The UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies (CCWLS) Director, Professor Emeritus Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, Ph.D., was awarded the Southeast Asian Writers (S.E.A.Write) Lifetime Achievement Award on August 10, 2023.
The award is presented annually, since 1979, to selected Southeast Asian writers, generally for lifetime achievement, but sometimes also for a specific work. The awards ceremony is always held in Bangkok, with a member of the Thai Royal Family presiding. Awardees receive a S.E.A. Write Recognition Plaque and a S.E.A.Write Honorarium.
This year, the award presentation ceremony and gala dinner was held in Bangkok’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. To be honored are awardees for 2019, 2020 and 2021. There were no award ceremonies during those years, due to the pandemic.
Hidalgo is one of the country’s most distinguished writers. She is a writer of fiction and nonfiction, a critic and a literary scholar, having published more than 40 books, including 3 novels, 5 short story collections, 4 books of literary criticism, and numerous nonfiction collections. She has received the Carlos Palanca Grand Prize for the Novel, and several National Book Awards (given by the Manila Critics Circle and the National Book Development Board). She has also received lifetime achievement awards, like the Dangal ng Lahi Award from the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, and the Gawad Balagtas from Unyong ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL). Her latest books are What I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up: Early Apprenticeship of a Writer (UP Press, 2021) and Collected Stories and Tales (USTPH, 2019). Another volume of memoirs is forthcoming.
Aside from heading the UST CCWLS, Hidalgo is Graduate Lecturer IV at the UST Graduate School, teaching Creative Writing and Literature courses. She is also Professor Emeritus of the University of the Philippines Diliman, where she also teaches graduate courses.
In her extraordinary career, which spans decades, Hidalgo has served as Director of the UST Publishing House, Director of the UP Press, Director of the UP Institute of Creative Writing, and UP Vice President for Public Affairs. She has lived and worked as a writer, editor and teacher in Bangkok, Beirut, Seoul, Yangon (formerly Rangoon), New York City, and, Manila.