Likhaan: The UP Institute of Creative Writing

Likhaan: The UP Institute of Creative Writing is an institute and hub of Creative Writing and research dissemination in the University of the Philippines system. It has lived up to its role and mandate, and has become known for its major programs: writer and teacher training program, publication and translation program, research and curation, and dissemination and knowledge sharing. These programs include the following: 1) the UP National Writers Workshop; 2) the Amelia Lapena-Bonifacio Writers Workshop; 3) the Akdang Buhay project; 4) the portal; 5) the Interdisciplinary Book Forum; and 5) the ICW Panayam Series, a lecture series involving not only the National and Local Fellows, but also other select writers, including foreigners.

Under its Publication Program, the ICW put out the best of Philippine writing, from 1995 to 2003, in eleven anthologies – The Likhaan Book of Poetry, Fiction (1995,1996,1997 and 1998), Ang Aklat Likhaan ng Tula at Maikling Kuwento(1995,1996,1997,1998), The Likhaan Book of Criticism, The Likhaan Book of Drama and Ang Aklat Likhaan ng Dula 1997-2003 – edited by the Associates and Resident Fellows. The ICW also had a Philippine Writers Series, also known as the Likhaan Journal Series, a publication program in coordination with the UP Press, for books written by the ICW staff, its National & Local Fellows, and writers who pass its rigorous screening standards.

As an institute, the ICW has taken a more aggressive and vigorous stance in pursuing its mandate. For example, the ICW introduced the advanced UP National Writers Workshop for mid-career writers in 2006. The ICW also made a giant step by presenting the LIKHAAN: The Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature. The Likhaan Journal serves as the definitive local publication Filipino writers aspire to be published in.  The ICW also has its website,, the portal to Philippine literature, a comprehensive and non-centric gateway to the country’s literature in Filipino, English, and regional languages. It also documents the ever-changing landscape of the Filipino literary community online. In 2016, the institute initiated the Amelia Lapena-Bonifacio Writers Workshop (ALBWW), which aims to give younger writers a chance to get their works critiqued. This new workshop caters more to writers in specialized genres like Speculative Fiction and Literature for Young Adults.

Together with the UMPIL and Filipinas Institute of Translation, Inc, the ICW had poetry contests through texting: Textanaga, Dalitext, Textsawikain, and Textula Pinoy. It also had a CWC Fellows Program (for National and Local Fellows) which was down-scaled to the National Fellows Program.  In recognition of our National Artists for Literature, the ICW also initiated the Pagpupugay sa Pambansang Alagad ng Sining sa Panitikan as part of National Arts Month, promoting literature through lectures and performances held throughout the country.

Other past endeavors of the ICW include the Likhaan Foundation Scholarship, the Francisco Arcellana Scholarship in Creative Writing. In celebration of 100 years of the University of the Philippines in 2008, the ICW awarded the Gawad Likhaan: The UP Centennial Literary Prize to five writers.

Ongoing projects of the ICW are the Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award, the ICW Teachers Seminar on Creative Writing, the ICW Interdisciplinary Book Forum (IBF), and the annual UP Writers Night.