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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Monday, September 06, 2004

entry arrow10:41 PM | Shut Up Already About Bad Chick Lit

When my friend the writer Sheryll Tesch was depressed after a terrible break-up, I bought her Summit Books's The Breakup Diaries by Maya O. Calico. That cheered her up.

What I'm really trying to say is: I like Summit Books. They're not for everybody (one acquaintance called the covers "a neon candy attack"), but I like them. They're good reading. Light, yes, but never stupid. The list of writers are impressive, too -- a virtual who's who of today's top fictionists: Tara Sering, Mabi David, Abi Aquino, and Andrea Pasion.

Besides, debates on what's literary or not are always arbitrary. Fun and passionate, of course, and good for dinner conversation ... but should always be taken with a grain of salt.

So, what's the current brouhaha all about? Here's a map of the current literary "controversary" in Philippine literary circles:

First, the Manila Critics Circle gives the Best YA Literature National Book Award to Tara Sering's Almost Married.

Children's literature writer Carla Pacis questions the move, and sends out emails to various literary friends about it. Chick Lit is not literature, she says, and Almost Married is certainly not a YA novel.

Later, Krip Yuson -- who's part of the Manila Critics Circle -- highlights the concern in his column for the Philippine Star. Mae Astrid Tobias declares his "point well taken" is not an answer, and considers Isagani C. Cruz's (another member of the Circle) comments about the award.

An incensed Lilledeshan Bose puts her two cents in, and proclaims Tara the savior of Philippine Literature. And later, this.

Soon the other blogs take over. Here's Paolo Manalo. Here's Juan Miguel Alegre. Here's somebody named Ursula Lear.

Who knows where this thread will lead to?

And then, for another Manila Critics Circle-connected brouhaha, here's a certain Diwata Nakpil on the choice of Angelo Suarez's The Nymph of MTV as National Book Awardee for Poetry.

Me? I'm just glad people -- ordinary people, and not just the literati -- are talking. Maybe Philippine literature is not dead at all.

[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich