The Reading Spree

Flipping pages and finding common denominators

Category: Events (Page 1 of 2)

Applying for a National Writing Workshop: A Non-Definitive Guide

I think I’ve mentioned only once on this blog that I was a creative nonfiction writing fellow for this year’s UST National Writers’ Workshop. But I know I’ve talked about it to death the past couple months and posted endlessly on social media, so bear with me because this is the last time I’ll talk about it. 😉

I really didn’t think I’d get in. Countless writers from around the country submit their manuscripts every year to UST, as well as for the UP, DLSU, Ateneo, Silliman and Iligan national workshops; and competition’s always tight. Plus there’s the mentorship/patronage stuff I talked about before, which I think exists in every institution, not just in creative writing.

Those who know me well also know I was terrified. It was my first-ever national workshop, and before that I relied only on small and comfortable class workshops. I didn’t know anyone at UST except for one professor, and we met only once. I’ve heard horror stories of fellows getting thoroughly chewed out at workshops like these, of panelists on their best diva behavior, of the high attrition rate of writers post-workshop.

But it all worked out in the end. I had an amazing time and learned so much. It’s always good to hear other viewpoints, find holes in your work that you didn’t know existed, and widen your writing-centric support system.

I think a co-fellow got it right when he said we still have a high from the workshop. So we were surprised when the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies (UST CCWLS) announced it was already accepting applications for next year’s workshop. Break-up stage na, mga bes.

(Several other calls for submission have popped up afterward, like the one for the 57th UP National Writers’ Workshop. Awards season is also underway, with this year’s Palancas in the bag, and the Philippines Graphic‘s Nick Joaquin Literary Awards scheduled on September 13.)

Here’s the official poster for the 2018 UST workshop, if you’re interested.

(Go to the UST CCWLS Facebook page for more info, and to see the photos and videos from this year’s workshop.)

I had to answer a lot of questions when I got back, mostly about applying for writing fellowships and how the workshop went. You can say this is my attempt to answer everything. Since I’ve only been to the UST workshop, that serves as my main reference. I guess some items could apply to other national workshops as well, or even journal/anthology submissions.

Also, I have creative nonfiction writers and manuscripts in mind for this blog, but I think some advice could work for writers in other genres, too.

Lastly, I don’t guarantee your acceptance into any workshop. Walang sisihan, ha.

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The Bookish Weekend!

"the love of a book" by Jose Carlos Norte

Uh-huh. I “heart” you, too. [Photo by Jose Carlos Norte]

I’ve noticed (belatedly, I might add) that I’ve gone through a few big lifestyle changes as I got older. I’ve become an introvert and a homebody, and you (well, those who belong to my limited circle of friends/acquaintances) better have a damn good reason to get me to leave my apartment. I consider work, food, movies, drinks, and awesome conversations as valid reasons — of course, the company’s a given.

Books, art, learning, literature and history are great reasons, too. I’m happy I got all those the weekend before Typhoon Rammasun/Glenda hit the major Philippine island of Luzon (that includes Mega Manila). Time to get bookish!

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A Day Of Fantastic Lit: POPtastik Pinoy!

I’m the kind of person who often gets dragged by friends and family to various events at the last minute (a.k.a. kaladkarin!), or gets notified just a few days before. I rarely get to mark personal dates in advance, or know about things before they happen. This also means I miss out on a lot of events — and I’ve already missed out on several book/lit events this year because I wasn’t really paying attention to what’s going on. 😛

A few days ago, I got an e-mail that (thankfully) broke that long passive/reactionary streak. November 15, 2013 has been blocked off on my calendar, and readers/writers should do so, too.

What’s going to happen on that particular Friday? Check it out:

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It Starts Tomorrow!

Are you going? (Source)

Almost forgot about this book fair! Still thinking about going. I went to the last two fairs, and left with a considerable book haul. Am dead broke this year, but I’ve never attended the talks/special events.

If I do decide to go… see you there! If not, well, you can tell me all about it. And there’s always next year. 🙂

This Month’s Link Love!

I’m still working on the next bulk book review (already on the last book!), and I just know it’ll take a while. Hopefully I’ll post something new by the end of the month!

To “tide you over”, here are some of the latest (and… well, not-so-latest) developments, news items and discoveries in the world of words.

