Gémino H. Abad, University Professor emeritus of literature and creative writing, is a poet, fictionist, and literary critic and historian, with various honors and awards. In 2009, he received Italy’s Premio Feronia (“Foreign author category”) for his poetry, later published as a bilingual edition, Dove le parole non si spezzano (Roma: Edizioni Ensemble, 2015). Where No Words Break: New Poems and Past (2014) is his tenth poetry collection, and Past Mountain Dreaming (2010), his ninth of critical essays; he has two collections of short stories, Orion’s Belt (1996) and A Makeshift Sun (2001). He is known also for his anthology series of Filipino poetry in English from 1905 to the 1990s: Man of Earth (1989), co-edited with Edna Zapanta Manlapaz); A Native Clearing (1993), A Habit of Shores (1999), and its two-volume sequel, The Achieve of, the Mastery (2019), co-edited with Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta; and his six-volume anthology of Filipino short stories in English from 1956 to 2008: Upon Our Own Ground (2008), Underground Spirit (2010), and Hoard of Thunder (2012). He obtained his Ph.D. in English at the University of Chicago in 1970, and continues to teach at U.P. where he has served as Secretary of the University, Vice-President for Academic Affairs, and Director of the U.P. Creative Writing Center (now an Institute).
Esteemed educator, literary historian, poet, and cultural manager, Virgilio Almario goes by the moniker Rio Alma. He has published numerous collections of poetry, his first being Makinasyon at Ilang Tula (1967), which was followed by Peregrinasyon at Iba Pang Tula (1970), Doktrinang Pawis (1979), Palipad-Hangin (1985), Katon Para sa Limang Pandama (1987). He has also published several books on criticism and literary history. He has received several awards for his work as a poet and scholar and was named National Artist for Literature in 2003.
Dubbed as “The Grand Dame of SE Asian Children’s Theatre,” Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio started receiving awards and editorships for her writing as early has high school and college, but it was her set designing, which began in UP, that earned her a Fulbright-Smith Mundt Scholarship to the University of Wisconsin. Her first two plays, Sepang Loca (1957) and Rooms (1958) won awards, and to date, she has come up with 20 books, 40 plays, 130 stories, and several essays on theatre. She founded Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas and is the president of the Union Internationale dela Marionette – Pilipinas and International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People – Philippines. She was named National Artist for Theatre in 2018.
Romulo P. Baquiran, Jr. teaches literature and creative writing at the UP College of Arts and Letters. He has published several books of poems and essays including Mga Tula ng Paglusong (1992), Onyx (2003), Kung Nanaisin (If You Like, 2009); Sagad sa Buto (Into the Marrow, 2011) and Hiwatig (Meaning, 2015). He is also a drama translator rendering into the Philippine national language the works of William Shakespeare, Bertolt Brecht, Kalidasa, and Eugene O’Neill. He also taught Tagalog language and Philippine Culture as a Visiting Professor at the Osaka University from 2014 to 2017. He is one of the editors of Tuttle Publishing Company’s Concise Tagalog-English/English-Tagalog Dictionary (2017).
Luna Sicat-Cleto is a playwright and essayist. She is also the author of two novels, Makinilyang Altar (2003) and Mga Prodigal (2010). Her poetry, drama and short fiction have been anthologized in Ang Labintatlong Mga Pasaway (2015), Telon: Antolohiya ng mga Dula (2015), and Paano Ba Magbasa ng Panitikan? (2006), among others. She is currently the Vice Head for Literary Arts of the National Committee on Literary Arts and is also a board member of the Women Playwrights International – Philippines.
Jose Y. Dalisay Jr., or Butch Dalisay to readers of his column in the Philippine STAR, was born in Romblon in 1954. He writes stories, plays, and essays, and five of his books have received the National Book Award from the Manila Critics Circle. Among his distinctions, he has won 16 Palanca Awards in five genres, entering the Palanca Hall of Fame in 2000; five Cultural Center of the Philippines awards for his playwriting; and Famas, Urian, Star, and Catholic Film awards and citations for his screenplays. He was named one of The Outstanding Young Men of 1993 for his creative writing. Dr. Dalisay has also been a fellow of Fulbright, Hawthornden, David TK Wong, Rockefeller, and the British Council.
