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PEN to launch Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo’s fiction collection

Published

By Gabriela Baron

The Philippine Center of the International PEN (Poets and Playwrights, Essayists, Novelists) will launch “Collected Stories and Tales,” the newest fiction title from writer and editor Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo.

Published by the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Publishing House, the book is a collection of Hidalgo’s published short fiction and stories that appeared in the Philippines Graphic — among them are  “Ballad of a Lost Season” (1987), “Tales for a Rainy Night” (1993), and “Where Only the Moon Rages” (1994).

(Photo courtesy of Cristina Hidalgo)

(Photo courtesy of Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo)

“This collection not only encompasses Hidalgo’s distinctive voices over the years, but it also recalls the power of tales — especially in this writer’s hands — to draw out the most honest, most human truths,” PEN said in a statement.

The book is composed of 39 short stories and also includes Hidalgo’s first novel “Vida” which was originally serialized by Mr. and Mrs. Magazine in 1981.

“The fiction collection is being presented to a new generation of readers by Sarge Lacuesta who wrote the introduction and by Chuckberry Pascual who wrote the afterword,” Hidalgo said.

Hidalgo added that the stories presented in the book are drawn from real life — even those she calls modern tales.

“So perhaps the fairy tale mode was just a disguise, a strategy for masking the identity of the characters and the truth of plots.

“I have come to see that, though magic is essential to the tale, ‘magic’ need not mean the supernatural. What must always be present is enchantment, a kind of spell. And, in my humble way, that is what I tried to work toward,” she said.

Hidalgo has published over 30 books, including two novels, five short stories, and numerous creative nonfiction. She has been recognized as “Outstanding Thomasian Writer,” “Hall of Famer for International Publication,” and grand prize winner for the novel in the Palanca Awards.

Hidalgo also teaches creative writing and literature in UST and the University of the Phillippines, where she is professor emerita.

“Collected Stories and Tales” retails for P850.

The book launch will be held on Feb. 29, Saturday, 5 p.m., at the Solidaridad Bookstore, Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila.

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