The 85th PEN International Congress theme is: Speaking in Tongues: Literary Freedom and Indigenous Languages. In conjunction with the United Nations’ declaration of 2019 as the International Year of the Indigenous Languages, the Manila Congress focuses on indigenous writing, linguistic diversity, and multiculturalism.
PEN International and PEN Centres have promoted linguistic diversity and linguistic rights for decades. The Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee (TLRC) was founded in 1978. In 1996, TLRC supported the signing of UNESCO’S Declaration of Linguistic Rights. In 2011, it drafted the Girona Manifesto for Linguistic Rights, which was ratified at the PEN International Congress.
October has been declared National Indigenous People Month in the Philippines (Proclamation No. 1906, 2009). The proclamation recognizes the importance of pluralistic culture in the country, calling for the conservation and promotion of its artistic and cultural products. The Philippine PEN has always been vigorous in its promotion of regional and minority writing, and has extended whatever modest support it could give to writers from the regions and of the minority cultures.
The 85th PEN International Congress is an excellent opportunity to promote more awareness of indigenous traditions and affirm their significant contributions to the heritage of a nation, and that of the world.
The aims of the Congress are:
Ang tema ng ika-85 Pandaigdigang Kongreso ng PEN ay: Pagsasalita sa Iba’t Ibang Wika: Kalayaang Pampanitikan at mga Katutubong Wika. Kasabay ng deklarasyon ng United Nations sa 2019 bilang Pandaigdigang Taon ng mga Katutubong Wika, ang Kongreso sa Maynila ay nakatutok sa katutubong pagsulat, lingguwistikong dibersidad, at multikulturalismo.
Itinataguyod ng PEN International ang lingguwistikong dibersidad at mga lingguwistikong karapatan. Itinatag noong 1978 ang Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee (TLRC). Noong 1996, sinuportahan ng TLRC ang paglalagda ng Declaration of Linguistic Rights ng UNESCO. Noong 2011, binuo nito ang balangkas ng Girona Manifesto for Linguistic Rights, na naratipikahan sa Pandaigdigang Kongreso ng PEN.
Idineklara ang Oktubre bilang Pambansang Buwan ng Mga Katutubo sa Pilipinas (Proklamasyon Blg. 1906, 2009). Kinikilala ng proklamasyon ang halaga ng pluralistikong kultura sa bansa, para sa pangangalaga at pagtataguyod ng mga lokal na produktong pansining at pangkultura. Lagi’t laging masigla ang Philippine PEN sa pagtataguyod nito ng pagsulat sa mga rehiyon at minorya, at nag-aabot ng ano mang maayos na ayudang maibibigay nito sa mga manunulat mula sa mga rehiyon at minorya.
Ang ika-85 Pandaigdigang Kongreso ng PEN ay isang maringal na pagkakataon para maitaguyod ang higit pang pagkaunawa sa mga katutubong tradisyon at mapagtibay ang kanilang mga makabuluhang ambag sa kolektibong pamana ng lahi ng isang nasyon, at ng mundo.
Ang mga layunin ng Kongreso ay:
Established in 1921, PEN International is a world-wide organization of writers with over 150 Centres. Its avowed aims as stated in the PEN Charter include: the promotion of literature, defense of free expression, and the fostering of mutual respect and harmony between nations and people. The main office is in London, United Kingdom.
The PEN International Congress is an annual general assembly of all PEN centres. It is a venue to exchange ideas and creative practices, engage in discussions and debates on issues related to writing and advocacy goals (e.g., translation and linguistic rights, peace, women’s issues, environmental concerns), and pass resolutions on artistic freedom and human rights concerns.
See website: https://pen-international.org/
The greater Metro Manila (National Capital Region) covers Manila (capital), Quezon City, Pasay City, Makati City, Mandaluyong City, San Juan City, and Taguig City, among others. The social classes are evidently manifested, from tall, gleaming edifices and affluent subdivisions to dilapidated shanties and beggars. As any Third World urban environment, it is overcrowded, traffic-congested, at times chaotic, but terribly exciting and sense-stimulating.
The Filipino heritage is an interwoven culture of Malay, Chinese, Spanish and American traditions. The national language is Filipino. There are over 180 ethno-languages in the Philippines. The major linguistic groups include Cebuano (Binisaya), Tagalog, Ilokano, Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a, Waray, Kapampangan, Bikol, Pangasinan, Mëranaw (Maranao), Maguindanao, and Tausug. The main religious practice is Catholic, with sprinklings of syncretism (native/tribal, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu).
For more information about Manila as a city with soul, please visit:
Rough Guide to Manila
October is usually monsoon season in the Philippines, and typhoons could be a risk during this season. However, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has declared that a full-blown El Niño is expected this 2019. Thus, there might be an extended dry season and weaker monsoon activity. Temperature is expected to fall within 25-30 degree Celsius.
It is advisable to bring a raincoat or an umbrella. (Note: Umbrella must be stored in checked-in baggage and not allowed in hand-carry bag during flight travel.)
Manila is warm and humid. Please wear comfortable clothes. Certain places in the city are air-conditioned (congress venues, hotels, restaurants, malls). You might want to have a shawl or a light jacket with you.
Tap water is not safe for drinking. Please ask the restaurant if the free drinking water they serve is filtered or purified. Or you may purchase bottled water only.
At De La Salle University (DLSU), the water from the drinking fountains is safe for drinking.