Si Eugene Y. Evasco ay manunulat, editor, tagasalin, at kolektor ng mga aklat pambata. Kasalukuyan siyang Professor ng panitikan at malikhaing pagsulat sa Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas, UP Kolehiyo ng Arte at Literatura. Ilan sa mga aklat niya ang Mga Pilat sa Pilak: Mga Personal na Sanaysay, May Tiyanak sa Loob ng Aking Bag: Mga Tulang Pambata, Ang Singsing-Pari sa Pisara, Ang Nag-iisa at Natatanging si Onyok at ang salin ng Charlotte’s Web ni E.B. White at The Secret ni Lin-Acacio Flores. Nagwagi siya noong 2014 ng UP Gawad sa Natatanging Publikasyon sa Filipino (Kategorya ng Malikhaing Pagsulat). Naging bahagi siya sa Hall of Fame ng Carlos Palanca Award for Literature noong 2009, dalawang ulit nagwagi ng Grand Prize sa Philippine Board on Books for Young People, Makata ng Taon 2000, National Children’s Book Award, at National Book Award para sa Young Adult Literature. Naging Research Fellow siya noong 2016 sa International Youth Library sa Munich, Germany upang manaliksik sa mga aklat pambata na may temang LGBT.
J. Neil Garcia teaches creative writing and comparative literature at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, where he serves as Director of the university press and a Fellow for Poetry in the Institute of Creative Writing. He is the author of numerous poetry collections and works in literary and cultural criticism. Between 1994 and 2014, he coedited the famous Ladlad series of Philippine gay writing. Other important anthologies that he edited are Aura: the Gay Theme in Philippine Fiction in English, published in 2012, and Bright Sign, Bright Age: Critical Essays in Philippines Studies, published in 2017. He is the director for the Philippines of Project GlobalGRACE: Global Gender and Cultures of Equality, a world-wide research and arts consortium sponsored by the Research Councils of the United Kingdom and Goldsmiths, University of London. He is currently at work on “Likha,” his seventh poetry book.
Si Vlad Gonzales ay guro sa Departamento ng FIlipino at Pantikan ng Pilipinas, kung saan siya ay nagtuturo ng malikhaing pagsulat, panitikan, at kulturang popular. Naitampok na ang kanyang mga akda sa iba’t ibang publikasyon, katulad ng mga libro ng sanaysay sa Isang Napakalaking Kaastigan (2008) at A-Side/B-Side; ang mga Piso sa Jukebox ng Buhay Mo (2009) ng Milfores Publishing. Naging aktibo siya sa pagsasalin ng mga dula at pagsusulat ng mga piyesang pang-entablado simula noong 2009. Noong 2015, nagwagi ng Gawad Carlos Palanca ang isa sa kanyang dulang “Mal.” May interes siya sa pagkuha ng mga litrato.
Ramon Guillermo is professor of Philippine Studies at the Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature in UP Diliman. He is the author of the novel Ang Makina ni Mang Turing (2013), is known to have translated Water Benjamin’s Über den Begriff der Geschichte into Filipino (Hinggil sa Konsepto ng Kasaysayan, 2013). His other work includes Pook at Paninindigan: Kritika ng Pantayong Pananaw (2009), Translation and Revolution: A Study of Jose Rizal’s Guillermo Tell (2009), and 3 Baybayin Studies (2017).
Renowned teacher, editor, writer, and pioneer of creative nonfiction, Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo obtained her Ph.D in Comparative Literature from the University of the Philippines in 1993. She has been the recipient of several awards: Gawad Balagtas, Graphic, Free Press, Focus, Manila Critics’ Circle, British Council Grant to Cambridge, and the UP President’s Award for Outstanding Publication. Her novel, Recuerdo (1996), won the Carlos Palanca Memorial Grand Prize in 1996. She has been recognized as an Outstanding Thomasian Writer and is a Hall of Famer for the International Publication Award. Her works include autobiographical travel books like Sojourns (1984), Celadon and Kimchi: A Korean Notebook (1993), Coming Home (1997), and Passages: Selected Travel Essays (2008), along with short stories, essays, and novels.
GUEST PANELIST (BIKOL)
Kristian Sendon Kordero is a poet, fictionist, essayist, translator, an academic, and an independent filmmaker. He has written, translated and edited twelve books including his five poetry collections in Filipino, Bikol and Rinconada. His most recent collections, Canticos: Apat Na Boses/Canticles: Four Voices (2013) and Labi/Ruins (2013) both received the National Book Awards for Poetry in Filipino and Bikol in 2014. He has worked on the Bikol and Filipino translations of Jorge Luis Borges, Rainer Maria Rilke, Franz Kafka and Oscar Wilde. He was the Filipino writer-in-residence at the University of Iowa International Writing Program in 2017 and was awarded the following year another artist in residency program from the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is the current deputy director of the Ateneo de Naga University Press and runs an independent bookshop and cafe called Savage Mind in Naga City.
