Free the Word! Manila: Poetry, Prose and Performances

Featuring: Lourd de Veyra (Philippines), Marjorie Evasco (Philippines), Kurt Alalag (Philippines), Tammy Lai-Ming Ho (Hong Kong), Seno Gumira Ajidarma (Indonesia), Fariq Alfaruqi (Indonesia), Judyth Hill (Mexico), Danson Kahyana (Uganda), Veera Tyhtilä (Finland), Félix Villeneuve (Canada), Yorn Young (Cambodia), Ayi Renaud Dossavi-Alipoeh (Togo), Foluso Adedoyin Agoi (Nigeria), Tomica Bajsić (Croatia), Santiago Villafania (Philippines), Marne Kilates (Philippines), Dessale Berekhet Abraham (Eritrea), Ruperta Bautista (Chiapas, Mexico), Yirgalem Fisseha Mebrahtu (Eritrea), Michelle Yeo (Korea)

Master of Ceremonies: Glenn Sevilla Mas

Brought to you by PEN International, National Book Development Board, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

PEN Public Lectures and Panels

3 October 2019, Thursday, 9:00AM-4:00PM
National Museum of the Philippines (Fine Arts), Padre Burgos Ave., Ermita, Manila
Open to the public, Free Admission, Entrance @ Finance Road Gate
(no pre-registration)

Opening Keynote Address 9:00-9:30 AM, Venue: NM Auditorium
Virgilio Almario, National Artist for Literature, Philippines
Introduction of the Speaker: Marne Kilates

Panels 1 and 2 9:30-11:00 AM

Panel 1 Reconfiguring Resistance in Traditional and Digitized Media
Venue: Osmeña Hall
Chair: Alfred Yuson (PEN Philippines)
Manuel Quezon III (Philippine Daily Inquirer), Glenda Gloria (Rappler Philippines), Pierre Pierson (PEN Nicaragua), Tomica Bajsić (PEN Croatia)

Panel 2 Migrating Languages: From Indigenous to Mainstream
Venue: NM Auditorium
Chair: Hope Yu, Chair (NCCA National Committee on the Literary Arts, Philippines)
Howie Severino (GMA7, Philippines), Noel G. de Leon (Kasingkasing Press, Philippines), Han Zaw (PEN Myanmar), Seno Gumira Ajidarma (Indonesia), Jean Fréderic Brun (PEN Occitan)

Panels 3 and 4 11:00-12:30

Panel 3 Shut Up: The Many Ways of Repression
Venue: Osmeña Hall
Chair: Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo (PEN Philippines)
John Nery (Philippine Daily Inquirer), Pia Ranada (Rappler Philippines), Lucina Kathmann (PEN San Miguel, Mexico/PEN International Vice President), Danson Kahyana (PEN Uganda), Tetyana Teren (PEN Ukraine)

Panel 4 Words Crossing Worlds: Translation/Transliteration
Venue: NM Auditorium
Chair: Dinah Roma (PEN Philippines)
John McGlynn (Lontar Indonesia), Ginny Takemori (Japan), Félix Villeneuve (PEN Québec), Kätlin Kaldmaa (PEN Estonia / PEN International Secretary)

Lunch Break 12:30-1:30PM

Panels 5 and 6 1:30-3:00 PM

Panel 5 Creative Tensions and Art Forces
Venue: Osmeña Hall
Chair: Ricardo De Ungria (PEN Philippines)
Inga Gaile (PEN Latvia), Kiri Dalena (Philippines), Tammy Lai-Ming Ho (PEN HongKong), Bina Sarkar Ellias (International Gallerie, India)

Panel 6 Body Language: Expressions of the Indigenous
Venue: NM Auditorium
Chair: Malou Jacob (PEN Philippines)
Padmapani Perez (Philippines), Ea Torrado (Daloy Dance Company, Philippines), Kristian Cordero (PEN Philippines), Veera Tyhtilä (PEN Finland), Ruperta Bautista (Chiapas, Mexico)

Keynote Addresses 3:00-4:00 PM, NM Auditorium

Eka Kurniawan, Prince Claus Award 2018, Indonesia
Resil Mojares, National Artist for Literature, Philippines
Introduction of the Speakers: Marne Kilates

With gratitude to our Patrons and Partners

National Book Development Board (NBDB) • Hon. Loren Legarda • De La Salle University • National Museum of the Philippines • Cultural Center of the Philippines • University of Santo Tomas and UST Varsitarian • Senator Sonny Angara • Felipe L. Gozon Management & Development Corporation • GMA Network • Atty. Saul Hofileña • Japan Foundation Manila • Logika Concepts Inc. • National Book Committee of Indonesia • PAGCOR • Philippine Soong Ching Ling Foundation • Solidaridad Bookshop • SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) • The Asia Foundation


For the first time since its inception in 1921, PEN International, a worldwide organization of writers that seeks to promote literature and defend freedom of expression will hold its annual Congress in South East Asia. The Philippine Center of International PEN (Philippine PEN) will host this landmark event in Manila from September 30 to October 4, 2019.