DLSU clinic has a resident doctor and can provide basic medicine (e.g., headache, painkiller, stomachache). Please bring your prescription medicines. Mercury Drugstore is the leading drugstore in Metro Manila and its branches are conveniently located everywhere in the city.
The nearest hospitals are: Adventist Medical Center Manila, Manila Doctors Hospital, and San Juan de Dios Hospital.
Adventist Medical Center Manila
1975 Corner Donada and San Juan Street, Pasay City, Metro Manila
(632) 5259191 to 98
Manila Doctors Hospital
667 United Nations Avenue, Ermita, Manila
San Juan de Dios Hospital
2772 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Metro Manila
(632) 8319731 to 36
The local currency is Philippine peso (PHP). You may want to change currency at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The conversion rates are approximately the following:
1 GBP = 69 PHP
1 EURO = 60 PHP
1 USD = 52.5 PHP
(source: XE Currency Converter, as of March 22, 2019)
The Philippine standard voltage is 220 v and frequency is 60 hz. You may need to bring a universal adapter. For Philippine power plugs and sockets, please see images from this site: https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/philippines/
Local SIM cards (Globe, Smart) are available at the airports. Loads can be purchased at the mini-marts (e.g., 7-11) or load centers and mobile phone outlets. Hotels and certain places (e.g., malls, coffee shops) have free wifi.
Metro Manila is not crime-free, although local travel is fairly incident-free. The local people are generally pleasant and helpful. They understand English and majority can communicate quite well in English.
Nonetheless, please take care of your personal valuables and avoid leaving your bags or phones just lying anywhere. When walking in the streets or in any public places, please secure your bags and wallets. Please avoid walking alone in the streets in very late evenings.
Jaime A. FlorCruz is a veteran China-watcher and has been a foreign correspondent in China for four decades. He was CNN’s Beijing Bureau Chief and correspondent, responsible for the strategic planning of the network’s news coverage of China (2001- 2014). He served as TIME Magazine’s Beijing Bureau Chief and correspondent (1982- 2000) and Newsweek’s Beijing reporter (1981). In 2000, he was the Edward R. Morrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, the first non-American journalist chosen for the prestigious fellowship. Considered the dean of the foreign press corps in Beijing, he was two-term president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (1988-90 & 1996-1999). He is the co-author of Massacre at Beijing (Warner Books, 1989) and Not On Our Watch (2012), about campus journalism during the Martial Law in the Philippines. He was an anti-Marcos student activist and was forced into exile in China when Martial Law was proclaimed in the Philippines in 1971.
Resil Mojares is eminent Filipino writer, essayist and cultural critic. He is the author of House of Memory (1997) and scholarly works such as Origins and Rise of the Filipino Novel (1983), Theater in Society, Society in Theater (1985), Waiting for Mariang Makiling (2002), Brains of the Nation: Pedro Paterno, T.H. Pardo de Tavera, Isabelo de los Reyes and the Production of Modern Knowledge (2006), and Isabelo’s Archive (2013), among many others. He was conferred the National Artist for Literature by the Philippine government in 2018. His honors include national prizes for his fiction, National Book Awards from the Manila Critics Circle, the Gintong Aklat award from the Book Development Association of the Philippines, and the Centennial Award for the Arts given by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. He has received research fellowships and honors from the Ford Foundation, Toyota Foundation, Fulbright, and Social Science Research Council (New York), including the Grant Goodman Prize for History from the Association of Asian Studies, and the Fok Ying Tung Southeast Asia Prize. He is Professor Emeritus of the University of San Carlos in Cebu City, Central Visayas, where he had served as the founding director of its Cebuano Studies Center.
Seno Gumira Ajidarma is an author of short stories, novels, and essays. He has been a journalist since 1977. He is also known as a photographer and lecturer who teaches at Jakarta Institute of the Arts (IKJ), University of Indonesia (UI), and Indonesian Institute of the Arts – Surakarta. Though much of Seno’s work, both the factual and the fictional, focuses on everyday life and criticizes contemporary social, cultural and political conditions—he has a great sense of humor as well, and has published satirical essays, a cartoon novel, and historical fantasies. He has won several literary awards, including the Dinny O’Hearn Prize for Literary Translation for Eyewitness (1997); South East Asia (SEA) Award (1997) and Literary Awards from Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, both for Dilarang Menyanyi di Kamar Mandi (Don’t Sing in The Bathroom, 1997); Literary Award for Negeri Kabut (The Land of Mists, 1997); Katulistiwa Literary Award for Negeri Senja (The Land of Twilight, 2004) and for Kitab Omong Kosong” (The Book of Nonsense, 2005); and Cultural Award from Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture (2013). His latest books are: Obrolan Sukab (Sukab’s Conversations, columns, 2018), Transit (short stories, 2019), and critical edition of Kalatidha (In The Time of Chaos, novel, 2019).
Lucina Kathmann was born in the United States, in Albany, NY in 1942. Educated at Harvard and Northwestern Universities, she moved to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico’s heartland in 1978, where she still lives in the house where she and her husband, Charles Kuschinski, raised their own two sons and six orphaned by the death of their Mexican mother, a dear friend. In 1986, Lucina joined PEN International and was active in the struggle which culminated in the creation of its Women Writers Committee in 1991. She has served as editor of the committee’s trilingual newsletter for many years, and is currently an International Vice President of PEN. In her hometown, Lucina is a longtime member and currently treasurer of the local PEN center, San Miguel PEN. Her bilingual books include essays, children’s stories and an unusual mathematics text.
