When the heavens above decided to bless me dearly it made sure that I get everything that I want and MORE. I just met an awesome lot of people from FREEWAY’s launch of National Artist Collectors’ Series Fall 2011 Collection honoring the National Artist for Literature F. Sionil José. I just finished reading his book "To the Young Writer and Other Essays" yesterday (signed by the great writer too!) and learned a lot why people adore him and his works. If you don't get the idea, think about this: he's got these books translated in 22 different languages; released internationally. Critically acclaimed by the most discerning book reviewers here and abroad. Take a look at what some of them said here:
"...the foremost Filipino novelist in English... his novels deserve a much wider readership than the Philippines can offer. His major work, the Rosales saga, can be read as an allegory for the Filipino in search of an identity..."
- Ian Buruma, The New York Review of Books
"Sionil José writes English prose with a passion that, at its best moments, transcends the immediate scene. (He) is a masterful short story writer..."
- Christine Chapman, International Herald Tribune, Paris
"...America has no counterpart to José - no one who is simultaneously a prolific novelist, a social and political organizer, and a small scale entrepreneur...José's identity has equipped him to be fully sensitive to the nation's miseries without succumbing, like many of his characters to corruption or despair...
- James Fallows, The Atlantic Monthly
"...The reader of his well crafted stories will learn more about the Philippines, its people and its concerns than from any journalistic account or from a holiday trip there. José's books takes us to the heart of the Filipino mind and soul, to the strengths and weaknesses of its men, women, and culture.
- Lynne Bundesen, Los Angeles Times
That's just the tip of the iceberg! I'm not surprised though that he has been given several international awards and also the National Artist for Literature in 2001. People have also been clamoring for his inclusion in Nobel's Prize for Literature (which I also asked about during the event) and he gamely agrees with them too. He said that the honor would not be for him alone; it was for the country; and the prize at stake wouldn't be a joke either! What initially made me surprised though was the fact that Freeway is going to inspire some of their pieces with his novels. How that is going to work? I'm as clueless as you are but when I saw them there, it was REALLY nice!
Fashion + Literature Icon = Freeway
The intricate details and words printed on the dresses all worked! This is the first time that I saw how they do this; now it makes sense. In fact, there were other pieces there with inspiration from Larry Alcala and other well known Philippine designers. This is how Freeway pay homage to Philippine Icons and sure enough, Francisco Sionil Jose was well worth it!
Lourd Ernest Hanopol de Veyra also an awarded poet in his right also read one of F. Sionil Jose's books from the Rosales Saga.
The Man himself answered questions from the audience! We even ran out of questions! LOL!
Thank you so much to Freeway who continue to recognize and pay homage to our National Artists, you should be proud of what you are doing for the Filipino consumer!