The UST Publishing House recently announced the release of three new titles by veteran writers, all based in the Visayas or Mindanao: Tita Lacambra Ayala, Merlie M. Alunan, and Antonio Enriquez.

Tita Lacambra-Ayala received a B.S.E. from the University of the Philippines Diliman but moved to Tagum (then Davao del Norte) with her husband and fellow-writer, the late Jose Ayala. “Talamundi” presents the poet’s collected poems, edited by another distinguished poet and Davao’s adopted son, Ricardo M. de Ungria, who provides an indispensable critical introduction and “guide” to what he calls her “poetic terrain.” It is a handsome volume, divided into “suites, in honor of our mutual love for music of all kinds, especially classical and jazz.” Readers who have always admired her work will be pleased to have all her poems in one volume. Readers who will encounter the poems for the first time could well find themselves in the company of a contemporary. As de Ungria notes, “she is probably the first writer… to bring to everyone’s attention the inordinate demands art makes on a woman writer swamped with familial obligations.” Lacambra-Ayala is an active member of the Davao Writers Guild, and the mother of 6 children including Joey Ayala and Cynthia Alexander.

Merlie M. Alunan, who has had an illustrious teaching career, and has been published widely both nationally and internationally, stunned everyone by winning a Palanca first prize for poetry 2010, at the age when many other writers are content to rest on their laurels. This collection includes her winning suite of poems. Gemino H. Abad describes this collection as “of first-rate importance as to requisite mastery of the poetic medium… where the poem is the very living of the imagined experience. Alunan lives in Tacloban, and is Professor Emeritus of UP Visayas.

Antonio Enriquez’s novel transports the reader to a Zamboanga City in the grip of  military dictatorship, and follows its heroic protagonist’s struggle in a nation nearly paralyzed by terror. It is a historical novel which borrows the mode of the mystery novel. The much-awarded novelist was born in Zamboanga City, and has served as teacher and writer-in-residence in several universities in Mindanao. Presently, he lives in Cagayan de Oro City with his wife Joy, son and grandson. His novel was launched by Ateneo de Zamboanga University.

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 22, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    I think I will try Antonio Enriquez’s book, the story sound really captivating. Is it possible to find it in stores like National Bookstore ?

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