National Literature Month – April 2023

National Literature Month in the Philippines is celebrated in April every year. We are excited to join you in reading, answering fun quizzes, or attending webinars and breathtaking literary award ceremonies. Understanding your oral traditions, remembering and honoring pioneering storytellers, and appreciating the many languages that make up Philippine literature is as much fun for you as it is for us. National Literature Month was declared on February 10, 2015, to mark the month of April as the ‘Buwan ng Panitikang Filipino,’ meaning National Literature Month.

History of National Literature Month

National Literature Month is celebrated annually in April in the Philippines. It is organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (N.C.C.A.) to recognize the works of esteemed writers and scholars of Philippine literature. It also promotes the history and cultural legacy of Philippine literature among Filipinos of today and the younger generation. In 2021, National Literature Month featured webinars that explored the significance of Christianity in the history of Philippine literature dating back to April 1521.

Literature is 500 years old in the Philippines. It started on the island of Cebu with the arrival of the Spaniards in March 1521. Since its establishment in 2015, National Literature Month has evolved over the years with new and exciting ways of celebrating literature in the Philippines. Two literary competitions were added in 2021 for high school and college students. Online competition series are held in Batanes to encourage the writing and singing of the traditional Ivatan literary form of art — Laji. In 2021, a creative writing workshop was established by the University of St. La Salle in coordination with the N.C.C.A. to award 12 writers of various genres from all over the country. The landmark project of the Philippine International Literary Festival has continued to be the grand stage for readers, publishers, and other creatives to engage in discussions and celebrate literature.

National Artists for Literature (N.C.L.A.) launched an online reading series to honor the creators of remarkable works of art and literature. In 2021, the event, Reading the National Artists for Literature Series, featured the works of renowned Filipino wordsmiths such as Carlos Romulo and Jose Garcia Villa to honor the brilliant works of National Artists for Literature.

National Literature Month in the Philippines concludes on April 30 with an annual awarding ceremony that recognizes the remarkable works of esteemed writers and scholars of Philippine literature.

National Literature Month timeline

1521
Spain Colonizes the Philippines

In April, Spaniards bring Christianity to the Philippines, marking the origin of Christian literature in the country.

2015
The Month is Established

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (N.C.C.A.) declares April as National Literature Month.

2021
Awards for Writers

The University of St. La Salle creates a creative writing workshop to present literary awards to 12 writers.

2021
An Online Reading Series

National Artists for Literature (N.C.L.A.) hosts an event featuring the works of renowned Filipino wordsmiths such as Carlos Romulo and Jose Garcia Villa.

National Literature Month FAQs

Why is Philippine literature diverse?

The diversity and richness of Philippine literature evolved side by side with the country’s history.

What is the meaning of ‘literature’ in English?

Written works that have lasting artistic value and an excellent form of expression.

What are the types of literature?

The main types of literature are poetry, prose, science-fiction, drama, fable, journalistic literature, autobiography, and biography.

National Literature Month Activities

  1. Participate in writing competitions or online webinars

    Literary competitions are held that offer amazing prizes plus it is an opportunity to develop and showcase whatever literary skill you have. So why not take part in one when there is nothing to lose and everything to gain? Even if you do not win, at least you would have sharpened your skills.

  2. Attend literary awards

    Win it or witness it, both are thrilling experiences you do not want to miss. Whether you are a renowned writer or an aspiring one, literary awards are an exclusive way to meet and socialize with the gurus and enthusiasts of the literary world.

  3. Attend literary festivals

    Festivals are always fun events filled with interesting people, music, colorful arts, and beautiful cultural displays. The International Literary Festival is no exception. It celebrates literature with readers, publishers, and every creative mind in the Philippines, young and old.

5 Fun Facts About Literature

  1. The most expensive book ever bought

    Former world's richest billionaire, Bill Gates bought “Codex Leicester,” one of Leonardo Di Vinci's scientific journals, for $30.8 million.

  2. An 823-word long sentence

    Victor Hugo's novel, “Les Miserables,” has a sentence that is 823 words long.

  3. The first novel written on a typewriter

    “Tom Sawyer” was the first novel to have been written using a typewriter.

  4. The shortest English sentence

    "I am" is the shortest complete sentence in English.

  5. The only English word ending in ‘mt’

    ‘Dreamt’ is the only word in the English language that ends in ‘mt.’

Why We Love National Literature Month

  1. It teaches about Filipino literary culture and history

    National Literature Month promotes Philippine literature and cultural legacy in a fun and educative way. Series of webinars and festivals are held to discuss literature and arts with both aspiring and established writers in the field. It offers an amazing opportunity to meet and talk with your favorite author.

  2. It preserves and inspires Filipino values and literature

    The electric atmosphere of celebration and activities inspires the younger generation to take interest in the arts, literature, and other creatives of the Filipino people. And with literary competitions held every year for high school and college students with amazing prizes to be won, many Filipinos are ecstatic in anticipation of the next National Literature Month.

  3. Exemplary Filipino writers and authors are honored

    Multiple award events are organized to honor the renowned writers of Philippine literature. Two distinctive awards stand out: the Creative Writing Workshop, which awards 12 writers from all over the country in various genres of literature, and the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas, Benitez at Bucaneg, an annual awards ceremony.

National Literature Month dates

YearDateDay
2022April 1Friday
2023April 1Saturday
2024April 1Monday
2025April 1Tuesday
2026April 1Wednesday
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