Founding Chairman and National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose said, “It is an occasion for us to show writers from different parts of the world our treasures.”

The annual Congress is PEN International’s main meeting where delegates from all over the world gather to decide on key organizational and policy standpoints. The theme for this year’s Congress is “Speaking in Tongues: Literary Freedoms and Indigenous Languages.” It dovetails with the United Nation’s declaration of 2019 as the Year of Indigenous Languages.

Around 200 writers from over 100 countries are expected to arrive in the country to discuss indigenous writing, linguistic diversity and multiculturalism. They will also tackle the threats to freedom of expression posed by hate speech, financial crisis in media, fake news, and repressive regimes.

Keynote speakers are Fernand De Varennes, Special Rapporteur for Minority Issues of the UN, National Artist for Literature Resil Mojares, and famed Indonesian writer Eka Kurniawan. National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario will deliver the Welcome Address for the Public Panels of the Congress. Aside from Jose, Mojares, and Almario, National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera will grace the event. Prominent foreign and local delegates will participate as speakers.

Apart from the main assemblies and meetings to be held at the De La Salle University, there will be several events open to the public. They are: the “Free the Word! Manila: Poetry, Peace, and Performances” to be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines; Speeches and Panel Fora at the National Museum; Artists Congress at DLSU; and Outreach activities at various universities in Manila.

Philippine PEN’s principal government partner in organizing the 85th Congress is the National Book Development Board.

The 98-year-old PEN International is the oldest international literary organization in the world. Aside from promoting literature and defending freedom of expression, it also champions human rights. It is headquartered in London and is currently headed by Mexican-American author Jennifer Clement, the first female President of the organization.

<p class="has-text-align-justify" style="line-height:1.4" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Among PEN International's past presidents are Nobel Prize winners John Galsworthy, Francois Mauriac, Maurice Maeterlinck, Heinrich Boll, and Mario Vargas Llosa. With a membership of 20,000 writers, PEN International has developed a community of writers worldwide through its 150 centers around the globe, among which is the Philippine PEN, founded in 1957.Among PEN International’s past presidents are Nobel Prize winners John Galsworthy, Francois Mauriac, Maurice Maeterlinck, Heinrich Boll, and Mario Vargas Llosa. With a membership of 20,000 writers, PEN International has developed a community of writers worldwide through its 150 centers around the globe, among which is the Philippine PEN, founded in 1957.

Book launch | stories and novella

The Philippine PEN in partnership with Ateneo de Naga University Press will launch “The Last Sacristan Mayor and the Most Expensive Mass for the Dead. Tales from Ticao,” a collection of stories by Tito Genova Valiente and “The Saga of the Fugitive Indio Priest,” a novella by Elmer A. Ordonez, on March 30, Saturday, 5:00PM at the Solidaridad Bookshop, 531 Padre Faura St., Ermita, Manila.

This event is open to the public. Admission is free. For inquiry, please call Solidaridad at (632) 2541086.

World Poetry Day 2019

Take action for Nedim Turfent, imprisoned journalist and poet!

Nedim Türfent, 25 December 2018

News editor, reporter and poet Nedim Türfent is serving an eight years and nine months prison sentence on trumped-up terrorism charges following an unfair trial, during which scores of witnesses said they had been tortured into testifying against him. Prior to his arrest, Nedim Türfent was covering Turkish military operations in southeast Turkey. He spent almost two years in solidarity confinement in harrowing detention conditions. His sentence was upheld on 19 June 2018 and his appeal is pending before Turkey’s Constitutional Court. PEN International believes that Nedim Türfent is being imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

Nedim Türfent started composing poetry while detained. To celebrate World Poetry Day, we encourage PEN Centres to translate the following poem (“Let my heart five life”) into their own language. We will then collate all translations and send him an anthology.