Ricardo M. de Ungria has published eight books of poetry and edited a number of anthologies for which he has won nine National Book Awards of the Philippines. On a Fulbright Grant (1988), he earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis. He has received writing grants and fellowships from the Hawthornden International Retreat for Writers, Bellagio Study and Conference Center, Hong Kong Baptist University, and the Sun Yat-sen University. He is a founding member of the Philippine Literary Arts Council (1981) and the Davao Writers Guild (1999), as well as the Davao Colleges and Universities Network (DACUN) (2001), the Mindanao Studies Consortium Foundation, Inc. (MSCFI) (2003), and the Mindanao Science and Technology Park Consortium (MSTPC) (2004), and has served as Chancellor of the University of the Philippines in Mindanao (2001-07) and Commissioner for the Arts at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (2009-11). He resides in Davao City, his home for the past twenty years, and continues to do research on Mindanao writers and literatures.
Han Zaw, also known as Han Sann, is a writer, an editor, and secretary of PEN Myanmar. He was born in Malamying City, Mon State, Myanmar, in 1979. In 2001, he got a Diploma in Computer Arts from Yangon University of Arts and Culture. In 2003, he graduated from Yangon University with a bachelor degree in Psychology. Since 2007, he has written essays, short stories, articles, and film and book reviews. A collection of essays written by Han Sann was published in 2016. Currently, he is an editor of the Info Digest Journal and 3 Act Film Magazine. His official website is http://www.hansann.com.
Charlson Ong has published four collections of short fiction- Men of the East and other Stories, Woman of Amkaw and other stories, Conversion and other fictions, and Of that other country we now speak and other stories as well as three novels- An Embarrassment of Riches, Banyaga: A Song of War, and Blue Angel/White Shadow. He has won several awards for his fiction including the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, the National Book Award, the Gawad Balagtas (Lifetime achievement award from the Writers’ Union of the Philippines), and the Southeast Asia (SEA) Write Award from Thai royalty. He has also won a FAMAS award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Tanabata’s Wife, (a film based on Sinai Hamada’s short story) which he wrote and co-directed. He teaches creative writing at the University of the Philippines.
Ginny Tapley Takemori lives in rural Japan and has translated fiction by more than a dozen early modern and contemporary Japanese writers, ranging from such early literary giants as Izumi Kyoka and Okamoto Kido to contemporary bestsellers Ryu Murakami and Miyabe Miyuki, and her translations have also appeared in Granta, Freeman’s, Words Without Borders, and a number of anthologies. Her translation of Tomiko Inui’s The Secret of the Blue Glass was shortlisted for the Marsh Award, and her translation of Sayaka Murata’s Akutagawa prizewinning novel Convenience Store Woman was one of the New Yorker’s best books of 2018, Foyle’s Book of the Year 2018, shortlisted for the Indies Choice Award and longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award. Her translation of Kyoko Nakajima’s Naoki prizewinning The Little House was published in February 2019.
John H. McGlynn is a co-founder of the Lontar Foundation, established in 1987 for the purpose of introducing Indonesia to the world through literary translations. Through Lontar, McGlynn has ushered into print more than 200 books on Indonesian literature and culture containing translations of literary work by more than 650 Indonesian authors. Through Lontar, he also initiated the “On the Record” film documentation program which has thus far produced 24 films on Indonesian writers and more than 30 films on Indonesian performance traditions. As the translator of several dozen publications himself, he has garnered much international praise for his work. McGlynn is the Indonesian country editor for Manoa, a literary journal published by the University of Hawaii, and a contributing editor to Words Without Borders. He is also a founding member of the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators Association and the supervisor of Indonesia’s Translation Funding and Writers’ Residency Programs.
Maria Karina A. Bolasco is the Director of the Ateneo de Manila University Press (ADMU). She serves as Governor of the National Book Development Board and Vice Chair for Internal Affairs of the Book Development Association of the Philippines (BDAP). She also sits on the boards of both the Philippine PEN and Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL, the Writers Union of the Philippines). She ran Anvil Publishing from its inception in 1990 up to when she retired in 2016. She was an Asia Leadership Fellow Program grantee in 2004 and just completed a 6-month fellowship at Kyoto University’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS). She was awarded The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) in 1995 for Literacy and Book Publishing.
Criselda Yabes is an independent journalist and writer. She has written books mostly on the military and on Mindanao, and others. Her first novel ‘Crying Mountain,’ which was long-listed for the Man Asia Literary Prize in 2010, has recent been republished by Penguin Southeast Asia. Her second, ‘Broken Islands,’ is out by the Ateneo de Manila University Press. She is currently based in Manila but often travels around the country.
