Two distinguished UP professors were among the 70 international writers who participated in this year’s Sydney Writer’s Festival held in Sydney, Australia on May 19-25.
Award-winning fictionist Prof. Jose Y. Dalisay, Jr. and College of Arts and Letters Associate Dean and poet Prof. Jose Wendell Capili, both from the Department of English and Comparative Literature (DECL) in UP Diliman, joined other Filipino and Fil-Australian writers such as Cesar Leyco Aguila and former UP National Writers Workshop fellow Merlinda Bobis in the annual literary event.
Prof. Dalisay, whose new novel Soledad’s Sister was short-listed for the Man Asia Literary Prize last year, was in a panel with Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Junot Diaz to discuss their award-winning novels. He was also a panelist on the “Spotlight on Asia” event with India-based Canadian novelist David Davidar and Singaporean fictionist Felix Cheong.
Prof. Capili, meanwhile, was at the festival to help launch Salu-Salo: In Conversation with Filipinos - An Anthology of Philippine-Australian Writings, which he edited with John Cheeseman. Published by Casula Powerhouse & Blacktown Arts Centre, the book is the first-ever anthology of Filipino-Australian writing and depicts the contributions of Filipino communities in Australia and addresses the current and past generations’ integration into multicultural Australia.
The book launch was held at the Blacktown Arts Centre on May 24 in conjunction with a panel on the work of Australia-based Filipino playwright Pascal Daantos Berry, which Prof. Capili participated in.
Another book launch was held the following day, this time at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, where Prof. Capili was joined by Filipino and Fil-Australian authors included in the anthology.
Philippine Consul General in Sydney Maria Theresa Lazaro, who hosted a dinner for the Filipino writers, said that the “participation of Dr. Dalisay, Dr. Capili, and the other distinguished Filipino and Filipino-Australian writers is Australia’s recognition of the rich literary and cultural heritage of the Philippines.”
The Sydney Writer’s Festival is now on its 11th year, and is considered the third largest literary event of its kind in the world, attracting some 420 contributors and nearly 90,000 attendees.