Bikol poetry book among the finalists of first book award
by Vic Nierva
DILIMAN, Quezon City—“Halt” is not in Palanca winner Kristian Cordero’s vocabulary as he earns laurel after laurel like a raging Bicol Express for his literary works. The latest of which is the inclusion of his first book “Mga Tulang Tulala: Piling Tulang Filipino, Bikol at Rinconada” in the finalists of the annual Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award (MGBFBA) sponsored by the Likhaan: UP Institute of Creative Writing (UP-ICW) and the Madrigal-Gonzales family.
Shortlisted together with Cordero’s entry are fiction books “Iskrapuk” (University of the Philippines Press) by Allan Derain and “Pangangaluluwa at Iba Pang Kuwento” (UP Press) by Jimmuel C. Naval; and poetry collections “Order of the Poets: Poems in English and Filipino” (Akdang Bayan) by Jaime Dasca Doble; “Ibang Daan Pauwi: Mga Tula” (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House) by Manolito Sulit.
Cordero, 23, poet, fictionist, a native of Iriga City, has published a couple of poetry books, “Mga Tulang Tulala” and “Santigwar,” both published by Naga-based Goldprint Publishing House. He won for his poetry Homelife Magazine’s grand prize in 2004, he also earned the magazine’s second prize in 1999 and 2005, respectively. He was also the winner for Bikol poetry for the first Premio Tomas Arejola para sa Literaturang Bikolnon. Last September 1, his short story in Filipino, “Langaw,” placed second in the prestigious Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature. Cordero’s “Langaw” is a sad tale of a poor girl whose sufferings tragically ended in the hands of merciless rapists along the railroad tracks.
The MGBFBA winner will be announced on December 8, 2006, after a Book Forum with the finalists at 2pm of the said date. The book forum as well as the awarding ceremony will be held at the Pulungang Recto, Bulwagang Rizal, UP-Diliman, Quezon City. The winner will receive a cash prize of P50,000.
The MGBFBA, established in February 2001 and administered since then by the UP-ICW, is the only award-winning body in the Philippines recognizing first books by new authors published within the last two years. It is granted by the Madrigal and Gonzalez families, through Atty. Gizela Gonzalez Montinola, writer and granddaughter of Bienvenido Gonzalez, former UP President, and daughter of Gonzalo Gonzalez, former member of the UP Board of Regents.
According to UP-ICW director Vim Nadera, the MGBFBA encourages beginning writers to persevere in writing and publishing, and it also encourages publishers to take risk with new authors. The award covers all genres of creative writing and nominations may come from publishing houses, university presses, creative writing centers, writers’ organizations, and other literary enthusiasts. It is given on alternate years to writers in English and writers in Filipino.
Previous winners of the MGBFBA were “Life After X” a story collection in English by Angelo R. Lacuesta (2001), “Paghuhunos” novel in Filipino by Ellen L. Sicat (2002), “Smaller and Smaller Circles” a novel in English by Felisa H. Batacan (2003), “Makinilyang Altar” a novel in Filipino by Luna Sicat-Cleto (2004), and “The Sky Over Dimas” a novel in English by Vicente Groyon (2005).
This year, the members of the board of judges were Malou Jacob, Luna Sicat-Cleto and Rene O. Villanueva (chair).