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Turning Points: Women Writers from Taiwan

August 2016

Image: Eleen Lin, “Oracle”, 2015, 105 x 84 in., Watercolor, gouache, acrylic, ink, lead, pastel, and charcoal on paper. © Eleen Lin. Courtesy of the artist.

This month we present new work by women writers from Taiwan. In prose, poetry, and drama, the six authors here focus on characters on the cusp of change, displaying an astute sense of decisive moments and their role in shaping relationships. On his way to an aboriginal village wedding, Shih Chiung-Yu’s young man recalls the harrowing secret he shares with the disgraced bride. Su Wei-chen charts the ragged grief of a new widow escorting her husband on his final journey. Qiu Miaojin, the first openly lesbian writer in Taiwan, depicts the thrilling moment when a teenage girl finally gets her crush alone. Hsia Yü charts the quotidian in a partnership both personal and professional. Playwright Shen Wan-ting’s two-hander finds an Indonesian caretaker comforting her elderly charge the night before parting. And Ye Mimi offers a seasonal gift. We thank guest editor Jeremy Tiang, who contributes an introduction and two translations. 

Literary Heroes: Women Writers from Taiwan
By Jeremy Tiang
Taiwanese women have proved adept at carving out spaces for themselves.
From “The March of Time”
By Su Wei-chen
“Whatever kind of person you were, that’s the kind of ghost you’ll be.”
Translated from Chinese by Jeremy Tiang
From “Notes of a Crocodile”
By Qiu Miaojin
“What if we ran out of things to talk about?”
Translated from Chinese by Bonnie Huie
From “Qibla”
By Shen Wan-ting
“I’m sorry. I’ll change your pants right away.”
Translated from Chinese by Jeremy Tiang
From “The Ringing of the Rain has a Forgiving Grace”
By Ye Mimi
I am willing to carve you a ten-second slice of winter.
Translated from Chinese by Steve Bradbury
We Deliver More Than We Promise
By Hsia Yü
I’m the pig, I said, you’re just an idiot
Translated from Chinese by Steve Bradbury
Wedding in Autumn
By Shih Chiung-Yu
Even when she spoke, she mumbled, like her voice was stuck in her throat.
Translated from Chinese by Darryl Sterk