Skip to main content

Abundance in Literature ── Eight Works Receive 2023 Taiwan Literature Awards for Books

  • PublishTime:2023-11-28

By Chao Ching-Hwa, Melanie A. Leng

The Taiwan Literature Awards (TLA) for Books, which has received much attention from readers of Taiwan literature, announced this year's winners on October 30th and held an awards ceremony on November 11th. From this year’s total of 191 works, the seven-judge panel first shortlisted 30 works before selecting a final winner for the TLA Annual Golden Grand Laurel Award and a prize of NT$1 million (approximately $120,000 US dollars). Seven works were also selected for the TLA Golden Book Award, and three for the TLA New Bud Award.

This year's grand prize winner went to The Book of Wreckage by renowned prose writer Chen Lieh (陳列). Chen employs plain yet profound language to recount his experiences of the White Terror and its historical moments, and with a measured sense of calmness, he sheds light on the often-overlooked pain and humiliation of that era, moving people to reflect upon the past once again. The book greatly resonated with the judges and was selected as the grand prize winner in the first round of voting.

This year’s other award-winning works include Brother, a tender portrayal of the youths of the Umbrella Movement, by Hong Kong writer Chan Wai Yee (陳慧); Eyelids of Morning by Chang Kuei-hsing (張貴興), which is set in his hometown, Sarawak; and Mooyi by Chen Shu-yao (陳淑瑤), a story of children who have left their homeland to search for a second home.

Several up-and-coming writers have also made a strong impact by exploring the life issues faced by the new generation, earning both the TLA Golden Book Award and the TLA New Bud Award for emerging writers. These include Bullets are the Remaining Life by Tsao Sheng-hao (寺尾哲也), a work peering into the life lessons faced by the new generation, The Lost River by Huang Han-yau (黃瀚嶢), a contemplation on the relationship between land and humanity, and Late Night Patrol of the Abandoned God by Tiunn Ka-siông (張嘉祥), which combines local chronicles and family history.

The TLA for Books is a highly prominent literary award in Taiwan's literary scene, as it not only encapsulates the creative trends in Taiwan literature over the previous year, but also provides a stage for new writers to showcase their talent. In this year's entries and winning works, the jury noted that contemporary creators are both exploring their inner selves while connecting to society, thereby reflecting the zeitgeist they reside in. The younger generation of writers, influenced by forms of pop culture such as anime and video games, approach literature with even more robust creativity and imagination, breaking free from literary conventions and presenting readers with wholly new reading experiences.

Regarding this bountiful literary harvest, NMTL Director Nikky Lin expresses hope that these excellent works can be discovered by more readers through nominations and awards, as they are both original works which have risen out of Taiwan culture and important channels for Taiwan to connect with the world.

In recent years, NMTL has been committed to promoting the Taiwan Literature Translation Project. One part of the Project is to translate excerpts from select TLA for Books winners and nominees into English and compile them into promotional booklets. These honored works can then be sent to distant places, embarking on exciting journeys that perhaps even the authors themselves could not have imagined.

For more information: