N. V. M. Gonzalez

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Nestor Vicente Madali Gonzalez
NVM Gonzalez.jpg
Born September 8, 1915
Romblon, Philippines
Died November 28, 1999
Manila, Philippines
Spouse Narita M. Gonzalez
Parents Vicente Gonzalez

Pastora Madali

Nestor Vicente Madali Gonzalez (September 8, 1915-November 28, 1999) was a Filipino writer of fiction, poetry and essays and one of the National Artists of the Philippines for Literature. Celebrated internationally, his works have been published in Filipino, English, Chinese, German, Russian and Bahasa Indonesia.



Gonzalez was born on 8 September 1915 in Romblon, Philippines to Vicente Gonzalez, a school supervisor, and Pastora Madali, a teacher. When he was four or five, the family moved to Mindoro, where Gonzalez continued his education, later going to Mindoro High School. In his teens he began helping his father in his meat business by making deliveries. After taking and failing the University of the Philippines entrance examinations, he fell back on this work for a while, along with playing his violin. Yet he also began writing, walking for five hours from his home in Wasig to Mansalay where he could type his work at the municipal hall then send it to the Philippine Graphic.


He received first literary break when he won in the Graphic's literary contest for students sponsored for his essay on Theodore Roosevelt's 1934 visit to Calapan. He then went to Manila, where he met Francisco Arcellana, joined the Veronicans, and studied for two years at the National University and Manila Law College. In 1934, he left school and joined the Graphic, which first published his poetry at this time. He also edited for the Evening News Magazine and Manila Chronicle.

Despite his lack of a college degree, he was invited to teach English and the short story at the University of the Philippines after World War II ended. He received a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship in 1948, which allowed him to study at Stanford University, the Kenyon School of English and Columbia University. He was also able to travel throughout Asia and Europe.

After returning to the Philippines in 1950, Gonzalez taught at the University of Santo Tomas upon his return to the Philippines. He also taught at the Philippine Women's University, and finally at the University of the Philippines, where he contributed greatly to their creative writing programs.

Gonzalez was chairperson of the first University of the Philippines writer’s workshop, later to be known famously as the Ravens. Gonzalez was on the Board of Advisers of Likhaan: the University of the Philippines Creative Writing Center, a founding editor of The Diliman Review and the first president of the Philippine Writers’ Association.

From 1968 to 1983, he lived and worked in the U.S., starting with a stint as a visiting associate professor of English at the University of California in Santa Barbara. He also became a professor of English and Asian-American literature at the University of Washington from 1976 to 1979, professor emeritus at California State University, Hayward; and professor at University of California at Los Angeles’ Asian American Studies Center and English department. In 1986, he returned briefly to California as artist-in-residence of the Djarassi Foundation in Woodside, California.

On 14 April 1987, the University of the Philippines conferred on N.V.M. González the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, "For his creative genius in shaping the Philippine short story and novel, and making a new clearing within the English idiom and tradition on which he established an authentic vocabulary, ...For his insightful criticism by which he advanced the literary tradition of the Filipino and enriched the vocation for all writers of the present generation...For his visions and auguries by which he gave the Filipino sense and sensibility a profound and unmistakable script read and reread throughout the international community of letters..."

Gonzalez repeatedly won in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. He became the University of the Philippines’ first international writer-in-residence in 1988 and was proclaimed National Artist for Literature in 1997. He died on 28 November 1999 at the age of 84, survived by his widow Narita, with whom he had four children. His family founded the NVM Gonzalez Awards for the short story in his honor.



  • The Winds of April (Reissue). Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1997.
  • The Bamboo Dancers. Manila: Benipayo Press, 1957; first published in full in Diliman Review and Manila Times Sunday Magazine (three-part serial); Alan Swallow, 1961; translated into Russian, 1964; and Manila: Bookmark Filipino Literary Classics, 1992.
  • A Season of Grace. Manila: Benipayo, 1956; translated into Russian, 1974; translated into Bahasa Malaysia, 1988; Bookmark Filipino Literary Classics, 1992.
  • The Winds of April. Manila: University of the Philippines Press, 1941.

