The tumultuous recent history of Taiwan surprisingly gave the islands unusually diverse cultures. People immigrated to Taiwan for all kinds of reasons, from missionaries sent to pass on their gospels, businessmen developing new markets, workers seeking bigger money, to refugees running from wars or dissidents looking for asylum. Thus memories of the lost past are a motif of Taiwanese literature and a powerful approach for writers to deal with issues inconvenient to confront face to face. These issues include regime transfer, political oppression, faiths, sexuality, family values, urbanization, fantasies, misunderstanding, cultural clashes and discrimination.
Colonialism and poverty are still living experiences and simultaneously memories to many Taiwanese. In literary works, the (dis)continuation of tradition and values are the ever present focus. In these four stories, the authors have successfully woven layers of messages through intriguing plots, characters and metaphors. With extraordinary artistry, they (re)present elaborate human natures.
These are the stories of ordinary people who refuse to succumb to hardship or inequality. They are unsinkable Taiwanese.
Walis Nokan is an Atayal writer originally from the Mihuo tribe. His literary writing sharply points out the deprived and dispossessed status of indigenous peoples in Taiwan, as well as the injustice indigenous peoples all over the world are facing throughout their history. Nourished by his indigenous inheritance, Walis established an unparalleled career in the Taiwanese literary scene. He has published numerous reportage, fiction and poetry, and has received prominent literary awards including the Wu Zhuo-Liu Literature Prize, the Taipei Literature Award, and the United Daily News Prize, among many others. Walis Nokan’s reportage Losin Wadan: Colonialism, Tribal Communities and Individuals(1994) was his investigation and reviews of the indigenous victims during the period of White Terror in Taiwan, and his collections of stories,Cruelty of Wars (2014), and Seven-Day Reading (2016), lead readers to look into the unspeakable misery of indigenous peoples in the relentless historical and social incidents.
Gan Yao-Ming majored Chinese literature at Tunghai University and earned a master’s degree in Creative Writing from the Dept. of English Literature, National Dong Hwa University. Before becoming a full-time fiction writer, Gan had worked as a reporter, a middle school teacher, and a playwright of a small theater.
Widely recognized as one of the best authors of his generation, Gan Yao-Ming has received various literary awards, including the United Daily News Literature Prize, the Lin Rong-San Literature Prize, Wu Zhuo-liu Literature Prize, and the United Daily New Novelist Prize.
In 2010, his novel Killing Ghosts won the Award of Taipei International Book Fair, and in 2015, his The Pangcah Girl won the First Prize of Taiwan Literary Award, which is deemed the highest honor for literary writers in Taiwan.
Lin Chun-Ying‘s literary works are credited and loved by his readers because of the extraordinary beauty contained in his words. In 1991 he published his first collection of short stories, The Longest Summer, which immediately built his name in the Taiwanese literary Scene. In addition to issues regarding the history and urban/rural lives in Taiwan, Lin experiments with his mother tongue—the Taiwanese dialect that has been repressed and forgotten. His other collections of short stories include A Burning Notebook (1997), Those Good Women (2005) and The Garden of Mirrors (2006), among others. His novel, My Nostalgia That I Dare Not Speak Its Name,(2012) received the Award of Taipei International Book Fair, the Golden Tripod Award, and was the finalist of the 2012 Taiwan Literature Award. His latest work, Formosa Heat, a novel, won the 2018 Taiwan Literature Award, the highest honor of Taiwanese literature.
Luo Yi-Chun is one of the most acclaimed Taiwanese writers. His works include novels, short stories, essays, and poetry. Luo Yi-Chun is the recipient of numerous awards, including the United Daily Literature Prize (1988,1990, 2003, 2004), and the China Times Literature Award (1991, 1999), among many others. His most ambitious novel, the two volumes of Western Xia Hotel won the Taiwan Golden Tripod Award (2009), Golden Medal of Taiwan Literature Award (2009), and the Hong Kong Red Chamber Literature Award (2010). In 2007 Luo Yi-Chun was one of the writers-in-residence for the International Writing Program hosted by the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Luo Yi-Chun is a prolific writer; his latest anthologies of essays Innocent Worries and Cab Drivers were published in 2018.