One way to promote a culture of reading among Filipino youth is to provide them with reading material that can capture their imagination and tell their stories. I started reading YA when I was young (Nancy Drew at seven; Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch at Blackbird Pond at nine) and the truth is, I've never really stopped. I still read a lot of YA. Unfortunately, a lot of that is foreign material. I've always wished that there were more local YA books. We've always had a great selection of children's books but our YA selections pale in comparison.
That's way it's heartening to read that the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is launching the KABANATA Young Adult Writers' Workshop. I hope that this will give us a fresh wave of YA books similar to the dark and rich storytelling of Janus Silang or the sweet romance of Una and Miguel -- and everything else in between.
Deadline for applications is July 31. You can view the application guidelines and other details on bit.ly/kabanata. To learn more about the Kabanata YA Writers' Workshop, visit http://pbby.org.ph/links-kabanata-2014.html.