The 129th birthday of Filipino author, editor, and educator Paz Márquez-Bentez is commemorated in today’s Doodle. She helped to develop Philippine literature and taught a lot of the country’s most prominent writers throughout her career. Dead Stars, her first English-language short story, is widely regarded as her masterpiece.
On this day in 1894, Márquez-Bentez was born into a family of educators in Lucena, Quezon. She was an academic prodigy who enrolled in high school at the age of nine and received high praise for her English proficiency. After that, she went to Manila’s Philippine Normal University, where she found her passion for writing. Márquez-Bentez went to the University of the Philippines’ College of Liberal Arts, which had just been established two years earlier, and he graduated in 1912.
In 1925, she used her platform to write Dead Stars after returning to her alma mater as a writing teacher. The two main characters in the short story represent American imperialism, and Márquez-Bentez was a strong supporter of independence and the preservation of Philippine heritage. As a national literary work, it received critical acclaim after being published in the Philippines Herald.
She was a mentor to a lot of writers who went on to become famous. In 1928, she put together the first English-language collection of stories from the Philippines, Filipino Love Stories. Márquez-Bentez helped establish the Philippine Women’s University in addition to these accomplishments. She also edited the Philippines’ first women’s magazine, Women’s Home Journal, and the Philippine Educational Magazine.
The annual Márquez-Bentez Lecture and Exhibit is now held at the Ateneo Library of Women’s Writings to honor Filipino women writers who contributed to English-language Philippine literature. Virginia Bentez Licuanan, her daughter, wrote Paz Márquez-Bentez: In 1995, her letters and diary entries were included in One Woman’s Life, Letters, and Writings.
Paz Márquez-Benitez, Happy Birthday!
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