To promote a more comprehensive understanding of Southeast Asian literature among Taiwan readers, the Ministry of Culture will invite Southeast Asia authors to visit Taipei, Tainan, and Taichung for a series of forums from March 2 through 6.
A total of six writers – Bảo Ninh, Ayu Utami, Nay Phone Latt, Norazimah Abu Bakar, Prabda Yoon, and Carlomar Arcangel Daoana – will join the five-day program exploring literary works by holding dialogue with Taiwanese writers to discuss historical, linguistic, and regional perspectives.
Bao Ninh, an internationally renowned Vietnamese novelist whose novel “The Sorrow of War” has been translated into fifteen languages, will share his insights on war and humanitarianism with Taiwan author Kan Yao-ming (甘耀明) in a forum titled “Reconstruction and Representation of War Memories.”
The next forum, titled “Postwar Memories: The Role of Literature in the Process of Democratization,” will feature Ayu Utami, an Indonesian writer who practices critical spirituality and embraces the importance of emotions while seeking justice in her novels. She will be exchanging talks with journalist Fang Hui-chen (房慧貞) in the first session of the forum.
The second session of “Postwar Memories” will feature writer Nathalie Chang (張亦絢) and Nay Phone Latt, a Burmese blogger, poet, and activist who plays an influential role in Myanmar’s modern society with his literary works. He was honored with the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award in 2010 for his efforts in promoting the freedom of expression.
Malaysian poet and editor Norazimah Abu Bakar has engaged in literary creation since the early 1990s and published two poetry collections titled “Melarik Malam” and “Langit, Bumi dan Lautan.” She will participate in the forum “Southern Perspective: On Ethnic Politics and Identity Issues through Poetry in Native Languages” with Atayal author Walis Nokan (瓦歷斯．諾幹).
Prabda Yoon – an author representative of postmodernist Thai literature whose works encompass short stories, novels, prose, and scripts – will converse with author Chung Wen-yin (鍾文音) in the forum “Literary Landscapes from the Tropical: Asia City Writing.” Last year, Yoon’s short story “The Sad Part Was” became the first Thai novel to be published by a British publisher.
The forum “Literary Landscapes from the Tropical: Daily Writings of Poetry” will feature Filipino poet Carlomar Arcangel Daoana and poet Ye Mimi (葉覓覓). Currently serving as featured author of The Philippine Star, Daoana has released four poetry collections, with “The Elegant Ghost” and “Crown Sonnet for Maria” winning the first and second prize of the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature.
The last forum, which also explores the topic “Southern Perspective: On Ethnic Politics and Identity Issues through Poetry in Native Languages,” will feature female poet-writer Bakar from Malaysia and poet Lee Chang-ching (李長青).
A round table conference featuring Yoon, Utami, Latt, publishing agent Hsu Tsai-chang (徐彩嫦), and publishing house founder Yen Shao-peng (顏少鵬) will wrap up the discussions on literary creation and the publishing environment in Southeast Asia and Taiwan.
In addition, pamphlets on select works by the featured Southeast Asian authors will be available in both Mandarin Chinese and its original languages for those who are interested in Southeast Asian literature to read and discuss. More information is available at the event website: “2018 Southeast Asian Literature Forum in Taiwan.”