THE Cultural Center of the Philippines, in partnership with the Philippine Center of International PEN (Poets, Essayists, Novelists), will hold its annual Congress on October 25, 2023, from 9:30am to 6pm, at the Tanghalang Ignacio B. Gimenez (CCP Black Box Theater).
Following the theme “Ang Manunulat sa Mundo (“The Writer in the World”),” the Congress aims to challenge the borders and explore the boundless horizons of the Filipino writers in the present and the future. A series of important forums will discuss the rights and roles of Filipino writers in the context of Artificial Intelligence in the creative community, and in global publishing.
The prestigious Rizal Lecture will be delivered by former PEN Philippines board member Karina Africa Bolasco, whose four decades of work in Philippine publishing have informed the identity and direction of the Filipino as a sovereign writer.
Two forums of the CCP and Philippine PEN Literary Conference will be held at the event. The first forum is entitled “The Filipino Writer and AI”, with Doc Ligot, Clarissa Militante, Joselito D. de los Reyes, and Aimee “Ime” Morales as speakers and will be held at 10:15 AM. The second forum, entitled “The Filipino in the World: Global Publishing”, with Almira Manduriao, Honey de Peralta, and Joel Donato Ching Jacob as speakers will take place at 2:15 PM.
Philippine PEN and Gantala Press are also launching a donation drive to gather books (fiction, poetry, and other literary works), writing materials (pens and notebooks, pencils and sketch pads), and medicines and hygiene products (sanitary napkins) for Filipino women writers who are also political prisoners. Contributions are welcome at the event’s registration table.
Among the 155 women political prisoners in the Philippines are writers Amanda Echanis (a 35-year-old woman detained at the Cagayan Provincial Jail along with her son, to whom she had just given birth at the time of her arrest in 2020), Adora Faye de Vera (a 67-year-old martial law activist who was arrested for the third time in 2022), and Frenchie Mae Cumpio (a 24-year-old young journalist based in Tacloban).
The PEN Congress ends with Free the Word!, a series of readings and performances of Filipino and international poets and performers from PEN Philippines and other PEN Centers across Asia.
PEN Philippines members are invited to attend the Congress. Filipino writers are also invited to apply for PEN membership through https://thephilippinepen.wordpress.com/membership/. New members are welcome to attend the Congress. Children and young audiences are not encouraged to attend.