Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies

The UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies (CCWLS) is a unit dedicated to furthering UST’s role in the development of a national literature through programs, projects and activities that will both nurture literary writers and literary scholars in the Thomasian Community, and encourage their interaction with other writers and artists in the country.

Administration and Fellows

CRISTINA PANTOJA-HIDALGO, PhD

Director

Fictionist, non-fictionist, critic, scholar, author of more than 35 books, editor of many others

Winner, Gawad Francisco Balagtas for Fiction (UMPIL), the Carlos Palanca Grand Prize for the Novel; and several National Book Awards

RALPH S. GALAN

Assistant Director

Poet, critic, translator, editor

Author: The Southern Cross and Other Poems; Discernments: Literary Essays, Cultural Critiques, and Book Reviews; From the Major Arcana; Sa Pagitan ng Buhay at Iba Pang Salin; et al.

Winner of several national literary awards for poetry

INA ABUAN

Resident Fellow

Bilingual poet, playwright, visual artist

Author: poems published in Lirang Pilak, Lamang, Ilang, Aninaw, and Liwayway Magazine

Co-Author:

AUGUSTO ANTONIO A. AGUILA, PhD

Resident Fellow

Fictionist

Author: The Heart of Need and Other Stories; Carnival of Hate and Other Stories; short stories and literary essays in Fastfood Fiction 2, Esquire Magazine, Philippiniana Sacra, and Leap Plus Magazine

MA. AILIL B. ALVAREZ

Resident Fellow

Poet, essayist, critic

Author: Uncertainties: An Amateur Scholar’s Forays into Criticism; essays in anthologies like Kritik/Critique; papers presented in national and international conferences

JOYCE L. ARRIOLA, PhD

Resident Fellow

History

The UST Center for Creative Writing and Studies ground was established in the First Semester of 1999, with Dr. Ophelia A. Dimalanta as Director, and with offices at the ground floor of St. Raymond’s Building. She subsequently recommended the appointment of the following:

Joselito B. Zulueta – Deputy Director

Erlita Mendoza – Administrative Secretary

Ferdinand B. Lopez – Program Officer

Francisco Sionil Jose – Senior Associate

Cirilo Bautista – Senior Associate

Rebecca Añonuevo – Junior Associate

Mike Coroza – Junior Associate

Ramil Gulle – Junior Associate

Ralph Galan – Junior Associate

The Director reported directly both to the Rector and the Secretary General. From then till 2004, the above-mentioned officers, under Dr. Dimalanta’s leadership conducted annual writers’ workshops, edited the bi-annual literary journal Tomas, held literary forums, and other literary activities.

In 2005, the CCWS was placed under the Office for Research and Development, and the positions of “Senior Associate” and “Junior Associate” were changed to “Senior Consultant-Researcher” and “Junior Associate Researcher,” but its activities remained basically the same.

In the summer of 2008, the CCWS ceased to be operational, and Dr. Dimalanta was named UST Writer-in-Residence.

On June 15, 2012, the new Rector, Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy,O.P., appointed Dr. Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo Director of the UST Center for Creative Writing, and approved the changing of  its name to The UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies.

Mission

The CCWLS’s specific mission is the nurturing of literary writers and literary scholars, who through their work, will contribute to the development of Philippine literature.

Long-Term Objectives

The CCWLS’s long-term objective is the restoration of the literary pre-eminence enjoyed by the University in the ‘50s and the ‘60s through the following:

  • the development of a faculty tradition of excellence in creative writing and literary studies;
  • the strengthening of the creative writing and the literature academic programs to attract more writers and literary scholars;
  • the establishment of linkages with other creative writing centers or institutes in the country and writers’ organizations abroad;
  • the collaboration with the National Book Development Board (NBDB) to interest literary agents in representing Philippine authors, in particular UST-based authors, so that they might be published abroad.

Medium-Term Objectives

  • to serve as a hub for literary activities which will draw other writers (including non-Thomasians) to the CCWL;
  • to take an active role in the revitalization of the M.A. Creative Writing Program and in the establishment of a B.A. Creative Writing Program;
  • to open the annual creative writing workshop and the journal Tomas to non-Thomasian writers, both established and emerging, in order to further enrich the University’s literary culture.

Short-Term Objectives

  • to reorganize the CCWLS by identifying writers among the full-time faculty members who may serve as Resident Fellows and part-time faculty members who may serve as Associates; and to formalize the criteria for the selection of such writers and the bases for their reappointment;
  • to organize the new offices identified by the Office of the Rector for the use of the CCWLS in such a way that they will serve not just as a work place for the CCWLS’ Resident Fellows and Associates, but as a convenient and pleasant meeting place for other UST writers, including student writers;
  • to put in place programs, projects and activities that will harness the talents of  Thomasian writers among faculty, students and alumni as part of the effort to turn the CCWLS  into a literary hub.

