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Filipino author wins Asian book prize

Jubilation fills my heart. I just read this news. Chuck Syjuco was in my creative writing classes many moons ago. He just returned from Canada, came from a well-off clan, wanted to know about writing -- and about his country. I fed him books, which he read ravenously, and workshopped his stories over and over and over again.

Now he is on the brink of a global writing career. Hooray!!!


Agence France-Presse
First Posted 11:32:00 11/14/2008

HONG KONG -- A novel by Filipino author Miguel Syjuco, which touches on 150 years of often turbulent Philippines history, has won a major Asian literary prize, organizers said.

Syjuco's "Ilustrado" was awarded the second annual Man Asian Literary Prize, which is open to novels from the region not yet published in English.

"Ilustrado seems to us to possess formal ambition, linguistic inventiveness and socio-political insight in the most satisfying measure," the panel of three judges said in a statement, after awarding the $10,000 prize Thursday.

"Brilliantly conceived, and stylishly executed, it covers a large and tumultuous historical period with seemingly effortless skill. It is also ceaselessly entertaining, frequently raunchy, and effervescent with humor."

The story is a fictional account of a young Filipino investigating the life of his mentor Crispin Salvador, a real-life writer and thinker, after the man's death.

It examines the disappearance of Salvador's manuscript about the corruption behind rich Filipino families.

Syjuco beat off competition from fellow Filipino Alfred A. Yuson for "The Music Child," Indian writers Kavery Nambisan for "The Story that Must Not be Told" and Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi for "The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay."

Chinese writer Yu Hua was also shortlisted for "Brothers."

The panel said the shortlist of five novels had shown the "great vitality" of the novel in a region "undergoing hectic and unexpected transformations."

Last year's inaugural prize was won by Chinese author Jiang Rong for his novel "Wolf Totem," which has since been published by Penguin.

The prize is backed by the company that sponsors the prestigious Booker prize, based in Britain.


Lemmy said…
wow! hooray to the Filipino writers!

i hope i will be able to read that Ilustrado novel, soon..

Hi Danton, you're so my idol... i actually began admiring you after reading your Ladlad, anthology of gay writing... that was the first gaywriting book i read..truly amazing..hehehe..

by the way, some of your books are hard to find in some of the prominent bookstores here in davao...
Wow just wow!


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