Man Asian Literary Prize Winner: Miguel Syjuco
An Evening Discussion with Miguel Syjuco, author
"Ilustrado explores the paradoxes that come with the search for identity and throws readers into the fragile space between self-pursuit and self-destruction. A novel about country and self, youth and experience, it is elegiac, thoughtful, and original."—Colin McAdam, author of Fall and Some Great Thing
Ilustrado, Miguel Syjuco's debut novel, won the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize and the Philippines' highest literary honor, the Palanca Award. The book is a family saga of four generations tracing 150 years of Philippine history forged under the Spanish, Americans, and Filipinos themselves. Woven into Miguel's accounts of his return to the Philippines is a history of the postwar Philippines, revolution, social change, heroism, cowardice, regret, faith, exile, nationalism, and the narrator's coming-of-age story. Syjuco will discuss his creative journey, his inspirations, how fictional writing has allowed him to recreate his home country in an alternate dimension, and how establishing a career as an author away from the Philippines has allowed him to reexamine his culture and roots.
Born in 1976 into a political family in Manila, Syjuco left the Philippines to become a writer, and currently resides in Montreal. He has a master's degree from Columbia University and is completing his Ph.D. at the University of Adelaide.