Now on its ninth edition, the Philippine International Literary Festival convenes some of the country's award-winning writers and publishers for a two-day event that promotes local literature and arts. This free-for-all fest is happening from April 19 to 20 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. We repeat: It's free for all!


Listen to some words of wisdom from award-winning writer Ricky Lee

April 19, 8 a.m.; Main Theater Lobby

Award-winning Ricky Lee has written more than 160 scripts since he started in 1973. This includes landmark films like Himala (1982), Karnal (1983), and The Flor Contemplacion Story (1995). He has also dabbled in other genres such as musicals (Himala, Binondo) and novels (Para Kay B, Si Amapola sa 65 na Kabanata). Learn how this prolific writer keeps the fire burning during the opening of the Philippine International Literary Festival with a keynote speech.

Meet the Fil-Am author of America Is Not the Heart dubbed as "the next big thing" by Paris Review

April 19, 1:10 p.m. to 2:25 p.m.; Main Theater Lobby

Elaine Castillo, writer of recently published America Is Not the Heart: A Novel, identifies herself as a Filipina-American. She was born in the San Francisco Bay Area to immigrant parents and currently lives in southeast London. She joins writers Glenn Diaz and Kristine Ong in a talk titled Fiction, Displacement, and Everything in Between where they try to discuss the manifestations of moving from one place to another in their writings.


Watch local films for free

Catch Hinulid (The Sorrows of Sita), written and directed by Kristian Sendon Cordero, on April 19 and Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa, written and directed by Alvin Yapan, on April 20, both at 2 p.m. at the Dream Theater; and Ang Larawan, directed by Loy Arcenas and written by Rolando Tinio, on April 19 and Respeto, directed by Alberto Monteras II, on April 20, both at 2 p.m. at the Little Theater.

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Play board games...based on Filipino myths

April 19 to 20, Little Theater Lobby

Move over, Dungeons and Dragons! Try out tabletop role-playing games like Tadhana, which pulls inspirations from Filipino epics and folklore and Itras By, where you ward off manananggal and tikbalang. There's also a two-player card game called TALA Offline, which is from the Filipino series Janus Silang by Edgar Calabia Samar; and Talinghaga, a word game based on the ancient Filipino writing system.


Learn how to be a spoken-word artist

April 20, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Little Theater

Performance poets Neil John Luna, John Verlin Santos, Kid Leviste, and Roy Rene Cagalingan facilitate a hands-on workshop on spoken-word poetry.

Discover how you can publish your own books (or land book deals!)

Writers Cindy Dela Cruz, Porcupine Strongwill, and Al Joseph Lumen give the low-down on editing, formatting, funding, and marketing your own books. Their talk, Indie Publishing the Write Way, is on April 20, 9 a.m. at Tanghalang Huseng Batute. Alternatively, you can also learn how to publish your work in the U.S. from writers Rin Chupeco, Isabelle Adrid, Gail Villanueva, Kara Bodegon, and Hazel Ureta. Finding Agents and Landing Book Deals in U.S. Traditional Publishing is on April 19, 2:30 p.m. at Bulwaganang Pambansang Alagad ng Sining.

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Fulfill your dreams of becoming a writer for TV or theater

Playwrights Liza Magtoto, Carlo Vergara, Layeta Bucoy, and Rody Vera shares a thing or two through the panel discussion titled From Page to Stage to Page: Writing, Editing, and Publishing Plays on April 19, 1:10 p.m. at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute. ABS-CBN Creative Manager Danno Kristoper Mariquit and Teleserye writer En Villasis give a talk on Textserye, Screenwriting, and Adaptations on April 20, 2:50 p.m. also at Tanghalang Huseng Batute.


Browse through newly published Filipino books

Books from Philippine publishers and independent press are on display at the Little Theater Lobby from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on both days. Ateneo de Naga University is also presenting 75 new titles on April 19, 6:45 p.m. at the Main Theater Lobby.

Geek out on Philippine comics and graphic novels

April 20, 10:20 a.m.; Dream Theater

Elbert Or reveals the potential of graphic novels as a relevant storytelling medium of our times through Navigating the Power of Narrative in Comics.

Take a break and immerse yourself in the creative world for two days

The usual 9-to-6 can be a bit draining. If you're lucky enough to still have vacation leaves, why not spend it at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and reignite your passion for creative writing through the Philippine International Literary Festival or even for visual arts through the many exhibition spaces in the building?

The 9th Philippine International Literary Festival is from April 19 to 20 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. For more information, visit National Book Development Board's website.


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* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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