Michael Syjuco’s Ilustrado won the Man Asian Prize before it was even published, and has been called a “literary landmark for the Philippines and beyond” by Booklist. Mixing fiction with nonfiction,Ilustrado is a family saga of four generations tracing 150 years of Philippine history forged under the Spanish, Americans, and Filipinos themselves. Woven into Miguel’s accounts of his return to the Philippines is a history of the postwar Philippines, revolution, social change, heroism, cowardice, regret, faith, exile, nationalism, and the narrator’s coming-of-age story. According to the New York Times, “Ilustrado is being presented as a tracing of 150 years of Philippine history, but it’s considerably more than that…Spiced with surprises and leavened with uproariously funny moments, it is punctuated with serious philosophical musings.” Syjuco will be in conversation with Luis Francia, author ofHistory of the Philippines: From Indios Bravos to Filipinos, in an intimate look at how a novelist can write history and mystery, write away from one’s without the pitfalls of exotification.
Miguel Syjuco received the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize and the Philippines’ highest literary honor, the Palanca Award, for the unpublished manuscript of Ilustrado. Born and raised in Manila, he currently lives in Montreal.
Luis Francia is a poet, journalist, and nonfiction writer. His semiautobiographical account of growing up in the Philippines, Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago, won both the 2002 PEN Open Book and the 2002 Asian American Writers literary awards. He is co-editor ofFlippin’: Filipinos on America and of Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream, 1899-1999.