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Born and raised in Manila in 1976, Miguel Syjuco received a degree in Creative Writing from Columbia University and later completed a doctorate in literature from the University of Adelaide. His first novel, Ilustrado, won the grand prize for the 2008 Man Asia Literary Prize and has been translated into 16 languages. The novel's title refers to the Filipino educated class during Spanish colonial rule. Syjuco works as a visiting professor of Literature and Creative Writing at New York University Abu Dhabi and is a contributing opinion writer for the International New York Times.