Huang Fan (born 1950) is widely considered the preeminent postmodern prose stylist and urbanist writer of Taiwan. An industrial engineer by education and food processing director by trade, he catapulted to literary stardom at the age of thirty, when he won Taiwan’s 1979 Shibao Grand Literary Prize with Laisuo. At a time when most Taiwanese writers concerned themselves with Nativist rural fiction, Huang’s stories focused on Taipei’s urban malaise and political farce, effectively establishing the city as the new locus of literary attention. With a playfully sardonic voice, his groundbreaking short story “How to Measure the Width of a Ditch” repudiated the self-serious social realism that was then in vogue among the commercially successful novelists in Taiwan, while work like Impatient Country and Laisuo established him as a preeminent political satirist. Between the years 1993 and 2002, Huang retreated to a monastery and studied Buddhist scriptures, refusing all contact with the outside world. He returned to Taiwan’s literary scene with Impatient Country, College Thief, and Surmising a Cat.