Interview with Joyce Bergvelt, Lord of Formosa

Editor's Note: When I call for diversity in Taiwanese American literature, or English-language works on Taiwan, I mean books like Lord of Formosa. Taiwan, originally an Austronesian island, is colonized land. The hallmark of great literature about Taiwan, then, is perhaps sensitivity to this fraught crystallization of elements,  the way they arrived together under fire and pressure, and the complex ways they coexist today. Among these waves of colonizers were Dutch settlers, whose little-known…

Tricky Taipei Debuts Children’s Book Set in Taipei

Kathy is a communications consultant and the writer behind Tricky Taipei. After 7 years working at design agencies VSA Partners in Chicago and Smart Design in New York, she moved back to Taipei in 2014 and now writes Tricky Taipei and hosts Tricky Talks, an event series for international professionals based in the city. In 2018, she published Hey Taipei, the first English-language picture book about Taipei. A couple of years ago I had the idea to write a cute rhyming picture…

What Taiwanese Americans Can Learn From Taiwanese Politics

PHOTO CREDIT: MAX OH One of the opportunities of sitting at the masthead of TaiwaneseAmerican.org is continually engaging with the borders and expectations of this community. What does it mean to be Taiwanese, American, and Taiwanese American? What is our role as citizens of the diaspora? And, heavily on my mind in the aftermath of the November 24th election: Do we need an acute awareness of — or even interest in — Taiwanese politics to identify as Taiwanese American? My…

How our bodies domesticate/disaster: An Interview with Kristin Chang, Past Lives, Future Bodies

Reading Kristin Chang’s work revives all the little things we lose: our names for nation. Yeye and his ghosts. Papaya in Taiyu meaning wood/melon. She doesn’t tackle, but instead deftly burrows into bodies of queerness, identity, immigration, and colonialism, a laundry list of tropes Chang has somehow resurrected and dissected in new, astonishing ways. I know it’s selfish and absurd to suggest a book of this artistry might have been conceived just for me, but I swear I once begged the universe…

An Interview with Emily X.R. Pan, The Astonishing Color of After

Editor's Note: I'm so thrilled to share this interview with Emily X.R. Pan, author of The Astonishing Color of After. In the past decade - really, in my own little lifetime -  I have seen contemporary Asian American literature evolve from brittle myths of otherness to richer montages spanning history, identity, self, and heritage. Pan's The Astonishing Color of After is a pulsing tide of grief and wonder, chronicling half-Taiwanese protagonist Leigh's struggle to understand her mother's…

An Interview with Eva Lou, Madeleine Editions

Editor's Note: Something we consider often is how language informs how we define and experience an ethnic or national identity. We wonder about the merits of raising bilingual, or even trilingual, children, and whether our mother tongues will ever find a place in communities that do not recognize them. Our contributors have discussed loss and mourning of such languages, but also learning and discovery. With language as vehicles in mind, Taiwanese American writer Eva Lou launched Madeleine Editions,…

What ‘Bao’ and ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Meant to Me

Traditional mama’s girls who need a support group, I am here for you. Contains tiny spoilers.  Anyone who's even vaguely heard of me knows that I'm a mama's girl. My life's work navigates a strange dichotomy between "hot pot of rice that don't need no side dish" and "most filial child #1." Like many of my Asian American friends, I am independent, opinionated, and strong-willed. But I have never believed that my life is wholly my own. So you understand why I might be frustrated by polarizing…

All Quiet: An American in Taiwan’s Perspective on 228

By Joyce Chen, edited by Leona Chen Editor’s Note: American-born Taiwanese Joyce Chen is a first-year international student at National Taiwan University. On the 71st anniversary of 228, Taiwan is, she observes, harboring a strange ambivalence. This is not to ignore the indigenous protests for transitional justice or the demonstrations that did occur this year. In Taoyuan, a group of young pro-independence activists covered the tomb of Chiang Kai-Shek in red paint to symbolize the estimated…

Green Island Secrets

Journalism & Scholarship Force Us to Bear Witness to Taiwan's Darkest Era By Dr. Chung-Chih Li, edited by Leona Chen Editor’s Note: In 1981, Professor Chen Wen-Cheng (陳文成), assistant professor of mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University, was taken for interrogation by Taiwan’s secret police under allegations of sedition. Despite official reports of a friendly and cordial interview, he was found dead the next day at National Taiwan University.  Thirteen broken ribs. Three fractured…

A Canon of Our Own: Q&A with Michelle Kuo, Author of Reading with Patrick

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="1050"] Author Michelle Kuo with her parents[/caption] I profess that I have been a bit of a book snob lately. I am reading 50 books in my 10 weeks of summer; 20 of which should have a focus on social justice, and 15 of which should be by or about Asian Americans. The more these categories overlap, the greedier I become. I have been desperately craving something for me, something that helps me navigate everything this world has become with the body I have.…