Leila S. Chudori is an Indonesian writer and journalist. After she graduated from Trent University, Canada she wrote an anthology of short stories, Malam Terakhir (“The Last Night” published by Pustaka Utama Grafiti, Jakarta, 1989). In 2009, Leila published the anthology 9 dari Nadira (“Nine Stories from Nadira”, Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia, 2009). This anthology won an award as the best fiction from Badan Bahasa in 2010. In 2012, Leila published her first novel “Pulang”, which opens with the tale of four Indonesian journalists banned from returning to their homeland following the aftermath of the Communist purge in Indonesia in 1965. This novel won the 2013 Khatulistiwa Award and was praised by Publishers Weekly as “a remarkable book …” and “it’s an ambitious saga that intertwines narration from various generations and creates a wide-ranging picture of Indonesia.” World Literature Today included “Home” (translated by John H. McGlynn) as one of the 75 Notable Translations of 2015 and this novel has been translated into English, French, Dutch, German and Italian. “Laut Bercerita” (The Sea Speaks His Name) is her second novel and her fourth book launched December 2017. It has been translated into English by John McGlynn and adapted into a short film by Pritagita Arianegara and produced by Dian Sastrowardoyo Foundation. This novel will be published by Penguin Random House SEA.
Tammy Lai-Ming Ho is the founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, the English Editor of Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine, an editor of the academic journal Hong Kong Studies, and an editor or co-editor of seven books of Hong Kong literature. She is the President of PEN Hong Kong, a Junior Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities, and an Advisor of the Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing. Her first poetry collection is Hula Hooping (2015), for which she won the Young Artist Award (Literary Arts) in Hong Kong. Her other books are Too Too Too Too (poetry), Her Name Upon the Strand (short fiction), and Neo-Victorian Cannibalism (academic work). She is an Associate Professor teaching drama, poetics, and modern fiction at Hong Kong Baptist University.
Dr. Fernand de Varennes is United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, as well as Extraordinary Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Pretoria (South Africa), Adjunct Professor at the National University of Ireland-Galway (Ireland), and Cheng Yu Tung Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong (China). He is renown as one of the world’s leading experts on the international human rights of minorities. He completed his law degrees in Canada (LLB, Moncton), the United Kingdom (LLM, London School of Economics and Political Science), and the Netherlands (Dr Juris, Maastricht). He has taught human rights or international law in universities in Australia, China (Beijing and Hong Kong), Ethiopia, Finland, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, the Maldives, and South Africa. Dr. de Varennes’ research and publications record spans over 200 publications in more than 30 languages. In recognition of his work and achievements in the field of human rights and the protection of minorities, he has received accolades from Africa, Asia, and Europe, including the 2004 Linguapax Award (Barcelona, Spain), the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, and the Tip O’Neill Peace Fellowship (Northern Ireland, UK).
Genevieve L. Asenjo is full professor of literature and creative writing, research fellow with a project on the vocabulary of river in Kinaray-a, and chair of the Dept. of Literature at De La Salle University, Manila. She writes in three major Philippine languages: Kinaray-a, Hiligaynon, and Filipino. She authored five books: two short story collections, taga-uma@manila (2005) and Komposo ni Dandansoy (2007); two poetry collections, Pula ang Kulay ng Text Message (2006) and Sa Gihapon, Palangga, ang Uran/Always, Beloved, The Rain (2014), and a novel Lumbay ng Dila (2010). She was an Honorary Writing Fellow in the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa in 2012 and Overseas Writing Fellow in Seoul, South Korea in 2009. She has received awards from the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature and National Commission for Culture and the Arts. In 2011, she founded Balay Sugidanun, an online platform for West Visayan literature. Her forthcoming collection is Ang Itim na Orkidyas ng Isla Boracay (The Black Orchid of Boracay Island) with the University of the Philippines Press.
Malou Jacob is a playwright. Her most famous plays are: “Juan Tamban,” “Macli-ing Dulag,” “Anatomiya ng Korupsyon” and “Pepe.” Her play, “Country In Search of A Hero” received a stage reading during The 5th Women Playwrights International Conference Greece. She is a recipient of awards from the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, Manila Critics Circle, Unesco ITI Venezuela Playwriting Competition, SEAWrite, Cultural Center of the Philippines Gawad para sa Sining and Gawad Balagtas of the Writers Union of the Philippines (UMPIL). She is one of the most produced and most published playwrights in her country: “Modern ASEAN Plays Philippines”; “Teatro Pulitikal”; “Juan Tamban”; “Anatomy of Corruption”; “Pulitika ng Buhay at Pag-ibig” and “Notes for the Filipino Playwright.” Her latest and final play, “Batang Mujahideen” was recently adapted for radio; and won the KBP Best Radio Drama Golden Dove and CMMA Best Drama, 2017. The stage play is scheduled to be produced by Tanghalang Pilipino (TP) in February/ March, 2020.
Panel 5: Creative Tensions and Art Forces. October 3, 2019. 1-30-3 pm. National Museum of the Philippines
Arts and culture are critical and powerful tools for disseminating positive ideas that resonate through the march of time. Just as a 15 th -16 th century Shakespearean play can impact audiences worldwide even today; just as art and music from one region can infuse emotions into diverse cultures, uniting them through paint and poetry; just as an evocative protest poster can inspire a frozen mind; just as significant books that journey with life, illuminate our minds, art and culture weaves through our lives without territorial borders and visas to inhabit our mind spaces. Cognitive science bears witness!
