Lucena, Tayabas, Captaincy General of the Philippines
|Died||1983 (aged 88–89)
|Education||University of the Philippines|
Born in 1894 in Lucena, Tayabas (now Quezon). Marquez – Benítez authored the first Filipino modern English language short story, Dead Stars, published in the Philippine Herald in 1925. Born into the prominent Marquez family of Quezon province, she was among the first generation of Filipino people trained in the American education system which used English as the medium of instruction. She graduated high school in Tayabas High School now, Quezon National High School. She was a member of the first freshman class of the University of the Philippines, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1912.
Two years after graduation, she married UP College of Education Dean Francisco Benítez with whom she had four children.
Márquez-Benítez later became a teacher at the University of the Philippines, who taught short-story writing and had become an influential figure to many Filipino writers in the English language, such as Loreto Paras-Sulit, Paz M. Latorena, Arturo Belleza Rotor, Bienvenido N. Santos and Francisco Arcellana. The annually held Paz Marquez-Benitez Lectures in the Philippines honors her memory by focusing on the contribution of Filipino women writers to Philippine Literature in the English language.
Although she only had one more published short story after "Dead Stars" entitled "A Night in the Hills," she made her mark in Philippine literature because the former is considered the first modern Philippine short story.
For Marquez-Benitez, writing was a lifelong occupation. In 1919, she founded "Woman's Home Journal," the first women's magazine in the country. Also in the same year, she and other six women who were prominent members of Manila's social elites, namely, Clara Aragon, Concepcion Aragon, Francisca Tirona Benitez, Carolina Ocampo Palma, Mercedes Rivera and Socorro Marquez Zaballero, founded the Philippine Women's College now Philippine Women's University. "Filipino Love Stories," reportedly the first anthology of Philippine stories in English by Filipinos, was compiled in 1928 by Marquez-Benitez from the works of her students.
When her husband died in 1951, she took over as editor of the Philippine Journal of Education at UP. She held the editorial post for over two decades.
In 1995, her daughter Virginia Benitez-Licuanan wrote her biography "Paz Marquez-Benitez: One Woman's Life, Letters, and Writings."
- Lichunan, Virginia Benitez. Paz Marquez Benitez: One Woman's Life, Letters, and Writings by Paz Marquez Benitez, Author Review by Helga E. Jacobson, The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 57, No. 2 (May, 1998), pp. 612–613, JStor.org, 2007, retrieved on: 17 June 2007