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…

Wendy Cheng’s “ISLAND X” is essential reading for Taiwanese Americans

As editor-in-chief of TaiwaneseAmerican.org, I try to adhere to a level of curatorial prudence and precision of language -- because not every great book must be essential -- but I truly believe that Wendy Cheng's Island X is essential reading for Taiwanese Americans. It is an unprecedented origin story of Taiwanese Americans, lyrically charting not only where we come from but, crucially, why it matters.  In the final chapter, Becoming Taiwanese American, Cheng notes that her book captures…

S. Leo Chiang’s ISLAND IN BETWEEN: Observations of Kinmen and Liminality

Film documentarian S. Leo Chiang has been contemplating liminality, or in-betweenness, throughout his entire body of work, but "ISLAND IN BETWEEN" is his first film navigating the concept as it relates to his home country of Taiwan. From the official overview: "The rural Taiwanese outer islands of Kinmen sit merely 2 miles off the coast of China. Kinmen attracts tourists for its remains from the 1949 Chinese Civil War. It also marks the frontline for Taiwan in its escalating tension with China. Filmmaker…

Vanessa Hope’s INVISIBLE NATION: “China does not want the world to know our story.”

Vanessa Hope's "Invisible Nation" offers an affecting portrait of Taiwan through an impressive lineup of interviews, not just with President Tsai Ing-wen, though she's the most prominently featured, but with an array of historians, activists, academics, and politicians, thoughtfully interspersed with archive footage. Together, they offer a comprehensive narrative about Taiwan's many paradoxes: being globally influential but systematically excluded, existing in de facto independence but threatened…

Forms of Expression: An Interview with Artist Jocelyn Tsaih

There’s a good chance you’ve seen artist Jocelyn Tsaih’s work already– her signature cloud-like, amorphous, faceless figurines have been seen as article illustrations for the New York Times, on the cover of slant’d Magazine, and as murals in Hollywood, SF MoMA, and NYC’s Spotify office. If you’ve ever eaten at Mama Liang’s in the SF/Bay area, you may have noticed her subtle illustrations on their Taiwanese noodles-to-go packaging! After I discovered Tsaih’s work, I began…

Director’s Picks: Ten Taiwanese American Films to Watch

  What is Taiwanese American cinema? Films directed by Taiwanese Americans? Films about the relationship between nation and diaspora? Films that explore the specific experiences of American-born Taiwanese? Films that distinguish themselves culturally or politically from the more recognizable “Asian American” or “Chinese American” film? There’s not enough of a critical mass of films to answer that question with any meaningful conviction. But perhaps this ambiguity is what has…

A Girl Worth Rooting For: Meet Holly-Mei Jones

Synopsis: Packed with humor and heart, this debut middle grade series follows a girl finding her place in a brand-new world of private school and frenemies when her family moves to Hong Kong. Taiwanese Canadian Holly-Mei Jones couldn’t be more excited about moving to Hong Kong for her mother’s job. Her new school is right on the beach and her family’s apartment is beyond beautiful. Everything is going to be perfect . . . right? Maybe not. It feels like everywhere she turns, there…

Podcasts & Poetry: Cynthia Lin (TW Diaspora) Interviews Shin Yu Pai

  I’m thrilled Leona connected me with Shin Yu Pai for this written Q&A piece for TaiwaneseAmerican.org centered on her work as an artist, writer, and podcast host. As two podcasters, Shin Yu and I naturally gravitated to talking live after the initial Q&A. I found our conversation to be soul-enriching for those consciously on a healing journey. To listen to the audio interview, check out the podcast episode on TaiwaneseDiaspora.com (available on all major podcast apps). Shin…

Director’s Picks: Ten Taiwan Films that Imagine Taiwanese America

Filmmakers in Taiwan have always had their sights on the world and not just the nation. For one, the concept of nation in Taiwan is tricky, especially through decades of colonization, American influence, and rapid globalization. When we think of the globalization of Taiwanese cinema, we typically think of the international film festival success of filmmakers like Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang, and Tsai Ming-liang. But we can also observe that filmmakers in Taiwan have long travelled abroad to…

The Roots of Disney’s “American Born Chinese”

Maybe it's our vantage point from TaiwaneseAmerican.org that allows us to appreciate every product and project - especially a mainstream one like this - as a hard-won triumph, as a member of a lineage where people had doors opened for them, and in turn opened doors for others. As much as "representation" is a buzzy and flashy accomplishment, "opportunity" is its accompanying, more profound feat. We get to celebrate friends who have worked hard, who have overcome doubt and rejection, who have…