National Artist for Literature (1976)
(May 4, 1917 – April 29, 2004)
“Before 1521 we could have been anything and everything not Filipino; after 1565 we can be nothing but Filipino.” ― Culture and History, 1988
Nick Joaquin, is regarded by many as the most distinguished Filipino writer in English writing so variedly and so well about so many aspects of the Filipino. Nick Joaquin has also enriched the English language with critics coining “Joaquinesque” to describe his baroque Spanish-flavored English or his reinventions of English based on Filipinisms. Aside from his handling of language, Bienvenido Lumbera writes that Nick Joaquin’s significance in Philippine literature involves his exploration of the Philippine colonial past under Spain and his probing into the psychology of social changes as seen by the young, as exemplified in stories such as Doña Jeronima, Candido’s Apocalypse and The Order of Melchizedek. Nick Joaquin has written plays, novels, poems, short stories and essays including reportage and journalism. As a journalist, Nick Joaquin uses the nom de plume Quijano de Manila but whether he is writing literature or journalism, fellow National Artist Francisco Arcellana opines that “it is always of the highest skill and quality”.
Among his voluminous works are The Woman Who Had Two Navels, A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino, Manila, My Manila: A History for the Young, The Ballad of the Five Battles, Rizal in Saga, Almanac for Manileños, Cave and Shadows.
Nick Joaquin died on April 29, 2004.