Taiwan will hold an international book exhibition from February 4 th to 9th in theTaipei World Trade Centre. This year Korea will be the guest of honour.
Last year more than half-a-million visitors peopled the fair. The fair was started in 1987 by the ministry of culture to give more opportunities for local writers and publishers to mingle across the globe.
This year, it will showcase 1 million books from 67 countries. The books cover a wide range of subjects — from manga to fiction, from academic titles to journalism.
Ghost stories have always captured our attention… now we find them wander into the speculative genre. We find these stories in literature from giants like Rabindranath Tagore with his haunted palace in The Hungry Stones to modern online writers like Xu Yunfeng, Taiwanese writer Ho Ching-yao and Singapore’s own Russell Lee.
Recently in Taiwan, an attempt is being made to popularise this genre and assimilate it into pop culture. An exhibition on ‘Taiwanese Paranormal Literature and Contemporary Art’ is afoot in Taipei City till September 15 th. The curators tell us the aim of the exhibition: “We hope to help restore the paranormal to its former position of importance in Taiwanese culture.”
Taiwan sits on a piece of colourful and multi-splendoured island real estate, south of Japan and east of Hong Kong and China. As an independent, sovereign nation since 1945, it has produced its share of Asian literature since the beginning of the Japanese Colonial Period (1895-1945) to the present. In this brief essay, I want to introduce two Taiwanese writers; one a novelist with an international reputation, Wu Ming-yi, who writes in Chinese, and the other a short story writer based in Taipei, Jane Wu, who writes in English and has recently published a collection of nine stories about the martial law period of Taiwan history (1949 to 1987).
Nature writer and university professor Wu Ming-yi (吳明益) wrote a popular novel titled The Man with the Compound Eyes in 2011, with translations in English and French following in 2013 and 2014. Largely ignored at first for the novel that was published in Chinese, Wu’s eco-fantasy later attracted attention overseas in translated editions, thanks for the eagle eye and savvy marketing skills of Taipei-based literary agent Gray Tan, who took Wu under his wing and introduced the novel to agents and publishers in Europe and America.