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Workshops for Working and Wannabe Writers!

I was so excited for this weekend. The calendar boxes for Friday, Saturday and Sunday were filled with appointments, personal tasks and the all-important drinking nights with fellow alcoholics. There was also an overnight trip to Tagaytay with several awesome high school friends (including two balikbayans). Basically, it looked like two and a half days of fun.

Then my body said “nu-uh”. And there’s absolutely no room for negotiation. So instead of being out and about (despite the cruel summer heat!), I’m indoors − sneezing and coughing and putting warm compresses over my left eyelid, which has been swollen since yesterday and is making me look like Pacquiao used me as a punching bag.

This latest body problem (which comes after this, which hasn’t really gone away) means no appointments, no errands, no drinkage, no out-of-town trip, no socializing. Grrrrreat. Can’t do much except accept it, get much-needed rest, and plan to make up for this sudden house arrest in the coming weeks.

My idea of rest: reading books, lounging around in bed, or catching up on my RSS and social media feeds. (‘Coz really, what else can you do?) It’s a good thing I’m doing the online rounds, too. Reviewed and replied to old e-mails and text messages (I’m the type who just skims personal messages and seldom replies), and saw updates regarding several writing workshops. May attend one or some of them − I think it’ll be a good way to make up for this ongoing inactivity. Plus I think my writing’s getting a bit rusty; a new perspective is needed. I thought maybe you’d be interested in these workshops, too.

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Snippets #9.

Read up!




More next time. Nahihilo na ako. 😛

Snippets #8.

A month after my last link list, Snippets is (finally) back!

Yeah. It’s a long list. Had to dig deep into my RSS feed, social media feeds and Pocket list to find the ones I found interesting and share-worthy. Then I had to review everything and trim the list down, which called for a few more hours of work. 😛 The links included here kept me reading, writing, WANTing, organizing, and planning during the holidays and in recent weeks; hope they do the same for you. Enjoy!

Oldies but goodies

December 2012

Catching Up, and “Snippets” – September-November 2012.

I’m making up for this blog’s unintentional two-month silence with a few entries (which I’m working on right now!), along with a new weekly (well, hopefully) update called Snippets.

Snippets will contain links to interesting book-, reading- and publishing-related online articles and blogs, found via my RSS feed and social media (mainly Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). It’s similar to what Tom Chandler of The Copywriter Underground is doing with his Weekly Tweetfest, or the short recaps done by other book bloggers. 😉

Also, I was traveling for the past three weeks − which you’ll learn more about in future entries − and am still catching up with my online reading list, so the very first “edition” of Snippets has a lot of old news items. My bad.

Did I miss anything? Let me know! 🙂

*The author is the founder of the Freelance Writers’ Guild of the Philippines, which I’m a (pending) member of and whose press releases I’ve already published on this blog. She is also my fellow contributor at Rappler Life & Style.

A Quick Update.

Apologies for letting things go quiet over here at The Reading Spree yet again. July and August gave me a strict diet of projects, meetings and deadlines; it has become rare for me to have a few hours to kill and do whatever I want. It’s great because it means there’s constant work, but once again the reading list was unintentionally cast aside.

Am very happy to tell you that I’ve picked up the pace again. I kept switching themes, which really didn’t help at all. Finally settled on the third book review theme, and there’s significant progress with this one.

Also, I found a contributor for this blog! 😀 You’ll find out who the contributor is very soon.

September’s going to be a fun one for readers and writers, events-wise. I went to the Manila International Book Fair back in 2010, and hauled several good finds back home. Was absent last year; I’m considering going back this year for more books to get me back on track. Depends on the schedule… and my mood on that day.

Here’s the poster for this year’s MIBF. (Source) You can also get the schedule for special events during the MIBF from the source link.

While you’re marking your calendars for the MIBF, here’s something that you can check out this coming weekend. Publishing house Visprint is holding its second annual readers’ day, called Writers in Talks (WIT), this September 8 at the Alphaland Southgate Tower in Makati.

(Landmarks: Alphaland Mall, MRT Magallanes Station and Magallanes Bridge. For those who like to refer to landmarks that aren’t there anymore [like me], it’s across the site of the burned-down Mantrade Building.)

JPEGs from the Visprint blog.

Hope to see you at WIT and MIBF! 🙂

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