MANILA—A US-based Filipino has been honoured with a prestigious award in Literature by an American institution based in Italy.
Gina Apostol was awarded the 2022-2023 Rome Prize in Literature by the American Academy in Rome, Italy for a novel she wrote titled The Treatment of Paz.
Along with the award, Gina was also granted “stipend, workspace, and room and board” in the 11-acre campus in Rome, so she could properly attend to her current novel.
Gina will start living inside the American Academy in September 2022.
Her novel in progress is about Maria de la Paz Pardo de Tavera, known as Paz, the wife of Filipino painter Juan Luna.
Juan killed Paz in Paris, France in 1892.
Gina has written novels and she is currently working as an English teacher in Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City.
The American Academy in Rome is “America’s oldest Overseas Center for independent studies in advanced research in the arts and humanities,” according to John Hopkins University website.
The winners in Rome Prize is annually selected by independent juries composed of respected artists and scholars through a national competition.
Gina grew up in Tacloban, Leyte and she finished college at the University of the Philippines.
She finished her Master’s Degree in Creative writing at the Johns Hopkins University.
Among the novels she has written are: Bibliolepsy, Insurrecto, The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata, Gun Dealers’ Daughter, and La Tercera which will come out in January 2023.
For The Treatment of Paz, Gina is planning to go to the places where Juan Luna and Paz lived. She said that it will take long before she finishes her book.
Asked what is the importance of the Rome Award for Literature for Gina, she said that there are Filipino authors who have been given international awards.
“What it tells us is how important our stories are to the world,” Gina said in an interview by CNN Philippines on May 5, 2022.
Gina sees the importance of her works if there are Filipinos who come to her and proud to read that the center of the story is Pilipino.
“The readers that come to my readings always say it’s so good to hear about the Philippines being centered in a book.
“To hear the voice of the Filipino, especially the voice of the Filipino woman.”