3 Mindanao books among National Book Awards winners

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/August 06) – Three books on Mindanao are among the 27 winners of the 39e National Book Awards presented by the National Book Development Board (NDBD) and the Manila Critics Circle (MCC).

The NBA is an annual event but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it had its last award in November 2019 for books published in 2018. The 39e The NBA ceremony on Saturday July 30 concerned books published in 2019 and 2020. A total of 110 finalists competed for 25 prizes. There were two categories where the finalists tied for the prize.

The three books from Mindanao that won are Biyaheng Pinoy: A Travelogue from Mindanao by the late Edilberto N. Alegre for Best English Prose Nonfiction Book; Songs from Indigenous Soils: More Conversations with Eight Mindanao Writers by Ricardo M. De Ungria (editor) for best literary history book in English; and Mindanao Harvest 4 edited by Jaime An Lim, Christine F. Godinez-Ortega and Ricardo M. De Ungria for Best Anthology in English.

Biyaheng Pinoy was published by the Ateneo de Manila University Press in 2020 and edited by de Ungria with a foreword by Karl Gaspar, songs sprang up by Xavier University Press in Cagayan de Oro City in 2019 and Mindanao Harvest 4 by Far Eastern University publication in 2018.

Alegre’s wife, Joycie, thanked the BDBC and MCC for posthumously recognizing her husband’s work. She also thanked the Lumads and Muslims in Mindanao who shared their stories with Alegre.

Jaime An Lim also thanked the organizers and the “50 contributors from Mindanawon who shared their provocative stories about Mindanao’s rich and complicated past and present.”

“Their stories are interesting stories. Their stories are important stories. Their stories are necessary stories. Because they are part of the national narrative of our people,” he said.

De Ungria’s message was read for him by Dr. Arlene Yandug of Xavier University. De Ungria thanked the eight Mindanawon writers who agreed to be part of the book, Xavier University for publishing it, and the NDBD and MCC “for their recognition of the book’s value to Mindanao and to Philippine literature.” .

“The work on the various literatures of this island is just beginning and any prize for these efforts here, even if not always forthcoming, is always uplifting and uplifting,” de Ungria added.

De Ungria interviewed Mindanawon writers Leoncio Deriada, Noralyn Mustafa, Jaime An Lim, Christine Godinez-Ortega, Calbi Asain, Lia Lopez-Chua, Telesforo Sungkit Jr and Almayrah Tiburon.

Deriada died on April 3, 2019; Mustafa on March 27, 2021 in Zamboanga City and Sungkit in Los Banos on July 18, 2022.

The winners, as presented at the awards ceremony on July 30, are:

For the literary section:

Best Novel in English: Tiempo Muerto: a novel by Caroline S. Hau, Ateneo de Manila University Press

Best Filipino Novel: Lumbay Topography: Imus Novel 6 by R. M. Topacio-Aplaon, University of the Philippines Press

Best Short Fiction Book in English: Traveling and Other Fictions: The Collected Stories of José Dalisay by Jose Dalisay Jr, Anvil Publishing, Inc.

Best Short Fiction Book in Filipino: The Next Great Tagalog Novel in Iba Pang Kuwento by Allan N. Derain, University of the Philippines Press

Best prose non-fiction book in English: Biyaheng Pinoy: A Travelogue from Mindanao by Edilberto N. Alegre, Ateneo de Manila University Press

Best Filipino Prose Non-Fiction Book: Sweeper by Emmanuel T. Barrameda, Isang Balangay Media Productions

Best Essay Book in English: The Philippines is not a small country by Gideon Lasco, Ateneo de Manila University Press

Best Anthology in English: Mindanao Harvest 4 by Jaime An Lim, Christine F. Godinez-Ortega, Ricardo M. De Ungria (editors), Far Eastern University Publications

best drama book: Salvador/Javier to Iba Pang Dula by Lito Casaje, University of the Philippines Press and Two women as ghosts of history: Lakambini and Indigo Child by Rody Vera, Ateneo de Manila University Press

Best book of literary criticism in English: Manila Feel by Gary C. Devilles, Ateneo de Manila University Press

Best literary history book in English: Songs from Indigenous Soils: More Conversations with Eight Mindanao Writers by Ricardo M. De Ungria (editor), Xavier University Press

Best Book of Literary Criticism in Filipino: Faustino Aguilar: Kapangyarihan, Kamalayan, Kasaysayan by Epifanio San Juan Jr, Publishing House of the University of Santo Tomas

Best Book of Poetry in English: When the Bridges Have Fallen, the Mountains Too Far: New Poems by Gemino H. Abad, University of the Philippines Press and We’ll write love poems again by Dinah Roma, Publishing House of the University of Santo Tomas

Best Book of Poetry in Filipino: Road : Mga Bago to Piling Tula by Benilda S. Santos, Ateneo de Naga University Press

Best graphic literature: Tarantadong Kalbo Volume 1 by Kevin Eric Raymundo, Komiket Inc.

Best translated book: The world is always beautiful by Lazaro Francisco, translated by Mona Highley, Ateneo de Manila University Press

For the Non-Literary Division:

best art book: Filipino cinema, 1897-2020 by Gaspar A. Vibal and Dennis S. Villegas; edited by Teddy O. Co, Vibal Group

Best book on trades: Cool Minds, Brave Hearts: The People of the Philippine Central Bank by Roel R. Landingin, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

Best Social Science Book: Rethinking Filipino Millennials: Alternative Perspectives on a Misunderstood Generation by Jayeel Cornelio (Editor), University of Santo Tomas Publishing House

Best History Book: Dressing the Colony: Nineteenth-Century Filipino Dress Culture, 1820-1896 by Stephanie Coo, Ateneo de Manila University Press

Best Journalism Book: Press freedom under siege: a report that challenged the Marcos dictatorship by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo, University of the Philippines Press

Best Humor, Sports & Lifestyle Book: Walking in Manila by Lorelei DC of Viana, Far Eastern University Publications

Best Food Book: Lasa ng Republika Dila and Bandila: Ang Paghahanap in Pambansang Panlasa ng Filipinas by Ige Ramos, Anvil Publishing, Inc.

Best science book: The Zanjeras of Ilocos: Cooperative Irrigation Societies of the Philippines by Jose A. Rivera, Ateneo de Manila University Press

Best Book Design: A watercolor journey by Claude Tayag, design by Miguel Mari, Holy Angel University, Inc.

NDBD President Dante Francis Ang II said the NBA has had a tradition since 1982 to recognize “the best books written, published and designed in the Philippines”.

“The administration of the 39th National Book Awards, from the submission of 276 nominated books to the lengthy seven-month reading and deliberation phase, has experienced delays due to intermittent closures. But as we begin again, we find solace in rediscovering the best of Filipino stories. I tell you this with certainty because as we redesign our worlds, the role of books in helping us answer the questions the pandemic has raised has never been clearer,” he said.

He reiterated the NDBD’s mandate to “ensure the continued production of books among our stakeholders, from authors to editors, artists, translators and publishers”. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

About Herbert L. Leonard

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