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Books about homeless people, witches among TIBE prizewinners

2018/01/09 22:36:27

Taipei, Jan. 9 (CNA) A book about the stories of homeless people and another about witches were among the winners of the 2018 Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE) Book Prize, which were announced Tuesday.

The book, "Life Stories of the Homeless in Taiwan," documents the lives of 10 homeless people, including former soldiers, blue collar workers, businessmen, convicts and gang members, and their journeys to homelessness.

Written by Lee Win-shine (李玟萱), the book also includes the accounts of five social workers and their experiences working with homeless people, according to its publisher, Guerrilla Publishing Co.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Lee said the book was rejected by over 10 publishers before it was finally published, and her husband, who has supported her efforts to complete the book, was suddenly hit by a cerebral hemorrhage after the book was published and had to be hospitalized.

"We work hard in life, and take it for granted that our lives will be smooth. But we never know when we will sink to a low point," Lee said. "We all need someone to have our backs and edge us on."

"Life Stories of the Homeless in Taiwan" was among the three winners in the non-fiction category. The other two winners are Lee Hsin-lun's (李欣倫) "Yi Wo Wei Qi" (以我為器) about a woman's body from marriage, through pregnancy and childcare, and Lin Yu-li's (林育立) "Die Macht in der Mitte Europas," about a Taiwanese reporter's observation of German society.

Meanwhile, Chou Fen-ling's (周芬伶) "Hua Dong Fu Hao" (花東婦好), which centers on the lives of various witches from different time periods dating back to the Shang Dynasty, was among the three winners in the fiction category.

The other two winners are Huang Chong-kai's (黃崇凱) "The Content of the Times," which talks about Taiwanese literature and art through 11 stories, and a selection of works by Chinese novelist Jin Yucheng (金宇澄) called "Jin Yucheng Zuo Pin Xuan Ji" (金宇澄作品選輯).

Chou told CNA in an interview that it took her 10 years to write her novel, calling it a "dream come true."

Her novel crosses over from the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC) to the modern period, and is set in places such as Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea, Chou said.

The novel portrays the lives of a number of witches, from Lady Fu Hao (婦好), a queen and high priestess in the Shang Dynasty, to a Ryukyu princess during the Mudan Incident, to a modern psychic, and how their lives intersect, she said.

"They are all lonely, but eventually they discover that they are all the same. Witches have not disappeared, they have evolved," Chou said.

The TIBE Book Prize also honored five book editors, including Wang Fan (王梵), Chuang Jui-lin (莊瑞琳), Chia Shih-chiang (嘉世強), Cheng Ya-ching (鄭雅菁) and Chang Wei-ting (張瑋庭) for their outstanding work.

The TIBE Book Prize received a total of 101, 290 and 160 submissions in the fiction, non-fiction and editing categories, respectively. An award ceremony will take place Feb. 6 at the opening of the Taipei International Book Exhibition.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is expected to present a trophy and a cash award of NT$100,000 (US$3,379) to each winner, according to the Taipei Book Fair Foundation.

(By Christie Chen)