Philippine literary climate change book launched, called “Audacious, Groundbreaking”

Quezon City, June 24 – The first Philippine literary book on climate change was launched today in a jam-packed restaurant in Quezon City. Titled Agam, an early Filipino word for foreboding and memory, the book broke new ground with its collection of 26 images and 24 narratives in eight languages.

“In my 20 years as a journalist and editor this is the first time I’ve worked on such an issue using such an innovative approach. Many of the book’s writers have been part of noted anthologies but this is the first time they’ve worked on a literary piece on climate change. I was very humbled and happy that they took the direction and concept and just ran with it. The result is grand; the book is grand,” said Regina Abuyuan, the executive editor of Agam.

Over 100 people attended the event, surprising even Agam’s publisher, the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities. Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate’s Climate Change Committee, attended the launch and gave a short address. Among the notables are Dr.Michael Tan, Chancellor of University of the Philippines Diliman, Dr.Leoncio Amadore former PAGASA director,Kidlat Tahimik, a renowned filmmaker, and Yeb Sano from Climate Change Commission (CCC).

“I’m mighty pleased to be part of such an audacious, creative project, despite the harrowing nature of the issue we were asked to write about. The literary community must play a bigger role in getting more people thinking about and acting on climate change,” said Marjorie Evasco, an award-winning poet and one of Agam’s contributors.

“The book aims to contribute to the effort of “re-creating” and “re-articulating” the slow- onset impact of climate change through jargon-free creative narratives and images”, said Joel Saracho, theater artist, poet, former mediaman and another Agam contributor.

The book will be launched on June 28in Tacloban City, Leyte followed by launches in Berkeley, San Francisco and Manhattan, New York in July. It will be available in all branches of Powerbooks and major outlets of National Bookstore throughout the country.

Agam is composed of original creative narratives by 24 Filipino writers, minus the crutch of scientific and NGO jargon. Works were submitted in the languages of Tagalog, Waray, Maguindanao, Bikol, Ilocano, Cebuano, Sinama, and English, together with 26 images taken by the photographer Jose Enrique Soriano.

All proceeds from the sale of Agam will go to the RE-Charge project, an integrated solar and sustainable transport services and training facility that is being set up in Tacloban City. iCSC is a pioneering climate policy group that approaches big problems sideways, by incubating ideas, innovating approaches and implementing solutions.

Caption of the featured image:

June 24, 2014 – Manila, Philppines – Dignitaries and other personalities of the literary and journalism field gather in Victorinos restaurant in Quezon City for the launch of the book ‘Agam’ published by Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities June 24, 2014. 26 Images by Jose Enrique Soriano and 24 writers are featured in this book that tackles issues on climate change and stories of hope.

Photo by Veejay Villafranca for Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities.