F. Sionil Jose Passes Away

F Sionil Jose

National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose passed away yesterday, January 6, 2022. He was 97 years old.

The news was announced by the Philippine Center of International Poets, Essayists, Novelists, an organization that Jose founded. The group said in a statement, “Jose died Thursday evening at the Makati Medical Center where he was supposed to undergo an angioplasty Friday Jan. 7, according to his wife, Tessie Jovellanos Jose. Tessie said Jose apparently died in his sleep. He was declared dead at 9:30 p.m.”

It was also confirmed by Jose’s Facebook account. According to a post, “Our father passed away peacefully this evening. Many years ago, he told us this is what he wants written about him: “He wrote stories and he believed in them.”

The National Artist also wrote a short essay on Facebook prior to passing away.

It reads:

“Thank you brave heart. There are times when as an agnostic I doubt the presence of an almighty and loving God. But dear brave heart you are here to disprove this illusion, to do away with the conclusion that if you doubt Him, you kill Him. I cannot kill you dear heart; you have to do that yourself. For 97 years you have been constantly working patiently pumping much more efficiently and longer than most machines. Of course, I know that a book lasts long too, as the libraries have shown, books that have lived more than 300 years.”

The essay ends, “Now, that I am here in waiting for an angioplasty, I hope that you will survive it and I with it, so that I will be able to continue what I have been doing with so much energy that only you have been able to give. Thank you dear brave heart and dear Lord for this most precious gift.”

Jose is a writer whose works explore class struggles and colonialism in Filipino society. One of his best-known works is the Rosales saga, which is made up of The Pretenders, Tree, My Brother, My Executioner, Mass, and Po-on. According to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the saga “captures the sweep of Philippine history while simultaneously narrating the lives of generations of the Samsons whose personal lives intertwine with the social struggles of the nation.”

The author has received a series of works throughout his lifetime, including the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature (five times), the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Centennial Award, France’s Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres, and Chile’s Pablo Neruda Centennial Award. In 2001, Jose was recognized as a National Artist for Literature.

Today, Jose is one of the most widely-read Filipino authors in the English language. His works have been translated into 28 languages.

WheninManila.com sends its condolences to Jose’s family.

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