Ted Chiang is an American born Chinese writer , a technical writer in a software company, who has never written a novel, meandered through short stories and novellas and yet won multiple awards for his works. His telling centres around science fiction.
Chiang’s parents migrated from China to Taiwan with their families during the Communist revolution and then to America.
His 1998 novella, Story of my Life, was made into a Hollywood film, Arrival, in 2002 . Both the review and the movie were given a “10 out of 10” in the Kirkus Review. It’s major themes being language and determinism, the story is spun out by a linguist called Dr Loius Banks who has an unborn child in her womb and faces aliens. The novella has won numerous awards and accolades.
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.
Based as a newspaper reporter and climate blogger in Taiwan, since 2011 I’ve been promoting the rising ‘cli-fi’ movement to boost the literary fortunes of ‘climate change fiction’, a new genre of literature now accompanying ‘sci-fi’ within modern literature’s classification system. I’m not a novelist or a short story writer myself, just a reader and what I described as ‘a climate activist of the literary kind’. I use my PR skills learned over a lifetime of newspaper and magazine work in North America, Europe, Japan and Taiwan to communicate my cli-fi passion with editors, novelists, literary critics and fellow readers.
I’m not the only one doing this now. There’s a veritable army of PR people and literary critics shepherding cli-fi novels and short story anthologies into publication in over a dozen languages. What started out as a small movement in the anglophone world in 2011, has now become a global phenomenon among literary people in India, Singapore, Sweden, France and Australia. among other nations.
So what is cli-fi? As a subgenre of science fiction, it crosses the boundary between literary fiction and sci-fi to imagine the past, present, and future effects of man-made climate change, allowing readers to see what life might be like on a burning, drowning, dying planet. But the genre also encompasses writers who pen utopian novels and short stories full of hope and optimism. Cli-fi is not all dystopian and nightmarish visions of the future. There’s a lot of room for hope and better days, too.
A caregiver from Indonesia won the 2015 Taiwan Literature Award for Migrants Aug. 1, earning a cash prize of NT$100,000 (US$3,159) for her vivid portrayal of immigrant workers in Taiwan.
“Potret di Balik Bingkai Kasa Formosa,” or “Images Beyond the Frame of Formosa,” by Dwiita Vita earned the jury’s favor for its rich tapestry comprising the trials and tribulations of workers from Southeast Asia.
Competition for the second annual Taiwan Literature Award for Migrants (移民工文學獎) opened Sunday with the organizer calling for submissions.
Current or former migrant workers and immigrants in Taiwan and the children of these immigrants are eligible to participate in the award competition, which recognizes the poems, songs and stories of these individuals, according to the organizers.