(Provided by the Department of Chinese Literature) The final review of Si-Wan Literature Awards 2021 has just been completed. This edition accepted submissions for the categories of short stories, modern prose, and modern poetry (no works were submitted for the categories of classical poetry and one-line poetry this year). Alumni and students enthusiastically joined the competition and submitted 85 literary works that demonstrated an even higher level than last year. The judge in the category of short stories, writer Pai-Ching Chen, used the term “Wagyu beef” to describe the startling richness of this year's works. Zhao-Ji Zhou, a retired professor of NSYSU Department of Electrical Engineering, who is currently studying a doctoral program in Chinese Literature at NSYSU, won the prize in the category of short stories for his work "I was uncertain where you were among the deep cloud cover” on family ethics and conflict that made him the most special winner.
According to the organizer, the works submitted for the short stories category this year demonstrated outstanding performance and distinctive features. Many judges acknowledged the eclecticism of the works, the diversity of styles, themes, and techniques that brought in new visions and impressions. The first prize winner is Pin-Hsuan Ho's "Senior", which describes the love life of a senior schoolmate. The steady rhythm of complicated simultaneous events and twists, and gloomy foreshadowing of the story was praised by the category’s judge Pai-Yen Chen: “stable landing after a gorgeous flip”. The second prize winner went to Tien-Hao Liu's “Scorching Sun” – a work written in Taiwanese that shows the decay and destruction behind the prosperity of a port city, with a vivid and strong sense of place and impressive use of imagery. The winner of the prize was Zhao-Ji Zhou, a retired professor of NSYSU Department of Electrical Engineering, who is also the most special winner. Professor Zhou, who is currently studying for his PhD in Chinese Literature, won the prize in the category of short stories for his work " I was uncertain where you were among the deep cloud cover” on family ethics and conflict. The judge and writer Pai-Ching Chen hailed his submission as “a movie on paper”, an expression that perfectly sums up the grandeur of the work.
Regarding the category of modern prose, many works with different themes and distinctive styles were selected, and the overall standards were also praised by the judges. The first prize went to Ting-I Lin, who submitted her work “Weed Growth”, which interweaves fictional drama with reality; its simple narrative is implicitly critical, seemingly harsh but hiding complex and profound emotions. The second prize went to "Endless Summer" by Yu-Shan Chiang. It combines the transience of the summer with the attitude of pursuing endlessness. The theme touches upon the individual, group and national identity, and demonstrates strong writing abilities and structural clarity. The work by Shu-Yu Chang, “Garden”, portrays the grandfather’s garden in great detail and displays richness in the midst of blandness. Writer Gustave Cheng, who is an alumnus of the Department of Chinese Literature, was invited to join the jury of the Si-Wan Literature Awards 2021; he appraised the writing abilities of his juniors and their ability to find writing themes, build up emotions by accumulating details, their time dimension, and perception.
Three judges of the modern poetry category – I-Chih Chen, Hui-Ju Cheng, and Ta-Yang Lin evaluated submissions for the second year in a row. They unanimously agreed that the quality of this year's submissions improved, that the works approached themes better and went deeper into them, were more precise in expression, and have become the unique voice of NSYSU. The first award-winning work, "Phone Booths of the Wind¬¬—After 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake" by I-Feng Tai, engages in a dialogue with the city shattered by the disaster, and prays for the souls of the deceased through phone booths and the wind. Like a requiem, it comforts the living, and is a mature and emotionally charged poem though it touches upon the widely known subject of mourning. The second prize winner, Yu-Chun Lin's "Switch", discusses a novel theme of inner cosmic consciousness; the cyclical fragments create an uninhibited rhythm. The title of the poem "I am so slow but hurried" by Chih-I Yu includes a clear contrast, which is reflected in the content; it is a highly complete work.
This year's Si-Wan Literature Awards showcased the unique and rich face of NSYSU, with content spanning over campus life, family, friendship, love, caring for the disadvantaged and society, which are diverse, unrestricted, and full of vitality. Besides revitalizing the creative atmosphere on campus, the Department of Chinese Literature will invite writers-in-residence to enrich the literary energy of Sizihwan, as advanced by the Director of the Department of Chinese Literature Chia-Lun Tu. She hopes to make each edition of Si-Wan Literature Awards an event to look forward to.
(Edited by Public Affairs Division)