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December 08, 2010


With support from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Philippine PEN (Poets & Playwrights, Essayists, Novelists) held its annual writers’ conference on Dec. 4-5 at Montebelo Villa Hotel, Cebu City.

Themed “Solidarity in Literature Without Borders, the international conference brought together writers from the Philippines, the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, and Europe. Present were conference organizer, and also Philippine PEN founder was F. Sionil José, along with fellow National Artists for Literature: Edith Tiempo,  Bienvenido Lumbera, Francisco Arcellana, NVM Gonzalez, and Alejandro Roces.

The keynote address was given by Cebu executive judge, and multi-awarded poet Simeon Dumdum Jr. while the annual José Rizal Lecture was delivered by highly respected Cebu scholar Resil Mojares.

Foreign writers included Ruth Elynia Mabanglo, USA; Marianne Villanueva, USA; Ignacio Martínez de Pisón, Spain; Lina Zerón, Mexico; Joseph Akawu Ushie, Nigeria; Nori Nakagami, Japan; Alvin Pang, Singapore; Nguyen Bao Chan, Vietnam; and Robin Lim, Indonesia.

The Philippine PEN is a member of International PEN with centers in some 150 countries worldwide. The PEN Philippine Center celebrated its golden anniversary in December 2007, with a two-day national writers’ conference in Baguio City marking its founding day in December 1958. PEN has since organized two regional Asian Writers conferences in Manila, and published several anthologies including an Asian PEN anthology, sponsoring as well activities such as literary readings, workshops, seminars,  meet-the-author series, and conferences in the country.