The winners of the 2019 Taiwan Literature Award were named on Oct. 25, with the much-awaited Book of the Year award given to Chang Kuei-hsing's (張貴興) "Wild Boars Cross the River (野豬渡河)," selected from 147 outstanding candidates for the award and NT$1 million in prize money.
Hong Ming-dao's (洪明道) "Waiting (等路)" and Wang Tien-kuan's (王天寬) "Khui Pang King (Room for Rent, 開房間)" were also awarded both the Golden Award and the Best New Talent award in the Book Category.
Overall, the Book Category saw one recipient of the Book of the Year, seven Golden Award winners, and three Best New Talent winners, culminating in a total of 11 awards bestowed on nine people. Each of the seven Golden Award winners will receive a trophy and prize money of NT$150,000:
Hong and Wang were also two of the three Best New Talent recipients, along with Yubo Cao (曹馭博) for "I'm Afraid of Roof Tiles (我害怕屋瓦)." Each of the three will receive a trophy and NT$150,000 in prize money.
The jury remarked that the Book of the Year winner, "Wild Boars Cross the River," presented the Sarawak village of Krokop under Japanese rule period through magnificent prose, engagingly evoking the humanistic drive to survive in the tropical rainforest, the brutality of the occupiers, the resistance of the locals, the tyranny of nature, and the illusions and myths brought by opium. The judges gave it high praise and unanimously chose to honor Chang with the Book of the Year award.
As for native-language literature, a total of seven recipients were selected for four awards, with the judges choosing from 77 submissions the winners of one Best Script and two each in the Best Taiwanese-Language Poetry, Best Hakka-Language Poetry, and Best Indigenous-Language Poetry awards.
The judges were impressed by the diversity in format, profound subject matter, strong structure, and qualitative excellence of this year's winners, which showcase the ongoing endurance and achievements of both established and rising Taiwanese writers. The only regret is that the number of submissions has remained flat; there is hope that more new faces will emerge in the future, as there is still much room for growth.
Chen Yuxin's (陳禹心) "The Angle of Cutting a Melon (切瓜的角度)" took the Best Script award and NT$300,000. The Best Taiwanese-Language Poetry award was won by Wang Yong-cheng's (王永成) "Cloth Bag (布袋)" and Tseng Mei-man's (曾美滿) "Lost Letters (失落的批信)"; the Best Hakka-Language Poetry award went to Chang Fang-ci's (張芳慈) "Wall (牆系列組詩)" series and Wang Qian-hui's (王倩慧) "Send Some Soil from Home (送分ngai⌵故鄉个泥肉)"; the Best Indigenous-Language Poetry award went to Huang Xi's (黃璽) "12 Todays (十二個今天)" and Yu Yue-sheng's (游悅聲) "Bayes (Bayes)."
Each of these winners will receive a trophy and NT$100,000. Moreover, both Yu Yue-sheng and her sister Yu Yi-te (游以德) were in the running for the same award, with the latter having taken the Best Aboriginal Prose in Mandarin award last year.
The official awards ceremony will be held on Nov. 12 at the Taipei Marriott Hotel starting at 7pm. This year’s winning works will also be available in collected form as "Peak: Taiwan Literature Golden Award Winners 2019 (2019臺灣文學金典獎作品集)," due to be published in mid-November.