Strategies

  • to mount a campaign among groups of students identified as possibly being interested in becoming creative writers (e.g., Literature majors, Journalism majors) in order to create an awareness of the CCWLS and its activities and the University’s Creative Writing programs;
  • to collaborate with student groups or faculty organizations interested in improving their creative writing skills through the holding of short on-campus workshops and/or lectures;
  • to enter into joint projects or activities with colleges or student organizations involved in the arts;
  • to collaborate closely with the UST Publishing House in the development of creative writing works and works of literary scholarship for publication;
  • to create an online presence through a CCWLS website and a CCWLS Facebook account, to be maintained by one of the CCWLS fellows or associates;
  • to mount a media campaign (including through social network sites) that will publicize the revitalization of the Center and create interest in its activities;
  • to attend/participate in literary activities sponsored by creative writing centers or creative writing institutes in other universities (e.g. Likhaan: the UP Institute of Creative Writing, the Bienvenido Santos Creative Writing Center of De La Salle University, the Edilberto and Edith Tiempo Creative Writing Insitute of Silliman University); and to initiate collaborative projects and activities with them;
  • to turn the literary journal Tomas initially into a peer-reviewed journal, and eventually  into an ISI journal.

Vision  

The UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies (CCWLS) is an integral part of the University of Santo Tomas, and committed to furthering the University’s objectives as a globally recognized Catholic institution of higher learning. The CCWLS envisions itself as a center dedicated to the reaffirmation of the university’s important role in the nation’s literary history through the creation of a culture of literary excellence within the Thomasian community, and through the cultivation of an awareness of the University’s rich literary traditions.

Administrator

Dr. Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, Director

Services Offered

The CCWLS serves the Thomasian community and the larger literary community through its various programs, projects and activities.

PROGRAMS/PROJECTS/ACTIVITIES

A.    Programs

1.      The Annual Summer Writers’ Workshop

Although the reorganization of the CCWLS had not yet been formalized, a team formed by myself with the approval of the Dean of Faculty of Arts & Letters held a UST Writers’ Workshop in the summer 0f 2012, with his college as sponsor. It was convened by myself and coordinated by Assoc. Prof. Ralph Galan. The teaching panel was composed of members of the UST faculty whose works have been published as books or produced on stage or for the movies, namely: Asst. Prof. Eros Atalia, Assoc. Prof.  Nerisa Guevara, Mr. Lito Zulueta, and Mr. Joselito de los Reyes.

2.      The Literary Journal Tomas

After the blessing of the new offices on January 22, 2013, the first issue of the revived literary journal Tomas (with myself as editor-in-chief and Assoc. Prof. Ralph Galan as managing editor) was launched January 22. In keeping with the policy of prioritizing the nurturing of Thomasian writers, only contributions by Thomasian writers (faculty, alumni, graduate students) were solicited.

3.     “USTINGAN”

This program consists of informal forums or round table discussions designed to put Thomasian writers and other members of the Thomasian community in contact with writers from outside the University.

4.      Brushes with Words and Chords

This collaborative production, begun by the old CCWS, used to bring together writers, musicians and visual artists.

5.      Book  Launchings

The CCWLS collaborated with the UST Publishing House to organize a book signing for Stella and Other Friendly Ghosts by Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo (UST, 2012) at the Philippine International Book Fair on September 15, 2012.

The CCWLS also collaborated with Philippine PEN and the Varsitarian to launch Poems and Pictures by SEA Write Awardee Marne Kilates (UST, 2012) on September 29, 2012. This event was coordinated by Mr. Joselito Zulueta.

6.      Seminars for Graduating Literature and Journalism Majors

The CCWLS plans to design a seminar for this purpose, but to include the graduating Journalism majors as well, and to involve other writers in the faculty, like Dr. Rebecca Añonuevo, Dr. Michael Corroza, and Dr. Augusto Aguila. The seminar will be held annually, during the Second Semester.

7.      Outreach

This is a continuation of a program begun by the old CCWS, involving sending resident fellows to serve as panelists at the PAMIYABE Creative Writing Workshop of Holy Angels University in Angeles City, Pampanga.

B.     Project

National Symposium on Translation 

The CCWLS, in collaboration with LIRA plans to hold a national symposium on literary translation in September 2013. Plans are yet to be finalized

C.     Activities

1.      Lectures by Visiting Writers/Literary Scholars

The CCWLS collaborated with the Faculty of Arts & Letters, the Third Year AB Literature Class and  Varsitarian in hosting Fil-Am fictionist Sabina Murray, as part of the Filipino-American Writers and Scholars Lecture Series. This took place on February 18, 2013.

2.      Coffee, Tea and We

The CCWLS plans to hold small, short literary during which one young UST writer and one young writer from another university will read from their work, and then participate in an informal exchange with members of invited UST classes or organizations. The exposure/exchange is expected to widen the literary horizons of both readers and audience.

Contact Information

Ground floor, Benavides Bldg.

Telephone No. 406-1611 local 8281.