MUNDAG LITERARY AWARDS
February 18, 2007
I was invited as guest writer during the Mundag Literary Awards last night, February 17 in Ateneo de Naga University. I shared a couple of poems to an audience of student writers, artists, computer experts even (it was also the soft launch of The Pillars Web site).
Keynote speaker was writer and cultural worker Carlo A. Arejola. For his part, he invited the student writers to join the Juliana Arejola-Fajardo Workshop for Bikol Writing slated this summer. As you know, I was the director of last year’s workshop and it really would be great to have all those who participated in the contest as fellows in the coming literary communion in Pili.
I was seated beside fellow guest writer Kristian Cordero and we talked about the situation of Bikol literature or literature in general in the academe. We saw that there is still a need for a more active participation on the part of the academe in the rebirth of Bikol literature. Not that we Bikol writers rely on the bureaucracy of the academic setting, we have seen ourselves succeed in projects with our own initiative.
During the awards night, Ateneo teachers were not visible. With this, Kristian and I commented that there is really a need to have writer-teachers who have much passion for literature. Literary art is somewhat contagious and having a writer for a teacher will help produce more writers, if not, people who have literary sensibility. Also it will bring literature out of the classroom toward its organic reality and not reduce it to mere academic units or schedule.
We have heard of competent and charismatic writers who failed to qualify for a teaching job just because he/she does not have an MA. I think we should not be too strict with regard to this rule. There are things about creativity and teaching that cannot be measured by a master’s thesis.
Again, I say congratulations to all those who participated in the Mundag project.