For the 38th National Book Awards, four books by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House authors were named ‘Best Book.’ The winning works were announced on November 4, 2019 through the Facebook page of the National Book Development Board. 

Awarded were: Best Book of Nonfiction Prose in Filipino, Best Book in the Social Sciences, Best Book of Poetry in Filipino, and Best Book of Poetry in English. 

For Best Book of Nonfiction Prose in Filipino, awarded was “Finding Teo: Tula/Talambuhay” by Asst. Prof. Joselito D. delos Reyes, Ph.D., Delos Reyes, an award-winning writer and poet, is currently the Creative Writing program coordinator of the Faculty of Arts and Letters.

The book is a humorous biography of Teo T. Antonio, an award-winning poet in Filipino who studied Fine Arts at the University of Santo Tomas. The primary objective of delos Reyes’s book is to introduce the poet to the reading public, particularly to the younger ones, by writing a biography of the poet using the popular language and approach that have  made delos Reyes a widely read and followed social media personality.  

The Best Book of Poetry in Filipino, “Walang Iisang Salita,” was authored by Paul Alcoseba Castillo, who won a Palanca for Poetry in 2018 for his work “Luna’t Lunas.”

 

  Walang Iisang Salita,” is a collection of Castillo’s 41 poems. It revolves around the idea of playing with the idea of the Filipino idiom “napakong pangako” to reveal that everyone has the capacity for violence against one another through words, as well as the capacity to violate their own language.

Awarded Best Book of Poetry in English was “Drift” by Joel H. Vega. 

Vega has worked as a political and financial journalist in the Philippines and Saudi Arabia. He won the Carlos Palanca Memorial Literary Awards in 2010 for Poetry and in 2016, First Prize for the Essay.  A visual artist, he has exhibited in Manila and in the Netherlands, and in various group shows held at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague and Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven. Vega lives in the Netherlands where he works as medical writer and editor. Drift is his first poetry collection. The book has 55 poems.  

The Best Book in the Social Sciences was awarded to “Muni: Paglalayag sa Pamimilosopiyang Filipino” written by UST Department of Philosophy Chair Assoc. Prof. Jovito V. Cariño, Ph.D.   This book is a flight not only towards a philosophy written in Filipino, but more importantly towards a “Filipino philosophy,” through which, with the help of local and foreign philosophers, Cariño speculates on the question of Filipino-ness: the migrant experience, architecture and globalization, the conceptualization of freedom, and the dawdling yet always determined search for “being Filipino.”

Held annually by the Manila Critics Circle (MCC) and the National Book Development Board (NBDB), the National Book Awards recognize the best of the previous year’s locally published books.

Cash prizes and trophies will be awarded to the authors of the winning works in ceremonies that will be held on November 23 at the National Museum in Manila.