“Writing is the power on what you create with words.”
These were the words of Kota Yamada, CEO and founder of Yamada Publishing and Cebu-based author of poetry books Lost Hearts and It Was Rather Short-Lived. Yamada reminds everyone how literature is a force that drives people to explore possibilities, maximize creativity, and eventually, improve ourselves.
One of the most well-known bookstores in the country, National Bookstore, celebrated love for reading and writing in the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival (PRWF) 2017 last August 25 to 27 at Raffles, Makati. Despite the inclement weather brought by Typhoon Jolina, adamant book-lovers headed to the five-star hotel for an exuberant celebration of literature.
The event brought together key personalities from the writing and publishing industry for a series of insightful talks on a variety of topics, from Nick Joaquin’s literary legacy, to in-depth book discussions with international authors Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves and The Familiar series) and Pierce Brown (Red Rising series).
Perhaps the most relevant for Benildeans was the panel discussion of Joselina Cruz, current curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), with Elaine Ng, publisher of the ArtAsiaPacific magazine, about the essence of art writing and art criticism.
“For any critic the criteria [for a good work] is never about the price. It is about the work: the integrity of the work, or the context where the work exists,” Cruz said.
This was affirmed by the MCAD Deputy Director Chris Green, who, in an exclusive interview with The Benildean, said “Rather than the quality of an individual artwork, we look at the thematic of the exhibitions…what the artist is trying to say.”
In addition, seminars from Anvil Publishing, Rogue Magazine, and even Filipino rapper Gloc-9, taught avid writers how to create fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, as well as writing for film, art, and food. Adarna House Publishing, Anvil Publishing, and The Young Star (among others), talked about writing for children and digital natives, as well as the writing trends in the content creation for millennials on social media and LGBT communities.
On a more personal level, Ateneo De Manila Publishing and University of Sto. Tomas Publishing emphasized the vitality of a writer’s role in terms of translating themselves and their experiences into their work.
This year’s PRWF celebrated reading and writing and reinforced the value of these crafts as two of the most powerful tools for change in today’s times. The annual festivities also served as the perfect avenue to shed light on the underrated local literature industry.
Next year’s PRWF is surely an event for bookworms and book enthusiasts alike. But for the meantime, as PRWF 2017 suggests, go read and write.
Photos by Sace Natividad