In celebration of the 97th birthday of the late National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin, Anvil Publishing Inc. launched Gotita de Dragon and Other Stories, his newest anthology of works, on May 4 at Powerbooks Greenbelt 4, Makati City.
Joaquin’s family and friends attended the event along with other notable writers like fictionists Gemino Abad and Cyan Abad-Jugo, columnists Vergel Santos and Chit Roces, and poets Pete Lacaba and Marra Lanot. National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose also graced the launch and offered tribute to his fellow artist.
Emily Abrera, Cultural Center of the Philippines’ chairman of the board of trustees, hosted the event together with Anvil’s publishing manager Karina Bolasco.
Welcoming everyone, Bolasco said, “We are mighty proud to be the main publisher of most of Nick Joaquin’s works, considered the greatest of our writers in English, and whose ideas on culture, history and literature continue to be largely influential.”
As a highlight, some parts of Joaquin’s A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino: An Elegy in Three Scenes were performed by acclaimed television and theater actors and actresses: Nonie Buencamino, Irma Adlawan-Marasigan and Liesl Batucan.
Then, Ramon Sunico of Cacho Publishing, who oversaw the publication of the book, gave a brief background. “The stories we hope you are going to read have been published before. They appeared in Joaquinesquerie: Myth a la Mod, published by Ben Ramos of Cacho Hermanos.
“With the help of Joaquin family, we got a copy of that book, scanned it, and digitized the text [converted it into editable data]. Then, after some discussion, we decided to present them in a collection, rather than as individual picture books, to address both the growing appetite of young adult readers and the content requirements of the great changes in the national educational curriculum,” Sunico continued.
Finally, he shared, “It is a book for young children, a collection of stories that exemplify the ageless imagination of a master, that bubble over with equal amounts of fancy and fearfulness.”
Gotita de Dragon and Other Stories is now available at National Book Store and Powerbooks nationwide.