Born on April 11, 1932, Bienvenido Lumbera spent most of his youth in Batangas until he entered the University of Santo Tomas in 1950 to pursue a degree in journalism. He writes in English and FIlipino, and has produced works in both languages. He has a poetry collection entitled Likhang Dila, Likhang Diwa (1993), and Balaybay: Mga Tulang Lunot at Manibalang (2002). He has several critical works, including Abot-Tanaw: Sulyap at Suri sa Nagbabagong Kultura at Lipunan (1987) and Writing the Nation/Pag-akda ng Bansa (2000). Sir Bien, as he is often affectionately called, has been a recipient of numerous awards, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts in 1993, the Gawad CCP, Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas, Manila Critics’ Circle, and Carlos Palanca Memorial Award. He has also received the much-coveted title of National Artist for Literature.
Vim Nadera is an award-winning poet, fictionist, playwright, and essayist. He pioneers Poetry Therapy in the Philippines, helping cancer survivors, persons with disabilities, drug patients, “comfort women,” streetkids, as well as victims of abuse, calamities, and grief. In 2014, he was honored by the Philippine Society of Oncology with the Community Service Award for conducting poetry workshops in different cancer wards. His programs and projects include Perya ni Andres (2013); Makiling Inter-Cultural Arts Festival (2014); and Araw ng Philippine High School for the Arts (2014). He won the Southeast Asian Writers Award in 2006 and is also a recipient of the Gawad Balagtas from the Komisyon sa WIkang Filipino in Manila. He also received the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan twice, for Theater in 2014 and Literature in 2010.
Charlson L. Ong is a multi-awarded fictionist currently teaching literature and creative writing under the Department of English and Comparative Literature, College of Arts and Letters in UP Diliman. He has joined several workshops here and abroad and has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards including the Carlos Palanca Memorial Award, Free Press Award, National Book Award, and the Dr. Jose P. Rizal Award for Excellence. His novel, Embarrassment of Riches, won the Centennial Literary Prize and his short stories have been collected into well-loved anthologies: Men of the East and Other Stories (1990 and 1999), Woman of Am-Kaw and Other Stories (1993), Conversion and Other Fictions (1996), Banyaga: A Song of War (2007), and Blue Angel, White Shadow (2010).
Jun Cruz Reyes is a sui-genesis writer, formerly known as the “enfant terrible” of Philippine Letters. According to critics, Jun Cruz Reyes changed and raised the standards of writing in the Philippines by introducing and popularizing “wikang kanto” (language of the street corner/informal language) to Philippine Literature at a time when almost everyone espoused the dicta of High-Formalism, the usage of refined language in telling stories. His oeuvre have been described as “witty” and “satirical,” often expounding on social issues, hence earning the ire of conservative critics and hot-headed bureaucrats that represent the establishment.
Anna Felicia C. Sanchez writes fiction and nonfiction. An alumna of the UP, Silliman, and Iligan National Writers Workhops, she finished her bachelor’s and master’s degrees under the Department of English and Comparative Literature of UP Diliman, where she teaches literature and creative writing. Her speculative fiction has been published in Tales of Enchantment and Fantasy (Milflores), Pinoy Amazing Adventures (PSICOM), Nine Supernatural Stories (UP Press), the Likhaan Journal (Vol. 11), and Accessing the Future: A Disability-Themed Anthology of Speculative Fiction (Futurefire). Her chapbook Frog Leap and Other Stories was published in the first UBOD New Authors Series of NCCA; a few years after, she wrote three romance novels under the byline Anna Ishikawa and co-authored a YA novel in Filipino. She has won prizes in the Free Press and Palanca literary awards, while her fiction collection How to Pacify a Distraught Infant: Stories was a finalist in the 2018 National Book Awards. At present she is an associate of the LIKHAAN: UP Institute of Creative Writing.
Rolando B. Tolentino is the current director or the UP Institute of Creative Writing. He’s a faculty member and previous dean of the UP College of Mass Communication. He is the founding chair of Katha, the fictionists group in Filipino, and is a member of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino. His research interests include Philippine literature, popular culture, cinema, and media, interfacing national and transnational issues. He has received many awards and grants here and abroad, including the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature in 1991, 1994, and 1998 and Writer’s Prize of the National Commission for Culture and Arts in 2001.