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TLB Encourages Creators to Apply for New Writers-in-Residence Program

  • PublishTime:2024-01-24

By Wen Hsi-Hsin, Melanie A. Leng

In 2021, the Taipei branch of the NMTL, the Taiwan Literature Base (TLB), launched the Writers-in-Residence (WiR) Program, inviting writers to live in the Japanese-style dwelling on the premises. This project has brought new life to the Muse Garden, which had been uninhabited for more than 20 years, and integrated both literature and historical buildings into the local community.

Located among historical groups of buildings in a special reserved zone along Qidong Street, the TLB has been open since 2021. To date, 40 creators have taken up short-term residencies within its walls, including novelists, poets, journalists, film screenwriters and directors, painters, dancers, and multimedia artists. Residencies last from 7 to 30 days, as the resident creator works on their projects and regularly interacts with visiting readers. These interactions include sharing their latest observations and reading experiences, and even designing activities for visitors to participate in their creative process.

The WiR Program is open to both domestic and foreign applicants. This has given many creators from abroad the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with Taiwan. As the program enters its fourth year, more and more creators from overseas are choosing the TLB as their creative base. One such creator is Hong Kong detective novelist Albert Tam (譚劍), who not only requested his publishing house release his new work specifically during his residency period at the TLB, but also took on the role of a friendly ambassador for the TLB, chatting with visitors about literature and history.

Laura Wang (王學慧), from New York, USA, came to Taiwan to experience the "immigrant" experience of her ancestors in America, using her limited Mandarin vocabulary to explore the unfamiliar. This cross-language, cross-cultural experience was both poetic and meaningful for her. Ian Rowen, an associate professor at National Taiwan Normal University who is well-versed in Taiwanese culture and social history, held an exchange event on weekends, inviting interested individuals to read and discuss the Mandarin and English versions of Ghost Town. He also shared his observations on the introduction of Taiwan literature around the world.

The most recent residents include Gillian Jin (金其琪), from China, Florent Chavouet, from France, Yee Wa Lau (劉綺華) and Page Fung Bak Kui (沐羽) from Hong Kong, as well as Alice Šajtarová from the Czech Republic, who will begin her residency this spring. These writers are sure to bring abundant creative energy and inspiration during their stay in Taiwan. Whether they then return to their home countries or embark on the next leg of their journey, they will carry unforgettable memories and experiences that will allow Taiwan culture to make its mark in the world and broaden the horizons of literature for everyone.

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