Bina Sarkar Ellias was born in Bombay, India. She is a poet, fiction writer, art curator, graphic designer, editor and publisher. She founded International Gallerie, an award-winning arts and ideas publication in 1997. As its editor-designer and publisher, she has been encouraging critical understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity through the arts. Her book of poems Fuse has been taught at Towson University, Maryland, USA,
and selected poems have been translated into Urdu, Chinese, Arabic, Greek and French. Her recent book of poems, When Seeing Is Believing is a selection of poems responding to art. She has given talks at various global venues and has received a Fellowship from the Asia Leadership Fellow Program 2007, Japan, the Times Group Yami Women Achievers’ Award, 2008, India, and the FICCI/FLO Award, 2013, India, for excellence in her work. Bina Sarkar Ellias believes she is a global citizen who lives and works from Mumbai, India.
Manuel L. Quezon III has been an editor, columnist, editorial writer, and TV presenter, and has also served in government. His remarks are on print media’s precipitous decline since 2016, victim of market forces and social change familiar to all traditional media practitioners, but which takes on a particular resonance in the Philippines as it echoes the decline of media before martial law in 1972.
Ruperta Bautista Vázquez is a community educator, writer, anthropologist, translator, and Tsotsil Maya actress, from San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México. She holds degrees in Creative Writing from the Sociedad General de Escritores de México (SOGEM), Indigenous Rights and Cultures from CIESAS-Sureste, Anthropology from Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas, and a Masters Degree in Education and Cultural Diversity. To date she has published Xojobal Jalob te’ (Telar Luminario), Xchamel Ch’ul Balamil (Eclipse en la madre tierra), Ch’iel k’opojelal (Vivencias) and had her work anthologized in Palabra conjurada, cinco Voces cinco Cantos (co-author) 1999. Her work has been translated into English, French, Italian, Catalán, and Portuguese.
Alfred A. Yuson, nicknamed Krip, has authored over 30 books to date, including novels, poetry collections, short fiction, essays, children’s stories,
biographies, travel, translation, and coffee-table books, apart from having
edited various other titles, including several literary anthologies. He has
gained numerous distinctions, including the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni
Balagtas from UMPIL or Writers Union of the Philippines, and the SEAWrite (SouthEast Asian Writers) Award from Thai royalty — both for lifetime achievement. He has also been elevated to the Hall of Fame of the Carlos
Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. he is a founding member of the
Philippine Literary Arts Council (PLAC), Creative Writing Foundation, Inc.
(CWF) and Manila Critics Circle, and has served as Chairman of UMPIL and
as a board member of the Movie and Television Ratings and Classification
Board. He contributes an arts and culture column to a national broadsheet,
The Philippine Star. He taught fiction and poetry at Ateneo de Manila
University, where he held the Henry Lee Irwin Professorial Chair.
Noel Galon, better known by his pen name Noel Galon de Leon, is a poet, director and teacher. He is the founder and publisher of Kasingkasing Press, an alternative press with the primary aim of promoting West Visayan Literature. For the last seven years Kasingkasing has organized ground-breaking events such as the biennial Magsugilanonay Kita: West Visayan Mother Tongue Children’s Books Summit , the Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a, and Akeanon Flash Fiction Competition, #ZineZoned: Iloilo Literary Zine Festival and Iloilo Mega Book Fair, the biggest local book fair in Western
Visayas. Its initiatives have been acclaimed by the academic community and cultural advocates in the country making it a significant game changer in Iloilo City’s thriving literary scene. His film “Kapawa: Mystery of Light” (2013) was a part of Cinema Rehiyon 6: Filming the Frontiers, a national film festival under the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. It was also shown at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California, US as part of the New Filipino Cinema. He is the author of
Sanday Tay Alib kag Tay Amar and Ang Kuring ni Mayin. He won the Tula Category for his poetry collection entitled Ang Mga Bata sa Panahon ng Ligalig in the 2018 Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.
Pia Ranada covers Malacañang or the Office of the President for Rappler, a news website based in Metro Manila. She also covers issues hounding the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Before covering politics, she was assigned to the environment, agriculture, and disaster beat. Aside from reporting, Pia is a press freedom advocate and tries to attend as many fora as she can to highlight media’s challenges under the Duterte administration. She graduated magna cum laude from Ateneo de Manila University and is a Carlos Palanca Award winner.
Pierre Pierson was born in Managua, Nicaragua on March 12, 1961. He was Art Director of Miami-Dade College in Miami, Florida and Vice Minister of Culture of Nicaragua during the government of Violeta Barrios de Chamorro. His activity as a narrator extends to novel, short story and children’s literature, literary genres that he cultivates successfully, as the twelve books published so far show. He is also a lyricist of renowned songs and television screenwriter. He has received national and international recognition, among others the Order of Cultural Independence Rubén Darío, granted by the Presidency of the Republic; Outstanding Artist, awarded by the National Assembly of Nicaragua, and the Best Short Film Award, from the Organization of American States (OAS) and the American Film Institute (AFI).
Dr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu is the current director of the University of San Carlos Cebuano Studies Center. She is professor of Comparative Literature at the same university. A creative writer, editor, and translator, she heads the National Committee on Literary Arts of the NCCA. She is also the Chair of the Division of the Humanities of the National Research Council of the Philippines.
