Friday, February 09, 2007

palanca season

Yup, it's officially Palanca season again (seems like it was just a short while back, doesn't it?). The Carlos Palanca Foundation has announced that they are open to submissions in the usual categories for the 57th Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature (check out this site) - with the exception of two discountinued categories: Futuristic Fiction and Teleplay.

I tried to persuade the Powers-That-Be to change the Futuristic Fiction category to Speculative Fiction, but no go. It made sense to me, of course, to create something to encourage the writing of the type of fiction I like to read, but ultimately what has happened is a good thing. It forces speculative fiction to compete in the regular Short Story category, with the literature of the fantastic standing toe-to-toe against the entrenched Filipino realism. If a spec fic story, with all its attendant non-realist trappings is well-written, it can win. The competition is tough - last year's 1st and 2nd prizewinners in Short Story in English were taken up by the LitCritters recently ("Mahogany Water" by Socorro Villanueva and "Sink or Swim" by Myrza Sison) and they were simply astounding) - but I think with the growing number of skilled authors writing fantasy, science fiction and horror (and the other so-called "genres"), we will soon bag the prize. Fututistic Fiction always seemed quite myopic to me, with the scenario of a future Philippines rammed down our throats. But still, the collector in me is happy to have won at least one prize in the now-defunct category. So while there is a definite sense of "sayang naman", it is outweighed by the prospect of the open competition, story versus story, and we'll see how soon we can change the judges' reading tastes (haha).

The following categories are open: Short Story, Short Story for Children, Essay, Poetry, One-act Play, and Full-length Play in Filipino and English divisions; Screenplay in Filipino division; and Short Story in Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Iluko regional languages.

I encourage everyone to compete. Competition is good. For me, it is the equivalent of a sports tournament - an opportunity to flex my writing muscles. Unlike sports, where the onset of age has impact on the athelete's physicality, in writing time is an ally.

Entries for the literary competition may be submitted in person, or sent by mail or courier service to Carlos Palanca Foundation, 6th Floor, CPJ Building., 105 C. Palanca Jr. St., Legaspi Village, Makati City. Entries may also be submitted through e-mail in Rich Text Format or in Microsoft Word Document as an attachment, together with the author’s resume, official entry form and original copy of the notarized authorization form.Complete contest rules and official entry forms may be obtained from the Carlos Palanca Foundation office or via e-mail to or For inquiries, go and call 818-3681, local 31.

Crack those knuckles and get writing.

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