In a ceremony held at the Mandarin Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand last 25 November 2019, Bikol poet and filmmaker Kristian Sendon Cordero received the most prestigious Southeast Asian Writers award from the hands of Her Royal Highness, Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya. Other Filipino recipients include National Artist for Literature, Bienvenido Lumbera (for 2016) and former University of the Philippines-Mindanao Chancellor and poet/literary scholar Ricardo de Ungria (for 2018). Cordero received it for 2017.
Other writers from the ASEAN region were also honored. Among those who attended the ceremony included Philippine Ambassador to Thailand, Mary Jo. A Bernardo-Aragon who was joined in by other ambassadors and representatives from other countries in South East Asia. The awardees received a plaque from the Thai royalty and a cash prize.
Below is the full citation for Kristian Sendon Cordero:
KRISTIAN SENDON CORDERO
2017 SEA WRITE Award
An opulence of talent, a consistency of excellence, and a seemingly bottomless wellspring of energy, all in his chosen arts of poetry, fiction, essay, translation, film, and scholarship, in the context of Filipino multilingual culture and artistic production from the regions and away from the socioeconomic center of Manila, distinguish Kristian Sendon Cordero’s literary and artistic accomplishments at quite a young age of 34.
Cordero fortifies and enriches his multifaceted cultural leadership role in his various capacities as an academic and arts advocate, a deputy director of a university press, a translator and scholar, and as poet and filmmaker, among others.
As an academic and arts advocate based in the region, apart from teaching literature in the Ateneo de Naga University, Cordero actively performs in the Bikol literary and cultural scene through arts workshops, public read-along and cultural events, conferences, and organizational work that promote Bikol and Filipino literature and scholarship, civic participation in environmental concerns, and cultural regeneration. In many a sense, he continues to be one of the moving spirits in the Bikol literary and cultural renaissance now acknowledged as taking place in his region, which is one of the firsts in contemporary Philippine culture.
As deputy director of the Ateneo de Naga University Press, he has closely collaborated with his Director in putting out numerous literary and scholarly publications in Filipino, various regional languages, and English, which would have otherwise encountered the well-known difficulties in non-commercial publication. To the obvious advantage of authors and scholars, the university press continues to publish titles, distinguished in their content as well as first-rate book design, that contribute to and enhance Philippine literature, culture, arts, and scholarship.
As a translator, Cordero is indefatigable in searching out translation and multilingual projects through international networking and liaison that have involved various foreign embassies and resulted in joint publications in such languages as Czech, Spanish, and German, among others, with either Bikol or Filipino translations.
Finally, as one of the Philippines’ leading poets writing in the Filipino national language and in his regional Bikol, Cordero is an exemplar in exploring and stirring the Filipino imagination through his distinctive use of language and various means of poetic expression, and his unflagging literary production. He has published five collections of his own poetry, apart from one book of fiction, and five Bikol translations, while he has co-edited four poetry anthologies and one book of essays. It is this poetic vision and impulse that informs his infant, though already award-winning, career in the difficult and complex medium of film through which he is sure to expand his audiences.
And it is from this position of literary and artistic strength, quality of work, and cogency of vision that Kristian Sendon Cordero is poised to deliver his contributions to the culture and arts of the Southeast Asian region, to thereby help strengthen SEA’s location and posture as a distinct regional cultural center in a globalizing world.