Miguel Syjuco Writing Workshop

Article by Kylie Cyhn

“I have to believe that literature can effect change; otherwise, I would have no purpose in my life and would have wasted four years on Ilustrado.– Miguel Syjuco

Miguel Syjuco, the author of the hugely respected novel Ilustrado  is the recipient of two well-known awards, especially in the Philippines, where he won the Man Asian Literary Prize, and Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Novel in English. According to a review by The New York Times, “Ilustrado is being presented as a tracing of 150 years of Philippine history, but it’s considerably more than that. Spiced with surprises and leavened with uproariously funny moments, it is punctuated with serious philosophical musings.” Fortunately, ISM has a chance to host Miguel Syjuco annually, with a Q&A and a writing workshop to inspire students who are captivated and curious about the ways to harness the power obtained from words, which Miguel Syjuco manages to do quite effectively and skillfully.

This Monday from 3 to 4:30, ISM will get a chance to attend a workshop held by Miguel Syjuco in the Little Theater, open to any students. It is expected that he is to read his most recent commentary from the New York Times, weighing upon the role of journalism, and the coverage of Filipino media in terms of the behind-the-scenes, unauthorized killings under President Duterte’s commands. He is also open to questions and answers about anything, ranging from how he starts brainstorming and collecting ideas, to what got him into writing in the first place.

According to sophomore Emma F., a sophomore who is enrolled in his class, “The projects are completely self-led, so it taught me just how important time management is, and how sometimes you just need to stop everything and write, no matter what is going on in your life. I learned so much from Mr. Syjuco’s feedback, and he has a way with how he writes it. This class gave me the opportunity to try out different mediums of writing.I don’t write poetry much, and I had two projects where I had to write poetry. I’d never written a manifesto or a news article before, and I’m starting to realize you can’t be a good writer until you experiment a little.

Another sophomore, Georgia L., voiced the same opinion, saying, “The meetings were held in Ms. Gough’s room and they were very fun–sometimes we’d have cookies and talk about our stories. Often, the conversation would spiral off into many different topics. We’re all very excited for Mr. Syjuco to come to school next week.”

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