The Philippine Center of International PEN (Poets, Playwrights, Essayists, Novelists) will hold its national conference on December 2-3 (Tuesday-Wednesday), from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, at The Verdure, 5th Floor Henry Sy Sr. Hall, De La Salle University, Manila. The theme is “Never stray from the path of righteousness and justice . . . ” (Mabini’s The True Decalogue): Writing, Writers, Moral Regeneration and National Renewal. This conference commemorates the 150th birth anniversary of Apolinario Mabini.

Adolf Azcuna, the first Filipino justice appointed to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), will deliver the José Rizal Lecture, the highlight of the conference. Anna Maria “Bambi” Harper will serve as the keynote speaker.

The panels will cover topics and issues such as writing and the crusade against corruption; popular culture and national renewal; regional literatures and nation-building; heritage, history and moral regeneration; and new media, new publishing, renewed nation.

Panelists include Jose Victor Peñaranda, Rene Azurin, Joel Pablo Salud, Raissa Robles, Nicolas Pichay, Floy Quintos, Dennis Marasigan, Clodualdo Del Mundo Jr., Kristian Cordero, Fr. Wilmer Tria, Junley Lazaga, Alex R. Castro, Zola Macarambon, Francis Allan Angelo, Ricardo Soler, Gemma Cruz Araneta, Saul Hofileña Jr., Alejandrino Vicente, Bernardita Churchill, Karina Bolasco, Nida Ramirez, Jun Matias, Carlo Vergara, and Edgar Samar.

Launching of new titles from Ateneo de Naga University Press, University of the Philippines and the University of Santo Tomas Publishing will be part of the program. The books to be launched are: “Time’s Enchantments and Other Reflections: New Poems” by Marne Kilates; “P.I.” and “Cancion kan mga Tawong Lipod/ Songs of the Unseen” by Frank Penones Jr.; “Talab: Mga Sanaysay sa Panitikan, Wika, at Pagtuturo” by Rebecca Añonuevo; “Married Women: Stories” by Maryanne Moll; “Lucid Lightning: Poems and Prose” by Jose Victor Peñaranda; “Boy in the Platinum Palace and Other Stories” by Maria Fres Felix; and the “Philippine PEN Journal,” edited by Herminio Beltran, Jr.

National Artist and PEN Chairman Bienvenido Lumbera and PEN National Secretary Lito B. Zulueta serve as the main convenors.

This conference is supported by the DLSU Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center, DLSU Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, the University of Santo Tomas The Varsitarian, University of the Philippines, Atty. Saul Hofileña, Solidaridad Bookstore, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), PEN International, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), among others.

This event is open to the public. Admission is free. For inquiries, please call PEN at 2541086, email philippinepen@yahoo.com.