20 January 2006

Famous Filipino Authors

A constant search term popluar to this site is "famous Philippine authors". Listed below are famous filipino authors and their biographies and pictures that I gathered from all around the internet about Philippine Literature. There are scores of Philippine authors around. These are just a few of them.

Famous Filipino Authors are few and far between. But there are a lot of great Philippine authors, they just need to be discovered and read. Below are those who managed to break the barrier and imprint themselves into Philippine culture. Although some have passed on leaving their legacy, others are still around (some even new) hoping to match the their accomplishments.

Jose Garcia Villa
Jose Garcia Villa (5 August 1908 – 12 June 1973) is a Filipino poet and a National Artist for Literature. He is known for introducing the "reversed consonance rime scheme," as well as for "comma poems" that made full use of the punctuation mark in an innovative way. Villa is also a short story writer, critic, and painter.

Villa was born in Singalong, Manila on 5 August 1908. He is the son of Simeon Villa, who was Emilio Aguinaldo's physician, and Guia Garcia. Villa went to the University of the Philippines High School. He studied pre-medicine at the University of the Philippines but did not finish the course. He decided to take pre-law, but did not finish it either. Instead, he devoted a good part of his college time writing short stories and poems.In 1930, he won the Philippines Free Press literary contest for his short story entitled “Mir-i-nisa” and used the prize money to go to the United States. He studied at the University of New Mexico, and later at Columbia University. He taught poetry at the City College of New York from 1964 until 1973. He also worked in the Philippine Mission to the United Nations from 1954 to 1963 and became the vice consul in 1965. After retiring in 1973, he continued to conduct poetry workshops in his apartment in Greenwich Village, New York City.

Villar used the pseudonym “Doveglion” for his literary works. He started out as a fictionist, with works such as “Footnote to Youth” and “Mir-i-nisa.” In 1932, “Untitled Story” appeared in an anthology edited by Edward J. O'Brien. A year later, “Footnote to Youth” was published by Charles Scribner's Sons. Some of the pieces in "Footnote to Youth" were later included in “Selected Stories”, published in the Philippines by Alberto Florentino. His first collection of poetry, “Have Come, Am Here,” in which he introduced reversed consonance, was published in the U.S. in 1942 to critical acclaim. He introduced his comma poems in another collection called “Volume Two,” which was nominated for the Bollingen Prize in 1949. Other collections of Villa's poems include “Selected Poems and New," published in 1958, which gathers his works between 1937 and 1957; “Poems 55," published in the Philippines by Alberto Florentino in 1962; and “Appasionata: Poems in Praise of Love," a collection of love poems published in 1979.
Villa is considered a powerful literary influence in the Philippines. According to Asiaweek magazine, “In a world of English-language poetry dominated by British and Americans, Villa stood out for the ascetic brilliance of his poetry and for his national origin."
Source: Wikipilipinas

Nick Joaquin
Poet, fictionist, essayist, biographer, playwright, and National Artist, decided to quit after three years of secondary education at the Mapa High School. Classroom work simply bored him. He thought his teachers didn't know enough. He discovered that he could learn more by reading books on his own, and his father's library had many of the books he cared to read. He read all the fiction he could lay his hands on, plus the lives of saints, medieval and ancient history, the poems of Walter de la Mare and Ruben Dario. He knew his Bible from Genesis to Revelations. Of him actress-professor Sarah K. Joaquin once wrote: "Nick is so modest, so humble, so unassuming . . .his chief fault is his rabid and insane love for books. He likes long walks and wornout shoes. Before Intramuros was burned down, he used to make the rounds of the churches when he did not have anything to do or any place to go. Except when his work interferes, he receives daily communion." He doesn't like fish, sports, and dressing up. He is a bookworm with a gift of total recall.
He was born "at about 6:00 a.m." in Paco, Manila, on 04 May 1917. The moment he emerged from his mother's womb, the baby Nicomedes--or Onching, to his kin--made a "big howling noise" to announce his arrival. That noise still characterizes his arrival at literary soirees. He started writing short stories, poems, and essays in 1934. Many of them were published in Manila magazines, and a few found their way into foreign journals. His essay La Naval de Manila (1943) won in a contest sponsored by the Dominicans whose university, the UST, awarded him an A.A. (Associate in Arts) certificate on the strength of his literary talents. The Dominicans also offered him a two-year scholarship to the Albert College in Hong Kong, and he accepted. Unable to follow the rigid rules imposed upon those studying for the priesthood, however, he left the seminary in 1950.

