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Source: Wikipedia

F. Sionil Josť or in full Francisco Sionil Josť (born December 3, 1924) is one of the most widely-read Filipino writers in the English language. His novels and short stories depict the social underpinnings of class struggles and colonialism in Filipino society. Josť's works - written in English - have been translated into 22 languages, including Korean, Indonesian, Russian, Latvian, Ukrainian and Dutch


Josť was born in Rosales, Pangasinan, the setting of many of his stories. He spent his childhood in Barrio Cabugawan, Rosales, where he first began to write. Josť was of Ilocano descent whose family had migrated to Pangasinan before his birth. Fleeing poverty, his forefathers traveled from Ilocos towards Cagayan Valley through the Santa Fe Trail. Like many migrant families, they brought their lifetime possessions with them, including uprooted molave posts of their old houses and their alsong, a stone mortar for pounding rice.

One of the greatest influences to Josť was his industrious mother who went out of her way to get him the books he loved to read, while making sure her family did not go hungry despite of poverty and landlessness. Josť started writing in grade school, at the time he started reading. In the fifth grade, one of Josť’s teachers opened the school library to her students, which is how Josť managed to read the novels of Josť Rizal, Willa Cather’s My Antonia, Faulkner and Steinbeck. Reading about Basilio and Crispin in Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere made the young Josť cry, because injustice was not an alien thing to him. When Josť was five years old, his grandfather who was a soldier during the Philippine revolution, had once tearfully showed him the land their family had once tilled but was taken away by rich mestizo landlords who knew how to work the system against illiterates like his grandfather

Life as a writer

Josť attended the University of Santo Tomas after World War II, but dropped out and plunged into writing and journalism in Manila. In subsequent years, he edited various literary and journalistic publications, started a publishing house, and founded the Philippine branch of PEN, an international organization for writers. Josť received numerous awards for his work. The Pretenders is his most popular novel, which is the story of one man's alienation from his poor background and the decadence of his wife's wealthy family.

Jose Rizal's life and writings profoundly influenced Josť's work. The five volume Rosales Saga, in particular, employs and interrogates themes and characters from Rizal's work.

Throughout his career, Josť's writings espouse social justice and change to better the lives of average Filipino families. He is one of the most critically acclaimed Filipino authors internationally, although much underrated in his own country because of his authentic Filipino English and his anti-elite views.

"Authors like myself choose the city as a setting for their fiction because the city itself illustrates the progress or the sophistication that a particular country has achieved. Or, on the other hand, it might also reflect the kind of decay, both social and perhaps moral, that has come upon a particular people."-F. Sionil Josť, BBC.com, July 30, 2003

Sionil Josť also owns Solidaridad Bookshop, which is on Padre Faura Street in Ermita, Manila. The bookshop offers mostly hard-to-find books and Filipiniana reading materials. It is said to be one of the favorite haunts of many local writers


Rosales Saga novels

A five-novel series that spans three centuries of Philippine history, widely read around the world and translated into 22 languages

Po-on (Dusk) (1984) ISBN 9718845100

The Pretenders (1962) ISBN 9718845003

My Brother, My Executioner (1973) ISBN 971884516X

Mass (December 31, 1974) ISBN 0868615722

Tree (1978) ISBN 9718845143

[edit] Original novels containing the Rosales Saga

Dusk (Po-on) (1993) ISBN 0375751440

Don Vicente (1980) ISBN 0375752439 - Tree and My Brother, My Executioner combined in one book

The Samsons ISBN 0375752447- The Pretenders and Mass combined in one book

Other novels

Gagamba (The Spider Man) (1991) ISBN 971536105645

Viajero (1993) ISBN 971884504689

Sin (1994) ISBN 0517284464

Ben Singkol (2001) ISBN 9718845321

Ermita ISBN 9718845127

Vibora! (2007)

Sherds (2008)

Muse and Balikbayan: Two Plays (2008)

Short Stories (with Introduction and Teaching Guide by Thelma B. Kintanar) (2008)

Short story collection

The God Stealer and Other Short Stories (2001) ISBN 9718845356

Puppy Love and Other Short Stories (March 15, 1998) ISBN 9718845267 and ISBN 978-9718845264

Olvidon and Other Stories (1988) ISBN 9718845186

Platinum: Ten Filipino Stories (1983) ISBN 9718845224 (now out of print, its stories are added to the new version of Olvidon and Other Stories)

Waywaya: Eleven Filipino Short Stories (1980) ISBN 999228840X

Asian PEN Anthology (as editor) (1966)

Short Story International (SSI): Tales by the World's Great Contemporary Writers (Unabridged, Volume 13, Number 75) (co-author, 1989) ISBN 1555730426

Children's books

The Molave and The Orchid (November 2004)


Questions (1988)

Essays and non-fiction

In Search of the Word (De La Salle University Press, March 15, 1998) ISBN 9715552641 and ISBN 978-9715552646

We Filipinos: Our Moral Malaise, Our Heroic Heritage

Soba, Senbei and Shibuya: A Memoir of Post-War Japan ISBN 9718845313 and ISBN 978-9718845318

Heroes in the Attic, Termites in the Sala: Why We are Poor (2005)

