Jose Ayala

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Jose V. Ayala, Jr. was born on 22 April 1932 in Ermita, Manila. He was a poet, a fictionist and a painter. His wife, Tita Lacambra is also a poet/fictionist and one of their children, Joey Ayala, is a well-known poet, composer and singer. He finished biology at the Ateneo de Manila and agriculture at the UP Los Baños, Laguna. After teaching and farming for several years, he worked as an advertising copy editor, editor for the US Information Service, and writer and fiction editor for the Philippine Free Press. He had since settled in Davao City and managed a plantation. Ayala’s stories had been disseminated here and overseas, in publications like Short Story International, Asia Magazine, and a literature textbook published by Scott, Foresman and Co. He wrote several collections of poems that include Heart of Summer, 1961 and Poems for the Country of E, 1990, as well as a number of plays and essays. His stories won in the Palanca Awards and Philippine Free Press literary contest. His works as a painter have been acquired by the National Museum and private collectors. By way of introduction to Jose V. Ayala, I will read to you a few paragraphs from a biographical sketch written for an issue of the Road Map Series that featured some of his more notable visual works. The biography was aptly entitled “Something Curious Happened to Joe Ayala”, to wit: “In the Sixties he was one of the country’s leading short story writers in English, depicting with existential realism the life of the peasant farmer, the dockworker, the priest and the deranged convent girl, a government man, beauty and beast in a circus, prisoners in a lonely mountain-locked existence. He won major prizes for his works some of which were printed in Asia and elsewhere. He was reprinted twice in Short Story International. He was in his mid-thirties. Then early in the Seventies, and as abruptly as he quit smoking five packs of Kent a day, he stopped writing and began to paint.”1 The truth is, he never...
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