Gloria studied journalism in the Philippines during the dark years of the Marcos dictatorship in the 1980s. Her first job as a reporter was with the country’s largest newspaper, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, in January 1986. She later moved to The Manila Times, where she covered extensively the defense-military establishments, and later served as its news editor. The Manila Times was forced to shut down temporarily in 1999 following pressures by then-President Joseph Estrada on its owners. Gloria also wrote for the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and for international news organizations such as Newsweek and Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper. In the dying days of the Estrada administration in 2001, she co-founded Newsbreak, which started as a newsweekly, and became the top investigative magazine in the Philippines. She has received awards for her investigative stories on the military and corruption. From 2008 to January 2011, she managed ANC, the 24-hour English news channel of ABS-CBN, the Philippines’ largest TV network, as its chief operating officer (COO). After leaving ANC in 2011, she joined Maria Ressa, ex-CNN Jakarta bureau chief and former head of news of ABS-CBN, in establishing Rappler, the Philippines’ first social news network, in 2012. Gloria has been Rappler’s managing editor since its founding, and is at present chairperson of Rappler’s Board of Directors. Gloria earned her journalism degree in 1985 at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, and was a recipient of the journalism award. A Chevening scholar of the British Government, she holds a master’s degree in political sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science, graduating in 1999 with distinction. From 2017-2018, she spent one academic year at Harvard University as a Nieman Fellow. The books that she has authored include “Under the Crescent Moon: Rebellion in Mindanao,” with Marites Dañguilan-Vitug, a groundbreaking book on the conflict in Mindanao, and “Spin and Sell: How Political Ads Shaped the 2004 elections.” In 2011, she wrote “The Enemy Within: An Inside Story on Military Corruption,” with the late Aries Rufo and Gemma Bagayaua-Mendoza. Her story on the disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos won for her the Marshall McLuhan Award for investigative journalism in 2008 given by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and the government of Canada.
Tomica Bajsić is a poet, prose writer, graphic artist and translator. Author of five poetry collections and two books of illustrated travel prose, and a picture book for kids. Twice awarded with high national awards for poetry. Poetry and prose pieces have been translated into many languages. He works also in the fields of art restoration, illustration, graphic design and photography with two expositions in Zagreb: Amazon Breathes in Cultural Centre and Brazilian Rainforest in Mimara Museum, Zagreb. He is one of the founders and editor for poetry in translation in Croatian magazine Poezija (2004 to 2017) published by Croatian Writers Society where he organized writer’s exchanges with many countries as a vice president for international cooperation. He serves as Croatian coordinator of Lyrikline network, based in Berlin, biggest and most influential world audio and written poetry platform. From 2010, he is founder and chief editor of Druga priča, Graphic Design & Publishing. He is also translator and editor of five international poetry anthologies. From 2017, he serves as president of Croatian PEN Centre.
Horacio “Howie” Severino has been a journalist for 31 years, and has produced several dozen TV documentaries on history, environment, and culture.
Jean-Frédéric Brun has published 6 books of narratives or novels and 4 books of poems in occitan, the minority historical language of southern France and parts of Italy and Spain. He is physician in the University Hospital of Montpellier (southern France) and involved in teaching and medical research. He is currently president of the PEN Occitan centre.
Danson Kahyana (PhD) is the President, Ugandan PEN, and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Literature, Makerere University. A freedom of expression defender, Danson has edited Fire on the Mountain: Creative Work on the Obuhikira (2018), which highlights the crimes committed by the Ugandan state against its own people in November 2016 when President Yoweri Museveni bombed the palace of one of the Kings in the country, consequently killing more than 200 people. He has also co-edited As I Stood Dead Before the World: Creative Writing from Luzira (2018) – one of the fruits of Ugandan PEN’s work with inmates of Uganda’s most populous maximum prison, Luzira.
Dinah Roma is full professor of literature and creative writing at De La Salle University Manila. She is the author of three books of poetry–A Feast of Origins (UST 2004), Geographies of Light (UST 2011), and Naming the Ruins (Vagabond Press 2014). She is at work on two book manuscripts: her fourth collection of poetry and a local history/culture book on her birth island Basey (Western Samar).
Ea Torrado is a choreographer, dancer, educator, and healer based in Manila, Philippines. She is the founder and artistic director of Daloy Dance Company, through which she produces and tours her works. With over 15 years of dance and teaching experience in classical ballet coupled with a lion’s heart for social justice, Ea creates original contemporary dances that engage both lyrically and viscerally with the politics of identity, society, sexuality, collective rage, grief, spirituality, and healing. She has been
awarded the Alvin Erasga Tolentino Koreograpiya Award (2014), the Remedios De Oteyza Award for Choreography (2016) and Asian Cultural Council Grant (2017) for her works with Daloy; and is a member of the World Dance Alliance Philippines and the International Consortium for Advancement in Choreography. She is a skilled practitioner and facilitator of contact improvisation, yoga, and somatic therapy. She practices reiki and other intuitive healing modalities.
Eka Kurniawan was born in Tasikmalaya, Indonesia, in 1975. He graduated from Faculty of Philosophy, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, with a paper on Pramoedya Ananta Toer that later published as Pramoedya Ananta Toer and Socialist Realism Literature, 1999. He started writing since a very early age, as he grow up in a small town and nothing he could do, just to entertain himself. But after he read Knut Hamsun’s novel, Hunger, he was interested to become a writer seriously. Influenced by Indonesian martial-art and horror novels those he read when he was teenager, as well as some world literature cannons he read later, he published some short stories in magazines and newspaper. He published his first novel Beauty is a Wound in 2002, followed by the second one, Man Tiger in 2004. In addition to fiction works, he writes literary essay and political opinion in local and foreign media outlets. He received Prince Claus Award in 2018. Now he lives in Jakarta.