JoaquĆ­n died of cardiac arrest in the early morning of April 29, 2004
Source: Pinoy Lit

F.Sionil Jose
Francisco Sionil Jose
He has been called a Philippine national treasure. Born on December 4, 1924 in Rosales, Philippines, he was introduced to literature in public school and later at the University of Santo Tomas. While working as a journalist in Manila, he moonlighted writing short stories and eventually novels. In the late fifties Jose founded the Philippine branch of PEN, an international organization of poets, playwrights, and novelists. In 1965 he started his own publishing house SOLIDARIDAD, and a year later he began publishing the remarkable Solidarity, a journal of current affairs, ideas, and arts, still going strong today. Jose wrote in English rather than in his national language Tagalog, or his native language Illocano. In 1962 he published his first novel The Pretenders. Today his publications include ten novels, five books of short stories, and a book of verse. His works are available in 24 languages and some have recently been published in North America by Random House. He has been awarded numerous fellowships and awards, most notable being the 1980 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts, the most prestigious award of its kind in Asia.
Source: Tribo Bookshop

Jessica Hagedorn

Hagedorn was born in Manila to a Scots-Irish-French-Filipino mother and a Filipino-Spanish father with one Chinese ancestor. Moving to San Francisco in 1963, Hagedorn received her education at the American Conservatory Theater training program. To further pursue playwriting and music, she moved to New York in 1978.
Joseph Papp produced her first play Mango Tango in 1978. Hagedorn's other productions include Tenement Lover, Holy Food, and Teenytown. Her mixed media style often incorporates song, poetry, images, and spoken dialogue.

In 1985, 1986, and 1988, she received MacDowell Colony fellowships, which helped enable her to write the novel Dogeaters, which illuminates many different aspects of Filipino experience, focusing on the influence of America through radio, television, and movie theaters. She shows the complexities of the love-hate relationship many Filipinos in diaspora feel toward their past. After its publication in 1990, her novel earned a 1990 National Book Award nomination and an American Book Award. In 1998, La Jolla Playhouse produced a stage adaptation. She lives in New York City with her younger daughter.
Source: Wikipedia

Arlene J. Chai
Arlene J. Chai (born 1955 in Manila, Philippines) is an award winning author.

Chai is a Filipino-Chinese-Australian, who migrated to Australia with her parents and sisters in 1982 because of the political upheaval. She became an advertising copywriter at George Patterson's advertising agency in 1972 and has been working there since. It is there that she met her mentor Bryce Courtney, who continuously inspires her to improve her work. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Maryknoll College. She is infamous for her ability to weave the political struggle of the Philippines so well into her fiction, so much that she is often compared with Isabel Allende, a successful magical realist Chilean novelist. She won the Louis Braille Adult Audio Book of the year for her novel "On the Goddess Rock" in 1999. Some of her works include her novels: "The Last Time I saw my Mother and "Eating Fire and Drinking Water".

Source: Wikipedia

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Peter Bacho

Peter Bacho is a writer and teacher best known for his book Cebu which won the American Book Award. The book is considered literary significant among Filipino American literature because of its explorations in themes such as neocolonialism and Filipino-American identity.[1] Bacho also won the Washington Governor’s Writers Award for Dark Blue Suit a collection of stories. Many of Bacho's books deal with the Filipino experience in the United States. He considers himself an "old Filipino writer".[2] Bacho teaches in the Liberal Studies Program at The Evergreen State College, Tacoma Campus. He is also a lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences program at the University of Washington Tacoma.

Source: Wikipedia
Among those listed, Jose Garcia Villa and Nick Joaquin are the popular filipino authors and most filipinos would recognize even without knowing any of their work. They are both Philippine National Artists and often studied about in Philippine schools. As noted, these are just some of the famous Philippine authors. I'll try and update this list and add more filipino authors to this post.

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