October 06, 2019
A memoir by singer Jake Zyrus and books from two authors are among the more than 60 titles shortlisted for the 38th National Book Awards, which is dominated by titles published by Jesuit-run universities.
In a post on its website early last week, the National Book Development Board (NBDB) announced that I am Jake by the 27-year-old transgender vocalist formerly known as Charice Pempengco was a finalist in the Best Book of Nonfiction Prose in English category.
The memoir is one of five books named in the category, which includes biographies of the late patriots Leon Ma. Guerrero and Jose Abad Santos.
The book agency also announced that Bagay Tayo (We Fit Together) and Hindi Bagay (Not Fit Together) by prize-winning poet and screenwriter Jerry B. Grácio were shortlisted in the Best Book of Nonfiction Prose in Filipino and Best Book of Poetry in Filipino categories, respectively.
Grácio’s nonfiction work chronicles his relationship with longtime partner Raymond Reña, whom he calls “Pitbull,” while the slim poetry collection serves as a companion to the former.
Another writer in Filipino, Beverly “Bebang” Siy, was recognized for her work in two publications — as artist in Biyak (Split) and translator of Swedish comics artist Liv Strömquist’s Fruit of Knowledge, retitled Pukiusap, a portmanteau of the Filipino words for vagina (puki) and talk (usap), as well as a play on the Filipino word for please (pakiusap). Both are shortlisted in the Best Graphic Litetature category.
Siy voiced pleasure over the news, and hoped that the recognition she received would inspire others to make the books they want to make.
“Sana makahikayat ito sa kanila na gumawa ng librong mayroong ipinaglalaban. Hindi natin kailangan ng librong nang-aaliw lamang. O nagbibigay lamang ng impormasyon. Sa panahon ngayon, kailangan natin ng mga libro para tulungan tayong lumaban sa maliit at malaking hamon ng buhay (I hope this would persuade them to make books with something to fight for. We don’t need books that only entertain. Or inform. At present, we need books that help us fight life’s challenges, both great and small),” she told Literary Life.
Last year’s top publisher, the Ateneo de Manila University Press, led this year’s nominations with 15, including those published under its Bughaw and Bluebooks imprints. These include Reine Arcache Melvin’s novel The Betrayed, Kate Osias’ short story collection Heroes, Villains, and Other Women and Marites Dañguilan Vitug’s Rock Solid: How the Philippines Won Its Maritime Case against China.
Another publishing house run under the Society of Jesus, the Ateneo de Naga University Press, has seven of its titles recognized. Among these are Tito Genova Valiente’s short story collection The Last Sacristan Mayor and the Most Expensive Mass for the Dead: Tales from Ticao, Ian Rosales Casocot’s personal anthology Bamboo Girls: Short Stories and Poems from a Forgotten Life, and Kristian Sendon Cordero and former Czech ambassador to Manila Jaroslav Olša Jr.’s collection Malikmata: Mga Kuwentong Kababalaghan mula Czech Republic (Mirage: Tales of Mystery from the Czech Republic).
Winners are expected to be announced in a ceremony next month, details of which are yet to be disclosed.
The National Book Awards was established in 1982 by the nonstock, nonprofit Manila Critics Circle (MCC), made up of professional literary critics, newspaper columnists and creative writers.
For the past 11 years, the MCC has been giving out the awards in partnership with the NBDB, which is tasked to promote and support the Philippine book-publishing industry.
Here is the complete list of finalists:
Best Novel in English: The Betrayed: A Novel,Reine Arcache Melvin (Bughaw, an imprint of the Ateneo de Manila University [AdMU] Press); Nightfall, Eliza Victoria (Visprint Inc.)
Best Book of Short Fiction in Filipino:Hantong: Mga Kuwento, John Jack Wigley (University of Santo Tomas [UST] Publishing House); Mga Apoy sa Ilaya at Iba Pang Kuwento, Rommel B. Rodriguez (University of the Philippines [UP] Press); Muling Nanghaharana ang Dapithapon: Imus Novel 5, RM Topacio-Aplaon (UP Press); P’wera Bisita, Emmanuel T. Barrameda (Isang Balangay Media Productions); Salamin at Iba Pang Panglaw, Almayrah A. Tiburon (Isang Balangay Media Productions).
