The National Writers Workshop in Dumaguete is the oldest creative writing program in Asia. The Workshop has been directed for the past 50 years by National Artist for Literature Dr. Edith L. Tiempo, along with her husband and Workshop founder, the late Dr. Edilberto K. Tiempo. In 2009, Dr. Edith Tiempo was named Director Emeritus of the National Writers Workshop, now known as the Silliman University National Writers Workshop.
The Silliman University National Writers Workshop is the only three-week long writers workshop in the country, devoted to helping writers hone their craft in the genres of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama. As the longest running among the nation's writing workshops, the Silliman Workshop has trained several generations of writers, many of whom are now influencing the shape, direction, and development of Philippine literature. Over six hundred young writers have received the workshop fellowships, which are open for annual competitions. Many of these writers have won major prizes in the Don Carlos Palanca Literary Awards, the Philippine Graphic Literary Contest, and the Philippines Free Press Literary Contest, among others. With the workshop's integrity and tradition over the years, it has become a rite of passage for the country's finest writers.
Apart from Silliman University, over the years the Workshop has received support from the Ford Foundation, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the CAP Family of Companies, the Creative Writing Foundation, the Dumaguete Literary Arts (DuLA) Group, and various cultural institutes based in the United States ad Europe.
Last 2010 marked a milestone in the development of Philippine literature and the writing craft, as the Silliman University National Writers Workshop, headed by its first Director-in-Residence Dr. Rowena Tiempo-Torrevillas and the visionary Dr. Ben S. Malayang III, University President, first invited a writer beyond the Philippines to sit in as a guest panelist for a week to enrich the workshop by infusing Asian consciousness. The first international guest writer was Hong Kong's Xu Xi. For 2011, it is Singapore's Kirpal Singh.
Also in 2010, Silliman University welcomed the panelists, writing fellows, workshop alumni, and guests to the Writers Village at Camp Lookout, Valencia; its realization made possible through generous hearts.