On Nov. 12, the Taipei Marriott Hotel played host to the splendid ceremony for the Taiwan Literature Award. This year, there were a number of innovative changes to the awards ceremony, including not categorizing by genre to inspire new ways of thinking about the boundaries of literature and the addition of three awards for newcomers to encourage more people to join the literary field.
This year's inaugural Book of the Year award went to Chang Kuei-hsing's (張貴興) "Wild Boars Cross the River (野豬渡河)," while seven people including Lai Hsiang-yin (賴香吟) and Syaman Rapongan (夏曼藍波安) received the Golden Award. Hong Ming-dao (洪明道), Wang Tien-kuan (王天寬), and Yubo Cao (曹馭博) were each honored with a Best New Talent award. The National Museum of Taiwan Literature also supports scriptwriting and native-language works, granting awards for these as well.
Chang remarked that he was hesitant at first and wondered whether the award should be given a younger person, but then thought of how Picasso, in his older years, considered himself a newcomer. With this reminder that creators should always be thinking, pursuing breakthroughs, and seeking the truth, and thus always consider themselves newcomers, he accepted the award as a newcomer himself.
The judges praised "Wild Boars Cross the River" for the author's 17-year focus on a story that unfolds over the course of three years and eight months in North Borneo, creating an atmosphere of treachery, desire, and savagery set in the rainforest. The whole book is full of codes, like the titular wild boars serving as metaphors for invaders and effectively conjuring the Sino-barbarian dichotomy through jungle battles.
National Museum of Taiwan Literature director Su Shu-bin (蘇碩斌) stated that whether it was scriptwriting or new poetry in Taiwanese, Hakka, or even in Mandarin by indigenous writers, all are parts of the literary world that need encouragement. This is why this year's nominees and winners covered different ethnic groups, languages, and forms to nourish the roots of Taiwan's literary diversity.
To help cultural and artistic works find better commercial opportunities, the Ministry of Culture has identified many prospects for connecting the publishing sector with audiovisual producers. For example, from Nov. 12 to 14 at the Marriott Hotel, the "2019 X Media Match: From Book to Screen" will help unite image-based storytellers with word-based ones.
Interdisciplinary collaboration will lead the way for Taiwanese literature's entry into the film and television industry, alongside foreign translations for international book markets, effectively building upon the work that the Ministry of Culture has done in promoting the content economy in recent years.