Rica Bolipata-Santos wins Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award 2007

by Arvin Abejo Mangohig

Rica Bolipata-Santos’ Love, Desire, Children, Etc.: Reflections of a Young Wife won this year’s Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award. Published in 2005 by Milflores Publishing, Inc., the book is a collection of essays which Dr. Neil Garcia praised for its “candor, grace and humor.”

At ceremonies held at the UP Diliman Bulwagang Rizal last December 8, Garcia announced the winner, who was congratulated by UP ICW Director Vim Nadera and Atty. Gizela Gonzalez-Montinola. Bolipata-Santos received a P50,000 check and certificate. She delivered a short acceptance speech as her children rejoiced at her success, her youngest son joining her onstage and bowing like a performer, further endearing them to the audience. She described herself as a “closet writer,” talked about the sheer joy of writing as her hand moves across the page, and described her delight when Antonio Hidalgo of Milflores said he was extremely interested in publishing Love.

The award is the only such prize that recognizes literary debuts of Filipino writers and was established in memory of Gonzalo Gonzalez. Previous winners are Elena Sicat, Luna Sicat-Cleto, F.H. Batacan, Sarg Lacuesta, Vince Groyon and Kristian Cordero. This year’s panel of judges was composed of Garcia, Jaime An-Lim and previous winner Vince Groyon.

Below is the transcript from Garcia’s presentation of the winner:

The sixth finalist and this year’s winner of the coveted Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award is…

Love, Desire, Children, Etc.: Reflections of a Young Wife by Rica Bolipata-Santos. Published in 2005 by Milflores Publishing, Inc., Bolipata-Santos’s first book is a rewarding collection of thirteen thematically unified essays that addresses with uncommon candor, grace, and humor some of life’s more mundane realities and mysteries: love and desire, marriage and children, family and friends, teaching and writing. The author treads the uneven terrain of the quotidian with an open compass, unafraid to confront and scrutinize even her own intimate fears and insecurities and confusions. Again and again, in these luminous little personal narratives, what triumphs is a clear-eyed self-understanding, which is utterly convincing because it is earned at the cost of so much soul-searching and inner struggle. In these provocative and well-shaped essays, Bolipata-Santos (following the words of Peter Walsh from Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway ) has taken hold of fragments of her public and private life and turned them round, slowly, in the light, to discover designs that are finally comprehensible, startling, consoling, and wise.

A deeply celebratory book worthy of the Madrigal-Gonzales Best First Book Award.

Congratulations to all author-finalists, and congratulations to our winner, Rica Bolipata-Santos.

via panitikan.com.ph

Posted on December 14, 2007