the night i won at the philippines free press literary awards, and other stories

I’m still lacking sleep (and I’m still high from last night’s events haha) so forgive me if this turns out to be an incoherent post.

Summary: “Reunion” won first place at the Philippines Free Press Literary Awards, and our group (Editorial A) won first place in the company group presentation contest. So: in the early evening I wore a dress, hyperventilated as I accepted my trophy (I have a trophy! From Free Press! With my name and story title on it!), and later that night I donned a cheerleader outfit for “Pyramid” and a feathery hat for “Bad Romance”. There’s a story there, don’t worry. I don’t have pictures of the performance itself, but I’ll shamelessly (yes!) share them when I get them heh. And I have pictures!

I. Philippines Free Press Literary Awards/Zobel Dining/Makati Sports Club/6 pm

Went half-day at work and camwhored a bit as I prepared:

I love my earrings!

I also received the check from Basement Stories for “Incidental Light”, with a lovely note from Carol Kirkman. Thanks!

Jaykie and I arrived a little before 6 p.m. The dining hall was still quite empty. So we had white wine and took pictures.

The spec fic gang is here! Lookie candid shots.

Dean Alfar, Nikki Alfar, Kate Aton-Osias. (In the background: Andrew Drilon having a chat with Monique Francisco, who was also in PSF IV and also a finalist for the Short Story category that night.)

Alex Osias and Vincent Simbulan.

I also finally met Sasha Martinez (very bubbly and bakla – I like!) in person (we have no picture, boo). She was also a finalist for the same category. (She won last year for “The Catherine Theory”.)

The first category announced was Short Story. Nikki Alfar read the citations and the names of the winners. Third place went to Daryll Delgado for “In Remission”. Second place went to Mo for “Jimmie”. I looked at the list of finalists again and saw Amadis Ma. Guerrero’s name. Ha! I have no chance.

And then Nikki said and the first place goes to “Reunion” by Eliza Victoria, and I think I went slightly crazy. Looking back, I think there were signs: Ms Susan Locsin approaching me saying she’s glad I’m a finalist “but I really don’t know who the winners are”, Sarge Lacuesta putting exclamation points in his replies to me in the email (“You have to come!!”), and Dean Alfar giving stage directions, apparently to help me haha. Unfortunately I broke all of his rules, including the simplest “stay in the middle and bask in your glory until the judge says, ‘Thank you'”.

Here’s the citation:

For its ambitious narrative that reunites the fate of two brothers across the centuries and historic milestones, for showing that the creative imagination cannot be restrained by the boundaries of geography and time, for proving that the best attributes of humanity shine even in the darkest of historical periods, and for declaring without conceit that in the end, humanity is its own best excuse for being, the Philippines Free Press Grand Prize for Short Fiction is awarded to REUNION by Eliza Victoria.

The Eliza Sandwich! (tm, Dean Alfar)

The poetry awards went to Marjorie Evasco and Noelle Leslie Dela Cruz (there was no 3rd prize winner). Congrats!

Thanks to everyone who approached me that night and congratulated me. And to everyone who has congratulated me in person or online since then. You are all dears. And yes, I will continue to write. (Before we left, Ms Locsin said, “Don’t stop writing!” Oh, I won’t dare. :D ) The photo below’s from Mo. :)

II. Philippine Daily Inquirer/Rizal Ballroom/Makati Shangri-La/8 pm

It’s the 25th anniversary of the paper! I missed the President though. Oh well.

We’re sitting at the advertisers’ table. Hehe.

Jon Santos and Wille Nep were there, as the presidents and other personalities. :)

Research team!

More photos!

The InCHOIRer.


So we did that *dance number or something*

(“Vhong” and “Anne”.)

(“Charice” and back-up dancers, followed by “Kris” and “Josh”.)

(“Lady Gaga” with back-up dancers.)

and we won the grand prize!

Photos from Ruthie, Princess, Cyril, Irene, and Almi. :D

There’s definitely more pictures from the event floating around, but that’s all for now!

11 thoughts on “the night i won at the philippines free press literary awards, and other stories”

  1. Congrats, Eliza! We didn’t get the chance to meet, but I second the “keep writing” advice. Looking forward to reading your stories soon! :)


    1. Hey Les, congrats to you too! That’s quite a feat, to have two poems in the running (too bad isa lang ang pwede bigyan ng award haha). I found your blog while writing this post, was meaning to write you a message. Thanks for dropping by, and I would love to read your poems, too. :D

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