The renowned Silliman University National Writers Workshop is pushing through with its 59th season despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, this time, through online sessions on June 28 to July 9, 2021.
Workshop coordinator, Warlito Caturay Jr., said that the absence of physical interaction between mentors and fellows will not compromise the standards the workshop is known for and upheld for 58 years.
“The works will still be intensely discussed and the writers will still be closely mentored by esteemed writers. This time though on a different platform,” Caturay said.
The workshop has always been scheduled during the summer months; however, with the global pandemic, it had to be postponed.
“The 59th edition of the workshop was originally scheduled in May 2020, but Covid-19 happened, so it had to be moved to a later date,” Caturay explained.
He added that workshop staff had hoped that a face-to-face workshop would be possible in May this year, but Covid-19 continues to be a threat; hence, the staff opted to do an online workshop.
Award-winning writer and educator Timothy Montes will serve as director of the workshop. He will be joined by Richel Dorotan, Ma. Elena Paulma, Charlson Ong, Cesar Aquino, Ester Tapia, Januar Yap, and Marjorie Evasco as panelists, a press release from Silliman said.
This year’s fellows include Frederick Cumagun (Lipa, Batangas), Thomas Leonard Shaw (Cebu City), and Isabel Torres (Kalibo, Aklan) for poetry; Leanne Claire Bellen (Naga City), David Jason Oquendo (General Santos), and Francheska Isabel Guazon (Cebu City) for fiction; Andyleen Feje (Nueva Ecija) and Pietros Val Patricio (Athens, Greece) for creative nonfiction; Beryl Andrea Delicana (Butuan City) for drama; Jovanie Garay (San Isidro, Davao Oriental) and Michael Florentino (Cebu City) for Balak; and Jennifer Ebdani (Calbayog City, Samar) and Hannah Leceña (Saranggani Province) for Sugilanon.
The SUNWW is the longest-running workshop in Asia. It was founded by Edilberto Tiempo and National Artist for Literature Edith Tiempo. It is known not only for its program but also for the competitiveness in its selection of fellows.
Like in previous years, the workshop is supported by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the press release added.*