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Bienvenido Santos

novelist, poet, activist
Born: 3/22/1911
Birthplace: Manila, Philippines

A novelist, short story writer, poet, and activist, Santos's early writings were in the English language he learned at school, Tondo (the language of his mother's songs at home), and Tagalog (the native language of the Philippines). In 1932, he earned a B.A. from the University of the Philippines. Under the Philippine Pensionado program (a continuation of the U.S. one begun in 1903), Santos came to the University of Illinois for a master's degree in English. Later he studied at Harvard, Columbia, and, as a Rockefeller Foundation fellow, at the University of Iowa. His first two novels, Villa Magdalena and The Volcano, were published in the Philippines in 1965. Santos became an American citizen in 1976. One year later, the Marcos regime banned his novel about government corruption, The Praying Man, and he and his wife remained in San Francisco. Scent of Apples (1980), his only book to be published in the United States, won the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. He wrote more than a dozen books about exiles in both of his adopted countries, including the short story collections including You Lovely People (1955) and Brother, My Brother (1960).

Died: 1/7/1996

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