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October 2020: Wu I-Wei 吳億偉

Wu I-Wei (吳億偉) has won numerous awards including the United Daily Press Literary Award for Fiction, the China Times Literary Award for Fiction and Essays, the United Literature Monthly Literary Award for Fiction, and the Liberty Times Lin Rungsan Literary Award for Short Essays. He published his new collection of essays, Motorbike Days (機車生活), in 2014 and is now a PhD candidate at the Institute of Chinese Studies at the University of Heidelberg in Germany and regularly reports the latest German literature news for Taiwanese magazines and newspapers. 'Collecting Gods', won the Jury Short Story Prize at the 30th China Times Literary Awards in 2007.

We're currently looking ahead to our Centre's Taiwan focus next year (more news on this to come!), so we're very happy to be able to feature author Wu I-Wei, and his story 'Collecting Gods', which we also featured in the special 'Chinese Journeys' issue of Stand magazine in 2017. You can read the story in Chinese here, and English translation here.

When I was out playing my wild games and there was still no trace of me by dusk, my parents would go to the little temple beyond the embankment, and if they saw me once again sharing a table of wine and delicacies with the gods, they would light some incense and beseech the gods to keep in mind that I was still young, so they shouldn’t be angry with me, and then they would give me a telling off right there in front of the statues before carrying me home on their backs. In my fuzzy memory of this event, the little temple had already lit up its fluorescent lights in the twilight and the murmured chanting continued without end. It got dark quickly and by the time we got up on to the embankment, it had already become like a lone island, asserting its existence only with faint lights.

This story was translated by Conor Stuart (a graduate of the University of Leeds!). Conor has a Masters degree from the Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature at National Taiwan University and now works as a translator and editor. He also runs the Translating Taiwan website, which features reviews and translations of fiction from Taiwan, as well as interesting discussions about language.

Conor has also translated Wu I-Wei's story 'The Face Changer' (換照者), which was published in an anthology edited by Maurice A. Lee called Unbraiding the Short Story. You can find out more about it here.