N.V.M. Gonzalez: Expressing Filipino Sensibility Posted by Carrie B. Yan on 03/28/2011 11:09 AM
Nestor Vicente Madali Gonzalez, familiarly known as "N.V.M.," in writing circles, was born on September 8, 1915 in Romblon. He moved to Mindoro at the age of five and finished elementary and high school there. Although his parents had prestigious and good-earning jobs – his father was a school supervisor while her mother was a teacher – he still worked hard to earn money. He delivered meat to his neighbors and to other villages.
He studied at National University in Manila, but he never obtained a degree. While in Manila, he wrote for the Philippine Graphic - one of the most famous magazines during his time. His first published essay appeared in the same magazine in 1934.
He showcased the Filipino spirit in rural, urban landscapes. His awards include the First Commonwealth Literary Contest in 1940, the Republic Cultural Heritage Award in 1960 and the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining in 1990. These awards attest to his triumph in appropriating the English language to express, reflect and shape Philippine culture and sensibility.
He preferred to write in prose over poems. He believes "writers create their own nation, even if they've never set foot on it." His works include "Seven Hills Away," "Children of the Ash-Covered Loam and Other Stories," "The Novel of Justice: Selected Essays 1968-1994," "A Grammar of Dreams and Other Stories," "Work on the Mountain," "On this Island Now," "Mindoro and Beyond: Twenty -One Stories," "Look Stranger," "The Bread of Salt and Other Stories," "The Winds of April," and "The Bamboo Dancers."
He became U.P.'s International-Writer-In-Residence and a member of the Board of Advisers of the U.P. Creative Writing Center. In 1987, U.P. conferred on him the Doctor of Humane Letters.