Writer and journalist Kerima Polotan Tuvera, 85

By Juaniyo Arcellana, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 21 2011 02:44 PM | Updated as of Aug 21 2011 10:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Kerima Polotan Tuvera, former editor in chief of Focus Philippines magazine and the Evening Post newspaper, died Friday night after a lingering illness. She was 85.

Polotan won four first prizes at the Palanca awards, and also garnered prizes in the Philippines Free Press short story contest as well as the Stonehill award for the novel in 1961.

She was a regular panelist at the Silliman University Writers Workshop in the 1960s, and sometimes wrote under the pseudonym Patricia S. Torres.

Among her books, as listed in the Umpil Directory of Filipino Writers, were the novel Hand of the Enemy (1962), Stories, a Collection (1966), Author’s Choice (1972, essays), and Adventures in a Forgotten Country (1975, essays). One of her last books was The True and the Plain (UP Press), a memoir of childhood. The City of Manila also conferred on her the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan award.

Born in Jolo, Sulu in December 1925, Polotan was the widow of writer and newsman Juan Tuvera, presidential speechwriter during the Marcos years. They had 10 children.

According to Polotan’s daughter Kimi, the wake will be at the Funeraria Paz Sucat, inside Manila Memorial Park for at least two more nights waiting for kin to arrive from abroad.

Polotan Tuvera had suffered a stroke and was wheelchair bound for the last months.

A day before her death a former Focus literary winner, Romy Navarro visited her residence in Sun Valley Parañaque but just missed her. She had been taken to the hospital for a checkup.

According to a STAR deskman, Kerima was such a taskmaster at the Evening Post that she levied fines on the desk whenever a grammatical or factual error saw print in the paper.

At Focus her associate editor was Doris Trinidad, another well loved writer.

But Kerima Polotan will be best remembered for her stories, essays and work at Focus, whose literary awards helped start many writers’ careers.