by Emmanuel ‘Doods’ Tecson
Edward P. Jones, Pulitzer-prize winning short story writer and novelist, visited Dumaguete City last November 13-14 as part of a literary tour sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Embassy of the U.S.A. in Manila, National Book Store Philippines, and the National Book Development Board of the Philippines.
Jones won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in fiction for his historical novel “The Known World” which plays in a fictional county in Virginia and examines issues regarding black slaves being owned by rich white and black people with strong characters in an enormous intense canvas.
He was visiting the Philippines from November 9 – 19, 2011. Dumaguete being the city host of the annual National Writer’s workshop in May, the City of Gentle People was the only Philippine city outside of Manila he visited. He was here to share his writing insights with the local literary community, i.e., at Silliman University (SU).
On the first day of his Dumaguete visit, Edward P. Jones was able to have a roundtable dialogue with 23 of the majors and faculty of the English and Literature Department of Silliman University. Afterwards, he was interviewed on cam for a local TV show and on audio for a local newspaper. Ending his first night in Dumaguete, Jones ate dinner with guests including Ian Rosales Casocot, a palanca award-winning fiction writer, and ,also, a female Creative Writing scholar from India. The dinner, which was hosted by the University President Dr. Ben S, Malayang III, was held at the Silliman University President’s House.
His second day in Dumaguete started with an press conference interview in the morning at the American section of the SU library by representatives of various local media groups: Reno Tallada of ABS-CBN, Iphraim Cabristante of DYSR-FM, Choy Gallarde of Sky Cable, Melissa Pal and Kirk Roncesvalles of The Weekly Sillimanian, and university writers Alana Narciso, Philip van Peel, L.F. Partosa, Jennifer Solitana, and Myla June Patron. He was then transported to the SU Writer’s Village on Mount Talinis for an inter-reading between a few number (approximately twenty and so) of the Dumaguete writing community, where a vibrant, inspiring and informative discussion came to transpire. At the end of the day, Jones was given a Certificate of Appreciation signed by the University president.
Pulitzer Prize winner Edward P. Jones was a big inspiration for the local creative writer community and the organizer of the National Writer’s Workshop next May in Dumaguete.