together with a curriculum vitae and a cover letter indicating the author’s full name, mobile number, and short bionote (200 to 250 words). Submissions that do not follow the prescribed format will not be considered.

This issue attempts to shed light on today’s contemporary literary productions whose voices are stemmed from multicultural origins and influences due to the archipelagic circumstances of the country. As the journal’s thrust is to veer away from the framework of the “national” and semblances of centralized institutions which marginalize literary productions from the “regions,” the fifth issue is a space for such works.

Deadline of submissions is 25 September 2018, 11:59 PM.

Letters of acceptance and rejection will be sent weeks after the deadline. Contributors will receive a complimentary copy of the issue and will retain the copyright of their works.

Issue 5: “Departures & Destinations” will be launched on December 2018.

To order copies of Issue 3: “Sendong” and Issue 4: “Mental Disorders,” email the publisher at

The Bulawan Literary Journal of Northern Mindanao is the flagship publication of writers collective Nagkahiusang Magsusulat sa Cagayan de Oro (NAGMAC) and is published under NAGMAC’s indie press Bulawan Books.