Under the newly launched Emerald Initiative, an international grants and collaborative program, the Ministry of Culture will help publish the first bilingual collection of short stories co-written by Taiwanese and Malaysian authors.
Mohd Khair Ngadiron, chief executive officer of the Malaysian Institute of Translation and Books, visited Taipei at the invitation of the Taipei Chinese Center, the Taiwanese branch of P.E.N. International. The two sides are scheduled to sign a memorandum of understanding on Nov. 30, detailing collaboration in publishing Taiwanese and Malaysian fiction, and plans to work together by translating each other’s literary classics.
The collaboration is the first official contact between Taiwanese and Malaysian literature, said Chen I-chih, secretary-general of the Taipei Chinese Center. The two institutes will each select short stories written by six local authors and organize a workshop for the twelve participants to discuss the bilateral translations of the first-ever Chinese-Malay literary collection.
In the past, Taiwan’s literary sector focused more on exchanges with the English-speaking world and the Japanese and Korean literary communities, according to Chen. Through this collaborative initiative, however, Malaysia will soon gain a window of insight into Taiwan’s literature. Furthermore, the translation project is expected to provide inspiration to writers in both countries.
To deepen Taiwan’s understanding of Southeast Asian nations and to foster closer exchanges with the region, the Ministry launched the Emerald Initiative earlier this year to invite Southeast Asian experts to Taiwan to organize exhibitions, hold performances, shoot films, and participate in other cultural and creative endeavors.
A good portion of the Emerald Initiative is dedicated to encouraging literary translations of Chinese-language books into Southeast Asian languages to promote Taiwan literature, and to help deepen readers’ understandings through the contemporary issues, social aspects and cultural customs described in the translated publications.
The Ministry is currently accepting applications for the 2014 Emerald Initiative; click here for more information.