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From Textbooks to Literary Memes: NMTL Launches Fun Literary Products

  • PublishTime:2023-05-24

by Chao Ching-Hwa, Meiyan Jin

NMTL has launched two new literary products - baseball bats and laptop bags, combining practicality, knowledge, and fun, to promote Taiwan literature in 2023.

As society grows more diverse and the promotion of cultural equality takes center stage, NMTL has been trying various lively and innovative methods to engage with the public and make Taiwan literature more accessible. NMTL strives to tell the stories of Taiwan literature in different contexts, through diverse literary activities which allow the audience to understand the authors and works from different perspectives, while planting the seed of literature in audiences’ hearts.

The baseball bat comes from a 1925 novel — A Lever Scale, by Taiwanese writer Lai Ho. In the novel, the lever scale is broken by the police, symbolizing the contradiction and fragility of fairness and justice. Nearly a century later, NMTL collaborated with local teams to use the concept of "memes" to transform the lever scale into a baseball bat. It is made of hard and dense maple, engraved with Lai Ho's handwriting and paired with various meaningful symbols to convey the literary forefather’s call for justice.

The inspiration for the laptop bag comes from the most famous textbook article on social media platforms, “Magnanimity”. The design uses the imagery of deep green grid lines and light green grid backgrounds, mimicking the keywords in the text, such as “chessboard”, “manuscript paper”, and “mung bean cake”. Through the simple and elegant narrative style, the design echoes the era of internet dominance with its rapid dissemination of information, and the spread of literature by netizens in everyday life.

This is NMTL's first attempt to expand and blur the boundaries of literature, taking material from well-known textbook articles and launching literary products with a strong meme style that surprises people. The products were warmly received, attracting not only die-hard supporters of Taiwan literature but also baseball enthusiasts and transcreation enthusiasts who enjoy flipping through texts.

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