Bienvenido N. Santos was a novelist born in the slums of Manila. He wrote in English, chronicling the trials and tribulations of Filipinos in exile. His novel "The Praying Man" was banned in the 1970s by the government of Ferdinand E. Marcos. Its depictions of political corruption offended the Marcos regime, leading Santos into voluntary exile in the United States.Continue Reading
Born in 1911, Santos grew up in the notorious Tondo slum district of Manila. Departing for the United States in 1941, he studied English on a Filipino government scholarship at the University of Illinois, Columbia and Harvard.
During World War II, Santos began working for the Philippine government in exile in Washington and spoke on the spirit of Filipino resistance. After the war, his novel "The Volcano" examined an emerging anti-Americanism in the Philippines. He was a Rockefeller Foundation fellow and a Fulbright professor at the University of Iowa. His other awards included a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, an American Book Award and the Philippine Republic Cultural Heritage Award.
While he was a writer in residence from 1973 to 1982 at Wichita State University, Santos became an American citizen. He made his first visit home from exile after the lifting of martial law in 1981. From 1986 to 1987, he was a visiting writer and artist at De La Salle University. He died at 84 at his family's home in the Northern Philippines. Santos' works include six novels, several short fiction collections, two volumes of poetry and four collections of non-fiction.Learn more about Literature