N.V.M. Gonzales (sometimes Gonzalez) was a renowned Filipino poet, short story writer, essayist and professor. Born Nestor Vicente Madali Gonzales, the famed writer is a Philippine National Artist for Literature. Gonzales is best known for his creative and stirring compositions.
Some of his major works include The Wind of April, The Bamboo Dancers and A Season of Grace.
Gonzales was born on September 8, 1915 in Romblon, at the time when the Filipino-American war is at its peak. Nevertheless, the American occupation of the Philippines helped Gonzales in honing his English writing skills and total command of the language.
Gonzales attended Mindoro High School from 1927 up to 1930. Shortly, he moved to Manila for his college education at the National University. Unfortunately, due to financial difficulties, Gonzales was not able to finish his bachelor’s degree.
Gonzales, however, was employed by several magazines and newspapers. During the early stages of his career, Gonzales wrote literary and journalistic pieces exclusively for three reputed publications, Philippine Graphic, Evening News Magazine and the Manila Chronicle.
In 1941, Gonzales released The Winds of April, which is considered by many to be Gonzales’ best work ever. The Winds of April made Gonzales one of the top writers in Philippine literature.
In 1948, Gonzales received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. He was sent to the United States to study in the famed Stanford University.
Two years later, Gonzales returned to the Philippines and taught English and creative writing classes in several schools including the University of the Philippines (UP) and the University of Santo Tomas (UST.)
Gonzales also worked as a professor in several colleges in the US including University of Washington, California State University and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA.)
For his massive contributions in the world of literature, Gonzales was awarded with honorary degrees and literary awards, both local and International. Some of Gonzales’ awards and prizes including several Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Award, the Asian Catholic Publishers Award and the Jose Rizal Pro-Patria Award for the Bamboo Dancers in 1961.
Two years before his death, Gonzales was proclaimed Philippine National Artist for Literature.
Apart from his literary endeavors, Gonzales was also a musician. He was good at playing the violin and guitar. In fact, Gonzales even made four guitars by hand during his teenage years.
Gonzales died in 1999 at the ripe age of 84. He was given a state funeral and buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Hero’s cemetery).