Best Book of Short Fiction in English:A River, One-Woman Deep, Linda Ty-Casper (UST Publishing House); Fields of Play & Other Fictions, Francis Paolo Quina (Visprint); Heroes, Villains, and Other Women, Kate Osias (Bughaw); The Last Sacristan Mayor and the Most Expensive Mass for the Dead: Tales from Ticao, Tito Genova Valiente (Ateneo de Naga University [AdNU] Press); Seekers of Spirits, Jude Ortega (UP Press).
Best Book of Nonfiction Prose in Filipino:Bagay Tayo, Jerry B. Grácio (Visprint); Finding Teo: Tula/Talambuhay, Joselito D. delos Reyes (UST Publishing House).
Best Book of Nonfiction Prose in English:The Diplomat-Scholar: A Biography of Leon Ma. Guerrero, Erwin S. Fernandez (AdMU Press); Honor: The Legacy of Jose Abad Santos, Desiree Ann Cua Benipayo (Philippine World War II Memorial Foundation Inc.); I am Jake, Jake Zyrus (Anvil Publishing Inc.); A Split Second in Time: My Life, Times, and Works, Teodulo M. Topacio Jr. (UP Press); Spots of Time: Memoirs of a Mind, Paulino Lim Jr. (AdNU Press).
Best Book of Essays in Filipino:56, Bob Ong (Visprint)
Best Anthology in Filipino:Ang Imahen ng Filipino sa Sining, John Iremil E. Teodoro (editor) (Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino [KWF]); Kolab: Koleksiyon ng mga Dula, U Z. Eliserio, Maynard Manansala and Chuckberry Pascual (UP Press); Lab: Mga Dulang Adaptasyon at Iba Pang Laro para sa mga Klaseng Panlaboratoryo, Vladimeir B. Gonzales (UP Press); Tatlong Dula (na Itinanghal ng Dulaang UP), Rody Vera (UP Press).
Best Anthology in English: The Achieve of, the Mastery: Filipino Poetry and Verse from English, mid-’90s to 2016, The Sequel to A Habit of Shores (Volumes 1 and 2), Gemino H. Abad and Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta (editors) (UP Press); Bamboo Girls: Short Stories and Poems from a Forgotten Life, Ian Rosales Casocot (AdNU Press); The First Five: A New Collection of Southeast Asian Writing, Chan Wai Han (editor) (Bughaw); Made in Japan: Stories of Japanese-Filipino Children, Rey Ventura (editor) (Bughaw); Voices on the Waters: Conversation with Five Mindanao Writers, Ricardo M. de Ungria (Bughaw).
Best Book on Literary Criticism/Literary History in English:Interpreting Rizal: Did Padre Damaso Rape Pia Alba? Reticence, Revelation and Revolution in Jose Rizal’s Novels/Daydreaming About Rizal and Tetcho on Asianism as Network and Fantasy, Caroline S. Hau (Bughaw).
Best Book of Poetry in Filipino:Damagan, Allan Popa (UST Publishing House); Hindi Bagay, Jerry B. Grácio (Visprint); Samantalang Sakop at Iniibig: Panibagong Tulambuhay, Edgar Calabia Samar (AdNU Press); Walang Halong Biro, Mesandel Virtusio Arguelles (De La Salle University Publishing House); Walang Iisang Salita, Paul A. Castillo (UST Publishing House).
Best Book of Poetry in English:Drift: Poems, Joel H. Vega (UST Publishing House); How to Make a Salagubang Helicopter & other poems, Jim Pascual Agustin (San Anselmo Publications Inc.).
