25 March 2009
Genoveva Edroza Matute
Let's shift a little bit to much too real life. Philippine novelist and short story writer Genoveva Edroza Matute, who wrote in Tagalog (her mother tongue), English (her second language), and Filipino (the language she learned late in life, because she wanted to relate to the new generation of urbanized young readers), died 20 March 2009 in her sleep. She was 94 years old. She received several honors for her writing, including a major one in 1992 from the Cultural Center of the Philippines, which cited her for "her valuable contributions in elevating the standards of the Tagalog short story and in forging a national identity through the active promotion of Filipino." Her short stories are canonical and are read by millions of Filipino schoolchildren. She was a charming lady to the end, even when she was bedridden due to various illnesses. The world of multilingual writers has shrunk due to her demise. Ask not for whom the bell tolls - it tolls for us writers writing in two or more languages.