A CEBUANA writer and literary scholar was named as one of the 2020 Gawad Balagtas awardees by the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (Umpil), or the Writers Union of the Philippines.
Dr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu, director of the University of San Carlos-Cebuano Studies Center, was named recipient of the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas—a lifetime achievement award for a Filipino writer—for her works in fiction, essay and translation in Cebuano.
Yu is an active member of Bathalan-ong Halad sa Dagang (Bathalad) Cebu and Women in Literary Arts in Cebu City. During Bathalad Cebu’s golden jubilee convention in February 2019, the organization gave a special award to Yu for her undying support to Cebuano Literature and championing local writers.
The other Gawad Balagtas awardees are Fray Paolo Diosdado Casurao (play in Waray), Crisanta Nelmida Flores (literary criticism in Filipino), Eric Gamalinda (poetry and fiction in English), Marra Pl. Lanot (poetry and essay in English), Priscelina Legasto (literary criticism in English), Glenn Sevilla Mas (play in English), Jose Javier Reyes (screenplay), Augie Rivera (children’s literature in Filipino) and Aida Santos (poetry in Filipino).
The 2020 Gawad Paz Marquez Benitez awardee is Lourdes H. Vidal. The Gawad Paz Marquez Benitez is a lifetime achievement award for Filipino teachers of literature and creative writing.
The awarding ceremony was supposed to happen on April 25, 2020, serving as the highlight of the annual national congress of Umpil scheduled every last Saturday of the National Literature Month in April. However, the congress was postponed indefinitely because of the declaration of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease 2019. The schedule and the venue of the awarding will be announced later.
Umpil launched the Gawad Balagtas in 1988. The award consists of a citation diploma accompanied by a pen and ink print by Pen Prestado, and a sculpted hardwood trophy by world-renowned Filipino artist Manuel Baldemor.
Umpil’s executive board is composed of Michael Coroza as chairman, Susan Lara as vice chairperson, John Iremil Teodoro as secretary general, Louie Jon Sanchez as treasurer and Aldrin Pentero as auditor; Romulo Baquiran Jr., Karina Bolasco, Celina Cristobal, Marne Kilates, Joey Tabula and John Enrico Torralba as members; and John Bengan, Dulce Maria Deriada, Grace Chong, Joaquin Sy and Ariel Tabag as sectoral representatives.