Bienvenido L. Lumbera was born on April 11, 1932. He spent most of his youth in Batangas until he entered the University of Santo Tomas in 1950 to pursue a degree in journalism. He completed his M.A. and then his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Indiana University in 1967. Sir Bien, as he is often affectionately called, writes in English and Filipino, and has produced works in both languages. He has a poetry collection entitled Likhang Dila, Likhang Diwa (1993), and Balaybay: Mga Tulang Lunot at Manibalang, a collection of new poems in Filipino and those from Likhang Dila. He has several critical works, including Abot-Tanaw: Sulyap at Suri sa Nagbabagong Kultura at Lipunan (1987) and Writing the Nation/Pag-akda ng Bansa (2000). He has also done several librettos, among them Tales of the Manuvu (1977) and Rama Hari (1980). Sa Sariling Bayan: Apat na Dulang May Musika (DLSU, 2003) collects the four historical musicals Nasa Puso ang Amerika, Bayani, Noli Me Tangere: The Musical, and Hibik at Himagsik Nina Victoria Laktaw.
Sir Bien has been a recipient of numerous awards, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts in 1993, the Gawad CCP, Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas, Manila Critics' Circle, Palanca, and Professor Emeritus. This year, for all his creative and critical work directed towards a literature rooted in the search for nationhood, Dr. Lumbera also received the much-coveted title of National Artist for Literature.