On November 28, 2023, writer and human rights activist Ninotchka Rosca talked about social realist fiction and the writers’ mission in the Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies (CCWLS) International Author and Scholar lecture series held at the Civil Law auditorium.
Writers in time of a crumbling society
Rosca stated that FilIpinos yearn for completeness that can be found elsewhere and ignores the reality of a system that is specific to resistance and the realities of revolution. She prescribes what the writers should do in times of crisis where society is pulled in various directions due to divisiveness. “We should document the narrative of our times because time with a capital “T” is almost always the major character of any work of fiction. Second, we must try weave a cohesive narrative from all the [threads] of our histories, noting man to all the changes that there is still that great national ‘I am’ that cannot be eradicated. Third, we must resist the constant push for writers to dream upon idealized alternative [world] like Wakanda,” she said, highlighting that we must not turn away and replace our reality with fantasy.
“Our prime responsibility and our prime mission is to inspire these generation, and the next generation to believe that another world is possible,” Rosca said.
Between solitude and mobilization
According to Rosca, to be a writer and an activist is a huge contradiction, a tug-of-war between solitude and mobilization. “Writing is solitary ,and you do not write with committees. You sit at your desk and write,” she said. “Activism is socialized undertaking. You have to be with people, you have to move people, you have to mobilize,” she added.
Rosca is the author of “State of War”, “Sugar and Salt”, and “Stories of a Bitter Country”.