13 February 2012 – Internationally-acclaimed Filipino writer Miguel Syjuco delivered a lecture, based on his award-winning book Ilustrado, to draw to a close the conference series on Jose Rizal at the Biblioteca Nacional de España (BNE) in Madrid on 09 February 2012.
The conference series, which started on 26 January 2012, was part of the BNE´s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jose Rizal.
During his lecture, Mr. Syjuco discussed the meaning of being an ilustrado in the context of Philippine socio-political history and how it served as an inspiration/model for the motivations and views of the characters in his book. He noted that that as a writer his task was not to write facts about Philippine history but to provoke meaningful discussion of its various interpretations among his readers.
Ilustrado, a book about a young writer looking for the truth behind his mentor´s tragic and sudden death while at the same time a commentary on Philippine history, politics, and society, won the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2008. To date, the book has been translated into Spanish, Catalan, Swedish, Dutch, Japanese, Czech, German, Serbian, Italian, and Portuguese.
On 10 February 2012, Mr. Syjuco paid a courtesy call on the Philippine Embassy and discussed future collaborative projects with Embassy officials. Possible projects include presentations and readings of Ilustrado and his upcoming book, which will be released in the near future, in various cultural and literary institutions in Spain.
Mr. Syjuco also took the opportunity to sign copies of his book to the delight of the Embassy officers and staff who are fans of his work.