Poet Dr. Anthony Tan, Ph.D, and playwright Dr. Steven Patrick C. Fernandez, DFA, professors of the Dept. of English, College of Arts and Social Sciences, addressed distinguished writers from the Philippines and 5 continents in the recent 2010 PEN (Poets and Playwrights, Essayists, Novelists) conference. Theme of the conference was “Solidarity in Literature without Borders.”

Both acclaimed writers, Tan read about his novel-in-progress (“Work in Progress: The Riddler of Muddas”) and Fernandez discussed the current state of Mindanao Writing (“Living Our Myths”).

The PEN, arguably the world’s most prestigious organization of writers, is represented here by the Philippine Center of the International PEN, convenor of the event. National Artist F. Sionil Jose founded the center in 1958, which organization is today chaired by another National Artist, Bienvenido Lumbera.

Notable writers from the Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa joined their Philippine colleagues in the conference held December 3 and 4, 2010 at the Montebello Resort in Banilad, Cebu City.

The roster of Filipino speakers and guests reads like a Who’s Who in Philippine Letters. Simeon Dumdum (who delivered the keynote address), Resil Mojares (who delivered the Rizal lecture), 2010 SEA Write Awardee Marjorie Evasco, Charlson Ong, Elmer Ordonez, Jaime An Lim, Herminio Beltran Jr., publisher Karina Bolasco, Alice Sun-Cua, Vicente Groyon, Susan Lara, Merlie Alunan, Aida River-Ford, and Lumbera, among many other “droppable” names, joined equally distinguished writers from abroad.

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