This I Believe: Gleanings from a Life in Literature (2006)

Literature and Liberation (co-author) (1988)

In translation

Po-on (Tagalog language, De La Salle University Press, 1998) ISBN 9715552676 and ISBN 978-9715552677

Anochecer (Littera) (Spanish language, Maeva, October 2003) ISBN 8495354950 and ISBN 978-8495354952

In anthologies

Tong (a short story from Brown River, White Ocean: An Anthology of Twentieth-Century Philippine Literature in English by Luis Francia, Rutgers University Press, August 1993) ISBN 0813519993 and ISBN 978-0813519999

In film documentaries

Francisco Sionil Josť - A Filipino Odyssey by Art Makosinski, 1996


Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts (1980)

National Artist Award for Literature (2001)

Pablo Neruda Centennial Award (2004)

Palanca Awards

Books and excerpts about F. Sionil Josť


Frankie Sionil Josť: A Tribute by Edwin Thuboo (editor) (Times Academic Press, Singapore, January 2005) ISBN 9812104259 and ISBN 978-9812104250

Conversations with F. Sionil Josť by Miguel A. Bernard (editor) (Vera-Reyes Publishing Inc., Philippines, 304 pages, 1991

The Ilocos: A Philippine Discovery by James Fallows, The Atlantic Monthly magazine, Volume 267, No. 5, May 1991

F. Sionil Josť and His Fiction by Alfredo T. Morales (Vera-Reyes Publishing Inc., Philippines, 129 pages)

See also

Philippine literature in English

Literature of the Philippines

Philippine English

The Thomasites

Philinda Rand



^ a b c d e f g Jose, F. Sionil. Sense of the City: Manila, BBC News, BBC.co.uk, July 30, 2003, retrieved on June 14, 2007

^ a b c d e f Author Spotlight: F. Sionil Jose, Random House, RandomHouse.com, retrieved on June 14, 2007

^ a b c d e f Macansantos, Priscilla Supnet. A Hometown as Literature for F. Sionil Josť, Global Nation/Features, Inquirer, Inquirer.net, April 25, 2007, retrieved on: June 14, 2007

^ a b c d e f Yabes, Leopoldo Y. and Judson Knight, Francisco Sionil Jose Biography, Contemporary Novelists, Volume 16, Jrank.org, retrieved on June 16, 2007

^ Garcia, Cathy Rose. "Author F. Sionil Jose’s Insight on Philippines" (an article about F. Sionil Jose’s novel, Ermita – published in Korean), Arts & Living, The Korea Times, KoreaTimes.co.kr, April 27, 2007

^ Garcia, Cathy Rose. "Author F. Sionil Jose’s Insight on Philippines" (an article about F. Sionil Jose’s novel: Ermita – published in Korean), BookAsia.org (Korean website), April 27, 2007

^ Scalice, Joseph. "Articulating Revolution: Rizal in F. Sionil Josť's Rosales Saga"

^ Makosinski, Art. Francisco Sionil Josť - A Filipino Odyssey, documentary, color, 28min, 16mm., Winner of the Golden Shortie for Best Documentary at the Victoria Film and Video Festival, ME.UVIC.ca, 1996), retrieved on: June 16, 2007

^ Culture Profile: F. Sionil Josť, About Culture and Arts, National Commission for Culture and Arts, NCCA.gov, 2002, retrieved on: June 16, 2007

^ a b c d Makosinski, Art. About Francisco Sionil Josť, Engr.Uvic.ca, retrieved on: June 16, 2007

[edit] Bibliography

The Writings of F. Sionil Jose, Archives, The New York Times, NYTimes.com, retrieved on: June 16, 2007

The Works of Francisco Sionil Jose, The New York Public Library, NYPL.org (Search Engine), retrieved on: June 16, 2007

Books of F. Sionil Jose, Amazon.com, retrieved on: June 16, 2007

Filipino English: Literature As We Think It (from F. Sionil Jose's Keynote Lecture at the Conference on "Literatures in Englishes" at the National University of Singapore), F. Sionil Jose: National Artist for Literature, Foremost Novelist, and Stanford.edu, March 19, 2006, retrieved on: June 6, 2007

Jose, F. Sionil. "We Who Stayed Behind (Many fled the Philippines during the Marcos years, writes F. Sionil Jose. But what about those who remained?)", Asian Journey, Time Asia magazine (18-25 August 2003 issue), Time.com, 11 August 2007, retrieved on: 21 June 2007

Allen Gaborro, A book review about Sins, a novel by F. Sionil Jose, Random House, 1996, Eclectica.org, retrieved on: April 22, 2008

External links

F. Sionil Josť: The Myth of a Filipino Writer

Why Are Filipinos So Poor? - an essay by F. Sionil Josť


Books by F. Sionil Josť The Rosales Saga: Po-on (1984) | Tree (1978) | My Brother, My Executioner (1973) | The Pretenders (1962) | Mass (1973)

Other novels: Ermita (1988) | Gagamba (1991) | Viajero (1993) | Sin (1973) | Ben Singkol (2001) | Vibora! (2007) | Sherds (2007) Short stories: The God Stealer (1959)


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