Francisco Arcellana was a master of words, and a master of storytelling.

Zacarias Eugene Francisco Quino Arcellana (September 6, 1916 — August 1, 2002) was a writer, poet, essayist, critic, journalist, and teacher and one of the most important progenitors of Filipino short stories in English. In 1990, he was declared National Artist of the Philippines for Literature.

Francisco Arcellana was born September 6, 1916 in Sta. Cruz, Manila to parents Jose Cabaneiro Arcellana and Epifania Quino. He was the fourth of the 18 children. Arcellana bloomed early in his craft and prospered from his first schooling in Tondo until he entered the University of the Philippines (UP) as a pre-medical student in 1932. He developed an interest in writing while he was studying at the Manila West High School (now Torres High School) as an active staff of the the school organ The Torres Torch.

While in UP, Arcellana received an invitation to join the U.P. Writer’s Club from Manuel Arguilla. This happened after his “trilogy of the turtles” appeared in the Literary Apprentice. Arcellana also marked the beginning of nontraditional forms and themes in Philippine literature when he edited and published the Expression in 1934. He graduated with a degree in philosophy in 1939 and later went into medical school.

He married Emerenciana Yuvencio with whom he had six children: Francisco Jr., Elizabeth, Jose Esteban, Maria Epifania, Juan Eugenio, Emerenciana Jr.

Arcellana’s published books include:

  • Selected Stories (1962)
  • Poetry and Politics: The State of Original Writing in English in the Philippines Today (1977)
  • The Francisco Arcellana Sampler (1990).
  • Philippine PEN Anthology of Short Stories, editor (1962)
  • Fifteen Stories: Story Masters 5, editor (1973)

He is the first director of the UP Creative Writing. Center now known as Institute of Creative Writing.