National Literature Month

By Sharon Schweitzer


The National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA), alongside Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) and National Book Development Board – Philippines, will lead the celebration of National Literature Month this April with the theme, “Ang Panitikan at Kapayapaan.”

Former President Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino III signed Proclamation No. 968 on February 10, 2015, declaring the month of April of every year as “National Literature Month.” According to a press release from the NCCA, this year’s theme, “Ang Panitikan at Kapayapaan,” serves the purpose of paving the way to freely discussing the importance and contribution of literature in maintaining and spreading peace in the country and in the communities. 

April was chosen because the month marks the commemoration of the Francisco “Balagtas” Baltazar Day, and the birth and death anniversaries of literary icons such as Emilio Jacinto, Paciano Rizal, Nick Joaquin, Edith Tiempo and Bienvenido Lumbera. Also, international literary celebrations such as International Children’s Book Day, International Day of the Book or World Book Day, and World Intellectual Property Rights Day are being celebrated this month as well. 

In 2021, National Literature Month featured webinars that explored the significance of Christianity in the history of Philippine literature dating back to April 1521. Through this, the discourse on the concept of peace will be enriched and the role of literature in society will spread and be conveyed to people. 

To celebrate this month, here are some fun facts about literature:

  1. We all know the smell of old books is glorious, but there’s some interesting science behind it too! Over time, the gradual breakdown of the cellulose and lignin in the paper leads to the production of large amounts of various organic compounds. The odor these compounds produce varies depending on where the book was printed, the paper and ink types, and how long the book has been degrading.
  2. The Alnarp Library in Sweden has a 217-volume collection of wooden books called The Tree Library. Each book describes a specific tree—its binding is bark, moss, and lichens found on that species and the book interiors hold more natural surprises. They made books in Germany during the 19th century.
  3. Of Mice and Men was originally titled Something That Happened.
  4. Abibliophobia – the fear of running out of reading material.
  5. The Neverending Story not only ends but is estimated to be only around 96,000 words. It was also written by Michael Ende.
  6. William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury includes a 600-word section that has no punctuation!
  7. Avid reading throughout a lifetime may reduce the rate of memory decline by as much as 32%.
  8. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is the first book written with a typewriter.
  9. The Harvard University library has four law books bound in human skin.
  10. The name Wendy was made up for the book Peter Pan. There was never a recorded Wendy before.


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Sharon Schweitzer JD, is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Sharon served as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

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