Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Manila Critics Circle

(Source: Souvenir Program for the 27th NBA)

Founded in 1981, the Manila Critics Circle is a non-profit, non-stock organization of professional literary critics and newspaper columnists who believe that Philippine books deserve much more attention than they usually get from business, media, and the general public.

Aside from giving the National Book Awards annually, the Circle has held an ASEAN-wide literary contest (in cooperation with Filipinas Foundation), participated in the nomination process for National Artist awards, joined National Book Week exhibits, prepared various position papers on literary publishing, and sat in the National Book Development Board.

Members have done reviews for national and international periodicals, such as ASEAN Theater Journal, Asiaweek, BizNews Asia, Bulawan, Diyaryo Filipino, Filipinas, Filipino Magazin (Filmag), Independent, Journal of Asian Studies, Kinaadman, Manila Chronicle, The Manila Times, Metro Magazine, National Book Review, Philippine Daily Globe, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Graphic, Philippine Journal of Education, Philippine Panorama, Philippine Star, Philippine Studies, Sun Star Weekend, Unitas, and World Literature Today, and for television shows such as Mabuhay: This is Your Wake-up Call.

The Circle received an Award of Recognition from the National Book Development Board in 2004, for its “outstanding dedication and contribution towards the promotion of excellence in the book publishing industry in the Philippines.”

Members of the Manila Critics Circle
Membership in the Circle is strictly by invitation; a unanimous vote is required before anyone is invited to become a member. Current members are: National Artist Virgilio S. Almario, Juaniyo Arcellana, Cirilo F. Bautista, Fr. Miguel A. Bernad, S.J., Isagani R. Cruz, Ruel S. De Vera, Ophelia Alcantara Dimalanta (Chair), Resil B. Mojares, Danton R. Remoto, Soledad S. Reyes, and Alfred A. Yuson. Roger J. Bresnahan, meanwhile, is an honorary member of the MCC.

Former members include Leonidas V. Benesa (died 1984), Doreen G. Fernandez (died 2002), Alfredo Navarro Salanga (died 1988), Arlene Babst-Vokey and Alice Guillermo.

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