Akda: The Asian Journal of Literature, Culture, Performance


creative writing, contact zone, discursive space, critical pedagogy


The Silliman University National Writers Workshop’s (SUNWW) historical circumstance has been implicated in the Cold War. As such it is accused of perpetuating colonial ideas on language and literary production. Its use of New Criticism is said to be detrimental to nation-building as this critical pedagogy is seen to be ahistorical and apolitical. This paper investigates the Workshop space and critiques the actual workshop discussions in the years 2019 and 2021. The explorations reveal that the Workshop is a discursive space, a “contact zone” where its participants are always engaged in the act of negotiating ideas about craft, literature and its functions, writing and social responsibility, the reader and its role in interpretation, writers and their agency, reading and criticism. It is a space that affords many possibilities of revisioning and repurposing of these ideas. It is a space of negotiation, meaning-making, and consensus.