Short Fiction

  • A Grammar of Dreams and Other Stories. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1997.
  • The Bread of Salt and Other Stories. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1993; University of the Philippines Press, 1993.
  • Mindoro and Beyond: Twenty-one Stories. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1981; New Day, 1989.
  • Selected Stories. Denver, Colorado: Alan Swallow, 1964.
  • Look, Stranger, on this Island Now. Manila: Benipayo Press, 1963.
  • Children of the Ash-Covered Loam and Other Stories. Manila: Benipayo Press, 1954; Bookmark Filipino Literary Classics, 1992.
  • Seven Hills Away. Denver, Colorado: Alan Swallow, 1947.


  • A Novel of Justice: Selected Essays 1968-1994. Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts; and Anvil (popular edition), 1996
  • Work on the Mountain (Includes The Father and the Maid, Essays on Filipino Life and Letters and Kalutang: A Filipino in the World). Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1996.

Awards and Prizes

  • Regents Professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, 1998-1999
  • Philippines Centennial Award for Literature, 1998
  • National Artist Award for Literature, 1997
  • Oriental Mindoro Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution ("extending due recognition to Nestor V. M. González... the commendation he well deserves..." )1996
  • City of Manila Diwa ng Lahi award "for his service and contribution to Philippine national Literature," 1996
  • City of Los Angeles resolution declaring October, 11, 1996 "N.V.M. González Day, 1996
  • The Asian Catholic Publishers Award, 1993
  • The Filipino Community of California Proclamation "honoring N.V.M. González for seventy-eight years of achievements," 1993
  • Ninoy Aquino Movement for Social and Economic Reconstruction through Volunteer Service award, 1991
  • City and County of San Francisco proclamation of March 7, 1990 "Professor N.V.M. González Day in San Francisco," 1990
  • Cultural Center of the Philippines award, Gawad Para sa Sining, 1990
  • Writers Union of the Philippines award, Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtás, 1989
  • University of the Philippines International Writer-in-Residence, 1988
  • Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa) from the University of +the Philippines, 1987
  • Djerassi Foundation Artist-in-Residence, 1986
  • Philippine Foreign Service Certificate of Appreciation for Work in the International Academic and Literary Community, at San Francisco, 1983
  • Professor Emeritus of English, California State University, 1982
  • Carlos Palanca Memorial Award (Short Story), First Prize for 'The Tomato Game,' 1971
  • City of Manila Medal of Honor, 1971.
  • Awarded Leverhulme Fellowship, University of Hong Kong, 1969.
  • Visiting Associate Professorship in English, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1968.
  • British Council award for Travel to England, 1965.
  • Intemaciones Award for Travel in the Federal German Republic, 1965.
  • Philippines Free Press First Prize Award winner for Serenade (short story), 1964.
  • Rockefeller Foundation Writing Grant and Travel in Europe, 1964
  • Jose Rizal Pro-Patria Award for The Bamboo Dancers, 1961
  • Republic Cultural Heritage Award for The Bamboo Dancers, 1960
  • Carlos Palanca Memorial Award (Short Story), Third Prize winner for On the Ferry, 1959
  • Philippine Free Press Third Prize winner for On the Ferry, 1959
  • Republic Award of Merit for "the advancement of Filipino culture in the field of English Literature," 1954.
  • Carlos Palanca Memorial Award (Short Story), Second Prize winner for Lupo and the River, 1953
  • Rockefeller Foundation Study and Travel fellowship to India and the Far East, 1952
  • Carlos Palanca Memorial Award (Short Story), Second Prize winner for Children of the Ash-covered Loam, 1952
  • Rockefeller Foundation Writing Fellowship to Stanford University, Kenyon CollegeSchool of English, and Columbia University, 1949-1950
  • Liwayway Short Story Contest, Third Prize winner for Lunsod, Nayon at Dagat-dagatan, 1943
  • First Commonwealth Literary Contest honorable mention for The Winds of April, 1940

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