News and UpdatesIn the NewsSillimanians win top Nick Joaquin literary awards

Sillimanians win top Nick Joaquin literary awards


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Dumaguete-based writer Ian Rosales Casocot won the grand prize for the short story category, while Tagbilaran-based writer F. Jordan Carnice won the Poet of the Year award at the 2023 Nick Joaquin Literary Awards held May 4 in Manila, in time for the birthday of the late National Artist for Literature, after whom the awards is named.

The NJLA is sponsored by Philippines Graphic, and recognizes the best stories and poems published in the literary supplement of the magazine in the past year. This year marks the return of the awards after being suspended for three years because of the pandemic.

Casocot, who won for his short story Ceferina in Apartment 2G, published in the December 2022 issue of the Philippines Graphic Reader, earlier won the Palanca Award for the same story.

It chronicles a day in the life of an elderly mother from Negros, who finds herself struggling to fit into her new life as a U.S. immigrant while living in her son’s Los Angeles apartment.

Carnice won Poet of the Year for his poetry suite, Four Poems for the Future, published in the July 2022 issue of the Philippines Graphic Reader. The poems are about memory, and the hope of reprieve.

Both are graduates of Silliman University’s Creative Writing program, with Casocot earning his master’s in 2012, and Carnice graduating with his BA in 2009.

Both are also members of LitCritters Dumaguete, a writing group founded by Casocot in 2008.

This is the first time that two Sillimanians have won the top prizes at the same time at the NJLA.

The awards, which used to be called the Graphic Literary Awards, was established in 1990 when the magazine, founded in 1927 but closed down during the Martial Law, returned to regular publication under the leadership of Ambassador Antonio Cabangon Chua.

From that restart, it recognized annually the top three contributors of short stories through the Graphic Literary Awards.

The awards was renamed the Nick Joaquin Literary Awards to honor the acclaimed novelist, journalist, dramatist, and poet who served as its longtime literary editor until his death in 2004.

Other winners in this year’s NJLA include the short stories Barcelona is my Name by Criselda Yabes (2nd prize) and Visiting Moth by Richard A. Giye (3rd prize).

The board of judges include acclaimed fictionists Jose Y. Dalisay Jr. and Susan S. Lara, and poet Marra PL Lanot, the magazine’s current literary editor.

Previous Sillimanians who have won the Nick Joaquin Literary Awards include Leoncio Deriada, Carlos Ojeda Aureus, Timothy Montes, Ernesto Superal Yee, Cesar Ruiz Aquino, and Lakambini Sitoy. (Buglas Writers Guild)



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