Li Ang (李昂), one of Taiwan's most provocative writers and a female social critic no less, currently holds the title of having the most number of translated publications overseas. Her 1983 novel, "The Butcher's Wife (殺夫),” has been released in over 10 different languages, including French, German, and Japanese.
Philosophy and drama
As the youngest daughter of her family, Li has two sisters － Shi Shu-ching (施淑青) and Shi Shu (施淑) － who are also notable writers and literary critics based in Taiwan. Following in the footsteps of her sisters, Li has cultivated an interest in writing since her youth.
At the age of 16, Li officially entered Taiwan's literary circle by publishing her first short story "Flower Season (花季).” She studied philosophy at the Chinese Culture University, and pursued a master's degree in drama at the University of Oregon-Eugene. After returning to Taiwan, Li continued writing while teaching drama at university level, and began producing numerous works concerning contentious topics.
Sex, food, and politics
Growing up during the transition period of post-war Taiwan, Li's writing is primarily dominated by the transformation of society, reflecting her view on gender, ethics, and politics. In her early works, she expressed her hatred for the strict educational system in Taiwan and her longing for freedom through stream of consciousness narratives.
During the 1970s, Li started to explore the role of women in society from the female perspective. The themes span from coming of age to love, sexuality, and moral values. Then, throughout the 1980s, Li began to raise public awareness on broader social issues such as women's rights.
She first made her controversial voice known through "The Butcher's Wife” in 1983, a story of an orphaned heroine who is forced to marry a brutally sadistic butcher in a small patricidal town. The shocking story of sexual oppression and domestic violence evoked outrage in conservative Taiwan at that time.
In her following works, sexuality is often explored and discussed in depth, using vivid imagery and disturbing themes to provoke polarized opinions and discourse.
Li has stated her purpose in writing is to get people more involved with ongoing social issues, many of which are considered taboo to discuss. In recent years, her writing has shifted along with the changes in society. Much of the darkness that used to dominate her previous works has faded, and she now writes with a different approach as she sees today's society in a new light.