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Between Worlds: Literature as a Portal to a New, Safe, and Equal World with Glenn Diaz, Dominic Sy, and Mikael de Lara Co

“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next…We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks, and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world." - Arundhati Roy

Books help us understand the world better. Reading literature is a simple yet powerful exercise that cultivates empathy and inclusivity, and ultimately, makes us all ready actors to help usher in a safer and more equal community.

But how do books do this exactly? How does literature challenge society to rethink the world we lived in before the pandemic and make sure we move on to a new, better, and more sustainable world?

Join these Ateneo University Press authors as they share their writing life in these times when we leave an old world, and pivot towards a new one.

Glenn Diaz
author of The Quiet Ones

Glenn Diaz’s first book The Quiet Ones (Ateneo de Manila University Press) won the 2017 Palanca Grand Prize and the Philippine National Book Award. Born and raised in Manila, he is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Adelaide in South Australia, where he is at work on his second book.

Dominic Sy
author of A Natural History of Empire

Dominic Sy is a member of the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of the Philippines Diliman. His first fiction book, A Natural History of Empire, was published by Ateneo de Manila University Press in 2019. His work has appeared in the Transpacific Literary Project, The Literary Apprentice, and transit: an online journal, among other publications.

Mikael de Lara Co
author of What Passes for Answers

Mikael de Lara Co is the author of What Passes for Answers (Ateneo de Manila University Press) and Canopy. His translations include Edgar Calabia Samar’s Eight Muses of the Fall and Dr. Lisandro Claudio’s Jose Rizal: Liberalismo at Ang Balintuna ng Kolonyalidad (Ateneo de Manila University Press). He has won numerous Palanca awards for poetry in English and Filipino, two Maningning Miclat grand prizes, a Philippines Free Press Literary Award, and two National Book Award nominations.

The Quiet Ones

During a regular shift at the call center, Alvin Estrada discovers a way to embezzle money from the American telecom giant for which he mans the phones. Soon a couple of friends join in, and the operation proceeds smoothly up until they quit, vowing to take the secret to their graves. A month later, a phone call at 4 in the morning tells Alvin that the police are on their way. At once a workplace novel and a meditation on history and globalization, The Quiet Ones is a grimly humorous take on a soul-sapping, multi-billion-dollar industry. In interlocking narratives, it explores lives rendered mute by irate callers, scripted apologies, and life’s menial violence, but which manage to talk back every now and then, just as long as the Mute button is firmly pressed. Winner, 2017 Palanca Grand Prize. Winner, 2018 NBDB and Manila Critics Circle National Book Award.

A Natural History of Empire

Fraying at the edge of a life lived uselessly, an old man ponders over things that were and things that may have been. A vanishing guerilla, a knife fight across the ocean, a chat with a friend come back from the dead. In these tales of doubles, delusions, and self-deceit, A Natural History of Empire challenges us to question who we truly are and who we want to become.

What Passes for Answers

What Passes for Answers is a book without artifice, devoid of poetic pyrotechnics and self-indulgence… a collection imbued with classical rigor, elegant construction, lyrical provocation, and thoughtful revelation that gives voice to the artist’s truth-telling imperatives. —Manuel L. Quezon III

National Book Store