Saturday, September 08, 2001

NVM Gonzalez, would be lawyer turned writer National Artist

Today, September 8 is the birthday of NVM Gonzalez, one of the greatest Filipino writers of all time. NVM attended two years of law school at the University of the Philippines. He had many reasons for leaving law school, one of them was that he found it unacceptable that their professor would sell them copies of the Philippine Reports to fend for the professor's mistress. NVM wrote mainly about the life of Mindoro folk, their life and rituals in a feudalistic society. In the story, "On the Eve," (see the collections Grammer of Dreams and Mindoro and Beyond both published by the UP Press) he writes, quite exceptionally, about a young man on the eve of his decision to leave law school for a life as a writer, perhaps mirroring his own monumental decision to leave the legal world for what would turn out to be a well-lived life of Philippine letters. NVM died in November 1999 at the age of 84. Stanford University, where NVM's granddaughter now studies, has a webpage in his honor.

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