Félix Villeneuve is a québécois writer and poet born in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, in the province of Quebec (Canada), and now living in Québec City. He holds a degree in Arts and Letters from the Abitibi-Témiscamingue College, and a bachelor’s degree in Classical Studies from Laval University. He was awarded the Jeunesse Québec 2003 Literary Award. He published a collection of short stories in 2014, L’Horloger, and his novel Plomb was selected among the 100 best québécois books of 2018 by the Québec organization of independent bookstores, Les Libraires. He has been board member and coordinator of the Writers in Prison Committee at the Quebec PEN Center since 2016.
Originaire de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, dans la province de Québec (Canada), diplômé en Arts et lettres au Cégep de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue et bachelier en Études anciennes à l’Université Laval, Félix Villeneuve est écrivain et poète, et réside dans la ville de Québec. Il a été lauréat du Prix Littéraire Jeunesse Québec 2003. Il a fait paraître un recueil de nouvelles, L’Horloger, en 2014 et son roman, Plomb, sorti en 2018, a été sélectionné parmi les 100 meilleurs livres québécois de l’année 2018 par l’organisation québécoise des librairies indépendantes Les Libraires. Il est administrateur et coordonnateur du Comité de défense des écrivains persécutés au Centre québécois de P.E.N. International depuis 2016.
Inga Gaile is writer of five poetry collections, a collection of children’s poetry, two novels, and a collection of short stories. In her works “she explores the inner states of being, her own experiences, everyday lives of women, as well as stigmatized groups of society.” (latvianliterature.lv) Inga Gaile is the president of Latvian PEN center. From 2014 she organizēs Women standup and regularly participates in it. She is also the author of several plays, staged in off — broadway theaters of Riga. In 2016. the first novel The glass shards is published. Her first detective novel Invisibles was published in 2017, and the collection of short stories Ways of milk was published in 2018. She has also translated works of Russian speaking poets into Latvian. Her poems have been translated into English, German, Swedish, Lithuanian, Bengali and other. In 2018, the book of translations of her poems “30 questions that people don’t ask” was published in Pleiades Press (Missouri, USA) – in English and in Circulo de Poesia (Peru, Chile) – in Spanish.
Kiri Dalena is a visual artist and filmmaker based in Manila and Mindanao, Philippines. Her artworks and films focus on injustices, social inequalities and human rights. Dalena works both as an individual and in collectives, such as Southern Tagalog Exposure (active 2001-2008) and RESBAK (Respond and Break the Silence Against the Killings, 2016-present). She is a member of the National Council of the Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights (KARAPATAN). She studied BS Human Ecology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños and 16 mm documentary filmmaking at the Mowelfund Film Institute. She is the recipient of the Ateneo Art Awards (2009) and Thirteen Artists, Cultural Center of the Philippines (2012). Her works have been shown in multiple exhibitions internationally, such as the Singapore Biennale (2013), Yokohama Triennale (2014), Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale (2014), Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2015), Busan Biennale (2016), Jakarta Biennale (2017) and the Shanghai Biennale (2018). Her works are in the collections of Singapore Art Museum, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art and the Ateneo Art Gallery.
Kristian Sendon Cordero is a poet, fictionist, translator and a filmmaker based in the Bikol region. His books of poetry in three Philippine languages have won the Madrigal-Gonzales Best First Book Award, the National Book Awards and the Gintong Aklat Awards. In 2017, he represented the Philippines in the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa. He was also appointed as artist-in-residence by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies in the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. As a translator, he has translated the works of Rainer Maria Rilke, Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka and Oscar Wilde in Bikol and Filipino. His current projects include the Bikol translations of Jose Rizal’s two novels. He will receive the Southeast Asian Writers Award given by the Thai royalty this coming November 2020. He serves as deputy director of the Ateneo de Naga University Press and runs an independent bookshop and art space, The Savage Mind in his home city.
Virgilio S. Almario, proclaimed National Artist for Literature in 2003, is the chairman of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and concurrently, the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) or the Commission for the Filipino Language. NCCA is the official arts council of the country and the coordinative entity for seven affiliated cultural agencies, while KWF is the sole government agency charged with developing and promoting the national language and other indigenous languages of the Philippines.
Within and outside academe, in journalism, publishing, and cultural management, Almario has exerted and continues to exert leadership and influence as an advocate of Filipino, the national language, and language nationalism. He is a Professor Emeritus of the University of the Philippines, a former Dean of the College of Arts and Literature, and holder of the UP Centennial Professorial Chair in 2008. He has also been a UNESCO Commissioner for the country. His publications, which consist of around 25 books of poetry and 32 books of literary criticism and scholarship, are all written in Filipino.
As a language nationalist and leading author, scholar, and authority on the Filipino language, Almario heads KWF, introducing programs such as a national circuit of lectures and workshops on orthography, effective writing, a library of knowledge publication and translation program, and language planning and continuing mid-term and long-term plans for language development, among others. At the NCCA, Almario has emphasized and re-focused agency efforts on intangible cultural heritage which, as defined by UNESCO, includes oral traditions, epics, practices, representations and symbols, expressions, knowledge and skills (including instruments, objects, artifacts, cultural spaces), that communities recognize as part of cultural heritage.Almario has received numerous national and international awards including, most recently, the IV Premio Jose Rizal de las Letras Filipinas for the poetry collection En Tiempos de la vendora y del criminal, 2018. He has been honored with the Don Carlos Palanca Awards, National Book Awards, the SEA WRITE Award of Thailand, Talaang Ginto Poet of the Year, the TOYM, Outstanding Citizen Awards, the Philippine Board of Books for Young People (PBBY) Lifetime Achievement Award, the CCP Literary Award, and the CCP Centennial Award for 100 Outstanding Filipino Artists of the 20th Century, among many other citations.
