Last 2009, children’s book writer Mae Astrid Tobias succumbed to lupus just months after celebrating her 30th birthday. Her early death came as a shock to her family and friends, but her well-lived life, however brief, became a source of inspiration.
In her writing career, Astrid has written television scripts, feature articles, and children’s books acclaimed by the Palanca Awards for Literature and the National Book Award. An active member and past president of KUTING (Kuwentista ng mga Tsikiting), the premier organization of Filipino writers for children, Astrid spearheaded several projects enriching the local literary scene.
Today, her family continues her legacy by sponsoring the 1st Mae Astrid Tobias Writing Workshop for Children, a three-day seminar mentoring ten young fellows from the UP Integrated School, or UPIS, of which Astrid is an alumnus. With the help of KUTING members, also seasoned writers, students are given the basics of writing for children, as well as individual, constant consultations with their mentors.
At the end of the seminar, students are expected to submit their polished short stories or poems, which will be submitted to Astrid’s family, who reserves the right to publish their works.
With the workshop, Astrid’s passionate advocacy for children’s literature lives on, carried on by the country’s future breed of writers.