A 13-YEAR-OLD Filipina has bagged the Readers’ Choice Award in a white-dominated literary journal of the Ilisagvik College in the northernmost town of the United States.
Arshan Bucatcat emerged as the third Filipino to have won the award since the journal’s inception in 2012 in Barrow, Alaska.
A Readers’ Choice Award is given every year to a published material that merits enough votes from readers. Aglaun is read by the eight villages in the North Slope Borough and elsewhere in the world where the Internet is available.
Arshan joined two other Filipinos who earlier received the award. Pamela Balanza was the 2015 Readers’ Choice Awardee for her article “The Role of Women in the 19th and 20th Centuries,” while former People’s Journal foreign affairs news reporter Romeo Morales, now a resident of Barrow, Alaska, was the first Filipino writer to be recognized as the 2014 Readers’ Choice Awardee for his essay “Living in the Cold.”
Born in Sta. Rita, Samar, and the eldest of three girls, Bucatcat had moved with her her mom, Rina, a former policewoman in Novaliches, Quezon City, when she was only nine years old.
Arshan got 76 percent of the votes for her non-fiction story “Best Friend” for the 2017 spring edition of the Aglaun journal.
Last year, Arshan, a sixth grader of the Hopson Middle School and a voracious reader, got the Readers Award from the Heritage Library in Barrow (now Utqiagvik) for having read 90 books in a span of one year.
A multi-talented student who plays the piano, saxophone, and the ukulele, sings in the church choir and plays hockey, Arshan loves reading and writing the most.
Aglaun, a journal that allows writers, authors and artists from all races and of all ages a place to publish their works, is edited by writer and English professor Paul Douglas McNeill. He is assisted by Moema Umann, a filmmaker from Brazil who has an M.F.A. in directing that she earned in New York, and Myrna Loy Sarren, a native American and the publication’s editor.