• February 20, 2024

Google celebrates legendary Filipina writer Paz Marquez-Benitez on her 129th birthday with her very own Google Doodle.

Marquez-Benitez was born on March 3, 1894 to the prominent Marquez family in Lucena, Quezon. She is known for her pioneering work in literature and is famous for her work Dead Stars, the first modern short story written in English by a Filipino.

The Doodle features an illustration of Marquez-Benitez set against a field of shining stars, calling back to the title of the short story.

Framed as a somber and melancholic love story of the engaged lawyer Alfredo Salazar and the young and charming Julia Salas, Dead Stars is a deeper allegory critical of the American occupation and its effect on local culture and social norms.

Marquez-Benitez would go on to become a popular writing professor at the University of the Philippines until her retirement in 1951. Her work and tutelage at UP encouraged and inspired many students, who later became literary luminaries. These include Bienvenido Santos, Loreto Paras Sulit, and National Artist Francisco Arcellana. On top of this, Marquez-Benitez also founded what is now the Philippine Women’s University, advancing the cause of women’s education in the country.

“Google Philippines is proud to honor an important figure in Philippine literature, Paz Marquez-Benitez. Our rich literary heritage would definitely not be the same today without Marquez-Benitez’s impactful contributions, not only with her creations, but also with her valuable mentorship of a long line of writers in the country,” said Mervin Wenke, Head of Communications and Public Affairs for Google Philippines.

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