Utzurrum: Proud Cebuano novelist

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

HOW proud the huge Abad clan must have been of one of their own—Spanish author Antonio M. Abad, born in Barili, Cebu, in 1894. Abad is the only author to have won the prestigious Premio Zobel Spanish Literary Award twice.

In 1926, he was given the honor for his book, El Ultimo Romantico, and in 1929, a repeat, for his literary masterpiece, La Oveja de Nathan (Nathan’s Sheep), an epic novel set against World War 1—ravaged Europe, resurgent America and 1920s Manila in the colonial era. In this historic novel, the Philippines is presented as the sacrificial lamb, lovingly nurtured by Spain, and coveted by powerful America.

Regarded as the worthy successor of Dr. Jose Rizal’s Noli and Fili, this magnum opus was awarded the Premio Zobel, the oldest, Literary Award in the country, founded in 1920 by Don Enrique Zobel de Ayala.


Don Enrique’s granddaughter, Doña Georgina Padilla Y Zobel de MacCrohon, now publisher and patron of the Premio Zobel was in Cebu recently to personally launch the book, now translated into English by well-known Hispanist and editor, professor Lourdes Castrillo-Brillantes.

The event, presented by the Amigos de España, was held at the Casino Español de Cebu, and attended by an array of Hispanic VIPs from Manila. Aside from Doña Georgina, there were Instituto Cervantes director Carlos Madrid, Jose Maria Fons and Gaspar Vibal, who were graciously welcomed by Amigos president Amparito Lhuillier, Amigos founder Jaime Picornell and of course, by Gemino Abad, son of literary great, Antonio Abad.

Cebu can indeed bask in the glory of this giant in the literary world, the Great Spanish Novelist after Rizal, Antonio M. Abad, enhorabuena!

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 10, 2014.


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