Lit Day to Remember | Inquirer Lifestyle
Honoring 2010 keynote speaker Gregorio Brillantes

Lit Day to Remember

WHEN temperatures start to rise and calendars breach the year’s first quarter mark, aspiring writers all over the country begin to dream of bright prizes even as they try to beat the steady march of days leading to every summer’s most important date: April 30.

Midnight of April 30 is the annual deadline for the submission of entries to the country’s most prestigious literary competition, the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.

Honoring 2010 keynote speaker Gregorio Brillantes

Last year, the Palanca Awards celebrated a major milestone when it commemorated its 61st year of recognizing the Philippines’ nascent literary talents. It was a remarkable year, even boasting of the Palanca Awards’ youngest winner ever –12-year-old Anton Cabalza, who won second prize in the Kabataan Essay in English. It also featured a Kabataan Essay in English first prize winner – Miro Frances Capili – who also topped the Essay in English category.

The Palanca Awards are anything but predictable. And they remain the definitive recognition in Philippine letters, a rite of passage as well as a yearly competition for Filipinos aspiring to become authors and writers. The annual September 1 awards ceremony is a red letter day for writers who, last year, heard words of wisdom from venerable keynote speaker Gregorio Brillantes.

Palance now welcomes entries to the following categories in the English division: Short Story, Short Story for Children, Essay, Poetry, and Poetry for Children, One-Act Play, Full-length Play, Novel, and Kabataan Essay. In the Filipino division, prizes are available in these categories: Maikling Kuwento, Maikling Kuwentong Pambata, Sanaysay, Tula, Tulang Pambata, Dulang May Isang Yugto, Dulang Ganap ang Haba, Dulang Pampelikula, Nobela, and Kabataan Sanaysay. The Short Story category also features prizes in Iluko, Hiligaynon and Cebuano. Three prizes are available for each category, except for the Novel/Nobela category, which has a sole winner. The cash prizes range from P8,000 to P40,000.

Short stories need to be at least 10 pages long, but not more than 25 pages. Short stories for Children must be 10 pages at most and appropriate for children aged 7-12. Essays must be at 10-25 pages. Poetry entries require a set of 10-15 poems while Poetry for Children needs 10-15 poems for children aged 7-12. The One-Act Play must run an estimated 45 minutes. The Dulang Pampelikula requires a screenplay for a film that will run approximately for two hours. The Novel/Nobela category is open this year – it runs every three years. The Kabataan Essay/Sanaysay is open to contestants aged 18 and below: this year’s Kabataan Essay/Sanaysay must deal with the theme: What is the most valuable lesson I learned from the Internet?” and “Ano ang pinakamahalagang aral ang aking natutunan mula sa Internet?”

Each contestant may only submit one entry per category. Each entry also requires a fully accomplished official entry form as well as a notarized authorization form, both of which are available from the Palanca Awards website. The website also features a clock counting down to the deadline which is 12 midnight, April 30, 2011. Contestants can submit entries via the Palanca Awards website, through the mail (which must be postmarked April 30, 2011 at the latest) or at the Carlos Palanca Foundation, Inc. at 6th floor, One World Square Building, 10 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Hill Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, 1634 Taguig City.

Celebrate the Filipino imagination and our long, storied tradition in creative writing. Join the Philippines’ legion of literary titans. Join the 61st Palanca Awards. •

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