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Miguel Syjuco

Miguel Syjuco was born in Manila in the Philippines and raised there and in Vancouver.  He earned a degree in English literature from Ateneo de Manila University.  In New York, he attended Columbia University where he completed an MFA in 2004.  As a journalist, he has worked for newspapers in the United States and Canada as well as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  Syjuco completed a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Adelaide while residing in Montreal.  His debut novel, Ilustrado, began winning awards even before it was published. Syjuco is a freelance writer and educator. His second novel, I Was The President’s Mistress!! A Celebrity Tell-All Memoir will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in April 2022.

Book Cover of Ilustrado



Toronto:  Hamish Hamilton Canada, 2010.
PS8637 .Y38 I48 2010

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

Miguel Syjuco’s debut novel, Ilustrado, opens with Crispin Salvador, lion of Philippine letters, dead in the Hudson River. His young student, Miguel, sets out to investigate the author’s fatal departure from his encroaching obscurity and the suspicious disappearance of an unfinished manuscript—a work that had been planned to not just return the once-great author to fame, but to expose the corruption behind rich families who have ruled the Philippines for generations.

Awards and Honours

2008 Man Asian Literary Prize (Winner)

2008 Palanca Award — Novel category (Winner)

2010 Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Fiction Prize (Quebec Writers’ Federation) (Winner)

Book cover of Finding the Words

Anthology (Prose)

Finding the Words: Writers on Inspiration, Desire, War, Celebrity, Exile, and Breaking the Rules

PS8373.1 .FR56 2011.

Syjuco, Miguel.  “Visitation.” In Finding the Words: Writers on Inspiration, Desire, War, Celebrity, Exile, and Breaking the Rules, edited by Jared Bland.  Toronto: Emblem, 2011, 286-297.


Publisher Hamish Hamilton Canada (an imprint of the Penguin Group)

Author profile by Juliet Waters in Quill & Quire (May 2010)

Interview by Brian Ascalon Roley in The Asian American Literary Review (17 May 2012)

Interview by Anna Georgia Mackay in the Griffith Review 49 (viewed 22 May 2021)