Read translations by PEN Centres and PEN supporters

yeryüzü olmuş yüreğin iksir akıtsın
damarlara toprağa bereket getirsin
Kaf Dağı’nın ardındaki pınarlardan.

toplanan ekinlerin
sadakası dahi
yaşamın gümüşî anahtarı olsun.

deva olsun yüreğin
darda olana
reva olsun.

merhem sürsün
kuşların kırık kanatlarına
göz kulak olsun
imece usulü çalışan karıncalara
fedakar olsun.

cömert olsun yüreğin
kelebeklere yaşayacak fazladan bir gün versin.
yaşam kaynağı olsun
ana rahmi misali.

ve en nihayetinde berrak olsun yüreğin
su renginde.

kuruyanı yeşertsin her daim.

süt emsin güneşin apak memesinden
ve emzirsin ihtiyacı olanı.

yaşamın sihirli iksiriyle
can versin yüreğin
cansız kalana…

“E is for Epal” by Paolo Manalo and “Velocirupture” by Michael Balili

“Epal”, a Filipino slang for an annoying or attention seeking person, is the theme of Manalo’s interval collection of poems in English, Tagalog, and Taglish on realities overheard or overenunciated. His first collection Jolography (2003) received recognition from the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature and the UP Diliman Gawad Chancellor. It will be re-issued in a Retconned edition by UP Press this 2019. Manalo has received fellowships from the UP National Writers Workshop, the Taboan Writers Festival, and the MacDowell Colony. He teaches English, literature, and creative writing at tUP-Diliman.

“Velocirupture” refers to the velocity of rupture, an urgency; the rupture of velocity, a delay. Balili deliberates, surely the everyday asks to be interrupted? In this debut poetry collection, scenes, landscapes, and contrived interventions are illuminated by a flash of lightning. Balili was a fellow of the Ateneo and UP National Writers workshops. His poems have appeared in various anthologies and magazines such as Crowns and Oranges: Works by Young Philippine Poets from Anvil Publishing and the Philippine P.E.N. produced At Home in Unhomeliness: Philippine Postcolonial Poetry in English.

61st Philippine PEN National Congress

Theme: Writing the Nation: The Filipino Writer and Nation-Building
22-23 November 2018 @ Silangan Hall, Cultural Center of the Philippines
Overall Convenors: Lito B. Zulueta, Charlson Ong, Bienvenido Lumbera

Open to the public. Free admission. Registration is onsite. No need for pre-registration.

22 November 2018, Thursday
8:00-9:00 AM Registration

9:00-9:15 AM Opening Ceremonies
National Anthem / In Memoriam / Invocation: Glenn Sevilla Mas
Reading of the PEN Charter: Glenn Sevilla Mas
Welcome Remarks: CCP Official

9:15 AM- 10:00 AM
Philippine PEN Founder’s Address: National Artist F. Sionil José

10:00 AM – 11:30AM
First Literary Session: What is a National Literature
Maria L.M. Fres Felix (Chair), Raniela Barbaza, Ramon Guillermo, Priscilla Macansantos, Soledad Reyes

11:30-1:00 PM Lunch
Hosted by the Cultural Center of the Philippines

1:00-1:45 PM
Keynote Address: Dr. Gemino Abad
Introduction: Marne Kilates

1:45-3:15 PM
Second Literary Session: Writing the Nation in Poetry
Joselito delos Reyes (Chair), Ramil Gulle, Marne Kilates, Junley Lazaga, Raymundo Pandan, Jr.

3:15-4:45 PM
Third Literary Session: Writing the Nation in Fiction
Eros Atalia (Chair), Isidoro Cruz, Noelle Q. de Jesus, Charmaine Lasar, Jose Rey Munsayac

23 November 2018, Friday

9:00-10:45 AM
Fourth Literary Session: Writing the Nation in Drama, Film and the Multi-Arts
Lito Casaje and Charlson Ong (Chairs), Manix Abrera, Pamela Castrillo, Jerry Gracio, Guelan Luarca, Nicolas Pichay

10:45-11:00 AM Break

11:00 AM – 12 NN
The José Rizal Lecture: Hon. Amina Rasul-Bernardo
Introduction: Maimona Wongkay Magayoong

12 NN– 1:30 PM Lunch
Hosted by Philippine Soong Ching Ling Foundation
Reading of the PEN Resolutions

Convenors of the First Day: Santiago Villafania, Frank Peñones
Convenors of the Second Day: Sarge Lacuesta, Hermie Beltran
Secretariat: Shirley Lua, Cesar Quinagan

This event is organized in partnership with the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), and supported by PEN International, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Philippine Soong Ching Ling Foundation, among others.

Our Partners and Patrons
Ms. Flor Marie Sta. Romana Cruz
Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP)
De La Salle University
Far Eastern University
Galerie Joaquin
Ms. Sara Soliven de Guzman
Hon. Loren Legarda, Senate of the Philippines
National Book Development Board (NBDB)
National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA)
PEN International
Philippine Soong Ching Ling Foundation
Solidaridad Bookshop
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)
University of Santo Tomas The Varsitarian