The CEO and Executive Editor of Rappler.com, Maria is one of the founders of the 6-year-old company, that is one of the leading online news organizations in the Philippines. Maria has been honored around the world for her courageous and bold work in fighting disinformation, “fake news” and attempts to silence the free press. In 2018, she was named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” and won the prestigious Golden Pen of Freedom Award from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-INFRA), the Knight International Journalism Award of the International Center for Journalists, the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award of the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Journalist of Courage and Impact Award of East-West Center, and the IX International Press Freedom Award of University of Málaga and UNESCO, among others. She has been a journalist in Asia for more than 30 years. She was CNN’s bureau chief in Manila then Jakarta, and became CNN’s lead investigative reporter focusing on terrorism in Southeast Asia. She authored two books – Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia and From Bin Laden to Facebook. In 1987, Maria co-founded independent production company, Probe. In 2005, she managed ABS-CBN News and Current affairs, the largest multi-platform news operation in the Philippines. Her work aimed to redefine journalism by combining traditional broadcast, new media and mobile phone technology for social change.
Susan S. Lara writes fiction and nonfiction. She has won the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, Focus Literary Awards, the National Book Award, and the 2015 Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas for Fiction in English from the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL). She attended the University of Iowa International Writing Program and the Seminar on Contemporary British Writing at University of Cambridge, U.K. on a British Council grant. She facilitates workshops on fiction, CNF, and flash fiction. She has sat in the panels of various national writers workshops and was director-in-residence of the Silliman University National Writers Workshop. She held the Henry Lee Irwin Professorial Chair in Creative Writing in Ateneo de Manila University in 2010. She has been a visiting faculty at the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA). A textbook and a teacher’s handbook on Creative Nonfiction for Senior High School students which she co-edited with Dr. Marjorie Evasco are due for release in the first quarter of 2020.
Tetyana Teren is vice president and executive director of PEN Ukraine. She is journalist, and curator of literary projects and programs. She graduated from the Department of Journalism of V. N. Karazin National University of Kharkiv. She has worked as a presenter of TV show and as an editor of literary magazine, TV programs and online newspaper. She contributed to such periodicals as “Ukraina Moloda”, “Den”, “Tyzhden”, “Vysokyi Zamok”, “Harper’s Bazaar Ukraine” etc. She cooperated, as a curator, with “PinchukArtCentre”, “Culture Project”, and “Book Arsenal Festival” in Kyiv. In 2017–2018, she was the head of Ukrainian Book Institute. She is author of the series of books of interviews with Ukrainian writers “RECвізити. The Anthology of Writers’ Voices”.
Veera Tyhtilä (1977) is a Finnish playwright and screenwriter. She has worked as a full-time professional since 2006 and her works have been performed all around the country, including the Finnish National Theatre. Tyhtilä has a wide selection of styles, ranging from experimental and modern to main stage musical and drama. She often uses poetry as the language of dialogue. As a screenwriter she has written several short films and a feature film, as well as directed some music videos and shorts. Veera Tyhtilä is currently studying social sciences and political history at the University of Helsinki. She is the president of the Finnish PEN.
Jaime A. FlorCruz
National Artist for Literature, Philippines
SENO GUMIRA AJIDARMA
RICARDO DE UNGRIA
GINNY TAPLEY TAKEMORI
JOHN H. MCGLYNN
TAMMY LAI-MING HO
HONG KONG, CHINA
FERNAND DE VARENNES
BINA SARKAR ELLIAS
Manuel L. Quezon III
ALFRED A. YUSON
NOEL GALON DE LEON
GLENDA M. GLORIA
VIRGILIO S. ALMARIO
National Artist for Literature, Philippines
MARIA A. RESSA
85th PEN International Congress Venues
De La Salle University (DLSU) will be the venue for the main assemblies and committee meetings of the 85th PEN International Congress. The public events will be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the National Museum of the Philippines.
DLSU is an internationally recognized Catholic university in the Philippines founded in 1911 by the Brothers of the Christian Schools. It is known for its academic excellence, productive research and scholarship, and community engagement.
CCP is the leading institution for arts and cultures in the Philippines. Founded in 1969, it has showcased both local and international events and exhibitions in the fields of music, dance, theater, visual arts, literary arts, cinema, and design. It houses nine resident companies: Ballet Philippines, Philippine Ballet Theater, Tanghalang Pilipino, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, the Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, UST Symphony Orchestra, Philippine Madrigal Singers and the National Music Competition for Young Artists Foundation (NAMCYA).
The National Museum is an educational, scientific and cultural institution that preserves and exhibits art, specimens, and artifacts that define the cultural identity and heritage of the Filipino people. It manages and develops national reference collections in culture (fine arts, anthropology, archaeology) and natural history (botany, zoology, geology, paleontology). It engages in research work and programs in areas such as biodiversity, human origins, maritime and underwater heritage, art history, ethnology, and moveable and immoveable cultural properties, among others.