Best Graphic Literature:Biyak, Joyce Rochelle Montañano (writer) and Bebang Siy (artist) (Isang Balangay Media Productions); Kikomachine Komix Blg. 14: Alaala ng Kinabukasan, Manix Abrera (Visprint); Liryo, Magtira Paolo (Anino Comics, Adarna House Inc. imprint); Pukiusap, Beverly Siy (translator) and Liv Strömquist (artist) (Anvil Publishing); Stay, Angelo R. Lacuesta (writer) and John Amor, Andoyman, Kajo Baldisimo, Dominic Bekaert, Fritz Casas, Chocnut-san, Ace Continuado, Igan D’Bayan, Jim Jimenez, Rommel Joson, Ydunn Lopez, Shaira Luna, Roy Allan Martinez, Gilbert Monsanto, Noel Pascual, Randy Valiente and Ara Villena (artists) (Good Intentions Books Inc.).
Best Translated Book:Digmaan at Kapayapaan (War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy), Lamberto E. Antonio (KWF); Dusking, Dawning (Agaw-Dilim, Agaw-Liwanag by Lualhati Milan Abreu), Bonifacio P. Ilagan (UP Press); Malikmata: Mga Kuwentong Kababalaghan mula Czech Republic, Kristian Sendon Cordero and Jaroslav Olša Jr. (AdNU Press); Mga Osipon ni Ana T. Calixto: Paggigiit ng Sandiring Banwa sa Osipon, Maikling Kathang Bikol, 1950-1956, Raniela E. Barbaza (AdMU Press); The Star of Panghulo, Soledad S. Reyes (AdNU Press).
Best Book on Art:Cosmopolitanism, Theatre, and the Philippines, Sir Anril Pineda Tiatco (UP Press).
Best Book on Professions:Researching Philippine Realities: A Guide to Qualitative, Quantitative, and Humanities Research, Jose Eos Trinidad (Bluebooks, an imprint of AdMU Press).
Best Book in the Social Sciences:The Filipino Primitive: Accumulation and Resistance in the American Museum, Sarita Echavez See (AdMU Press); Muni: Paglalayag sa Pamimilosopiyang Filipino, Jovito R. Cariño (UST Publishing House); Neoliberalizing Spaces in the Philippines: Suburbanization, Transnational Migration, and Dispossession, Arnisson Andre Ortega (AdMU Press); Saysay Himig: Sourcebook on Philippine Music History, 1880-1941, Arwin Q. Tan (editor) (UP Press); Stories of Struggle: Experiences of Land Reform in Negros Island, Philippines, Sarah Wright and Ma. Diosa Labiste (UP Press).
Best Book on History:The Convents of Manila: Globalized Architecture during the Iberian Union, Pedro Luengo (AdMU Press); El Periodismo: 1811-1910: The First Century of Philippine Journalism Representing Vol. 3 of Aparato Bibliográfico dela Historia General de Filipinas, Jaime M. Marco (translator) and Jose Victor Z. Torres (introduction) (Vibal Group Inc.); Peripheries: Histories of Anti-Marginality, Filomeno V. Aguilar Jr. (AdNU Press); Textiles in the Philippine Colonial Landscape: A Lexicon and Historical Survey, Sandra Castro (AdMU Press).
Best Book in Journalism:Na Kung Saan: Kapirasong Kritika, Mahigit Isang Dekada, Teo S. Marasigan (UP Press); Rock Solid: How the Philippines Won Its Maritime Case against China, Marites Dañguilan Vitug (AdMU Press).
Best Book in Science: Investing in the Unseen: Cases on Biodiversity Conservation (Source book for Development Management), Benjamin C. Bagadion Jr. (AdMU Press); Science-Based Management and Upland Community Development in the Philippines: The Case of Mount Makiling Forest Reserve, Portia G. Lapitan (editor) (UP Press).
Best Book Design:El Periodismo: 1811-1910: The First Century of Philippine Journalism Representing Vol. 3 of Aparato Bibliográfico dela Historia General de Filipinas, Ryan dela Cruz (cover design) and Jason Buan (layout) (Vibal); Rizal Library Nation Building, Karl Frederick M. Castro (book designer) (Office of the President, AdMU).
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