Thursday, November 13, 2008
The Philippines seems to be having a field day conquering Asia after Karla Paula Henry became the first Asian to be crowned as Miss Earth days ago and Ishmael Bernal’s Himala being recently voted online as CNN’s best Asian film of all time. Hours ago in Hong Kong, Miguel Syjuco’s debut novel Ilustrado won the second Man Asian Literary Prize, our continent’s answer to the prestigious Man Booker Prize in Britain. The novel, touted as “a fictional account of a young Filipino caught within a notorious scandal spanning over the Philippine history” and described by the judges as “possess[ing] formal ambition, linguistic inventiveness and sociopolitical insight in the most satisfying measure…[b]rilliantly conceived, and stylishly executed…ceaselessly entertaining, frequently raunchy, and effervescent with humour," had been earlier awarded the Grand Prize for the Novel in English by the Palanca. The novel of the boyish-looking Ateneo graduate now based in Montreal beat Sir Krip Yuson’s The Music Child, Indian writers (again!) Kavery Nambisan’s The Story that Must Not be Told and Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi’s The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay and Chinese Yu Hua’s Brothers. Congratulations! I’m happy that Filipino authors like Chuck are putting the Philippines in the world literary map. Last year’s finalist from the Philippines, Sir Butch Dalisay’s Soledad’s Sister, is a good read—about two people whose lives get intertwined since the arrival of a coffin containing one of the 600 dead OFWs that come home annually. Too bad Jiang Rong’s Wolf Totem beat it to the inaugural prize. Well, the literary spotlight’s on us this time. Hail to the Filipino writer!:)
To fellow blogger noir1, thanks for the compliment! Let me rephrase my reply to your comment “prolific”: writing’s a good therapy for the broken-hearted.