“One Order of Dan Bing, Please”: Creative Non-Fiction by Tristan Tang

Grand Prize Winner, High School Category 老闆, 我要一份蛋餅!  Summers in Taiwan are brutal. I mean, think of the thrashing Da’an heat, cooking you alive like a fried egg from a breakfast shop. Or picture an army of mosquitoes, all nosediving towards you with their suckers out, ready to unleash an unrelenting week of itchiness.  Buzz.  The irritating sound made me sigh.  A mosquito flew in circles around my ear, taunting me for not killing it before it’d injected its…

Atlantic Menhaden: Fiction by Nicholas Servedio

Honorable Mention, Adult Category The first time I saw all the dead fish was in early June. It was a rainy day, and my dad and I were walking along the Hudson River Greenway. The path was sandwiched between the flow of the river and the flow of traffic, and every so often a car or truck would pass by in the rightmost lane and spray muddy water and gravel onto the path. My dad was stressed out and walking quickly. He had recently been made chair of the Chemistry department, and while the new title…

Gravitational Pull: Fiction by Susan L. Lin

Honorable Mention, Adult Category In one of my earliest memories, my sister Lulu lies facedown on the living room sofa while our mother leans over her prone body, liberally applying a topical medication behind her ears. The skin there is puffy and raw, an open wound. “Your zǐzǐ pointed at the moon, and look what happened,” our mother says to me, though her gaze never strays from the task at hand. “Now you will know never to do the same.” Lulu whimpers into the seat cushion, and when…

Salty Like Tears: Creative Nonfiction by Grace Hwang Lynch

Grand Prize Winner, Adult Category March is the rainiest month in Taiwan. Not the afternoon cloudbursts of a tropical summer, nor the furious monsoons of early fall; in the time between winter and spring, the sky is a steady  stream of black. But this was the period when the boys and I could spend some extended time on the island. During that first family trip to Taiwan when the boys were seven and ten, the kids and  I stayed in Taipei after my husband flew back to the states for work. My job…

How Taiwanese Democracy Changed the Way I See My Life

I remember being in Taiwan with my Ama, standing in a convenience store on the verge of tears because she refused to leave with me if I bought a headband I wanted. A deeply Christian woman, I knew she wouldn’t understand but it was important for me to try to explain why I wanted it. I remember telling her about the diversity of sexuality and gender which got lost somewhere in a mind clouded by a language barrier and dementia/Alzheimer’s (my eccentric, triathlete, U.S. Navy veteran, e-bike…

“Not in Our Name” – Understanding the Jewish Struggle for Palestine from a Taiwanese American Perspective

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="990"] Ten thousand gather in DC with Jewish Voice for Peace and If Not Now to Demand Gaza Ceasefire Wednesday October 18, 2023 (Photo from Jewish Voice for Peace Twitter)[/caption] “If they hadn’t taken us, where would we have gone?” I've heard this question, once posed by my uncle in Taiwan, echoed countless times by Jewish and Israeli friends over the years. “Where would we have gone?” “Who would have taken us?” In the wake of World…

RAMEN: Fiction by Yvonne Gillen

Finalist, Middle School Category I hung up my apron about to close my restaurant. I washed the used dishes, and grabbed my coat from the hangers. I pulled on my hat and scarf, and took the keys from a table. I heard a shrill giggle. I clutched my heart feeling faint.  “I must be hallucinating,” I mumbled. I shook my head and continued my work.  “Are you usually this stupid?” The voice called.  The kitchen!  I rushed over to my counter.  WHY WAS THERE A BOWL OF RAMEN…

The Taiwanese Experience: The Biggest Act of My Life – Creative Nonfiction by Jamie Su

Finalist, High School Category [Act I, Prologue]  I’ve never taken an acting class. Or been in a drama club. Or even auditioned for a play. But I am an actress. And a heck of a good one, at that.  To start, my name isn’t even Vivian. It’s Yu-Wei, but they didn’t know how to pronounce that at my kindergarten graduation. My parents brought me to court and had it legally changed a month later. They were afraid that kids at school would make fun of me.  I never told them that they…