The chairman of a local construction company has won an award at the annual Taipei International Book Exhibition Prize for a collection of his short stories.
Wang Ting-kuo (王定國), 58, was one of the three winners in the fiction category.
He grabbed the prize for Name Re, Name Leng (So Hot, So Cold, 那麼熱, 那麼冷), a collection depicting the loneliness of men and women.
“I have gotten a lot from this. I discovered for the first time that someone is reading my books and taking note of every word I write,” Wang said at a press conference.
He said he wrote the winning work — his first major publication in 25 years — to illustrate the difficulties in human relationships.
Although he works in the construction sector, Wang’s true passion lies in literature.
He has been writing since age 17, and has picked up several awards along the way.
Wang sees literature as something that offers a happiness numbers could never provide.
“I usually write late at night because in the daytime, my mind is occupied with numbers, steel bars and cement,” he told reporters after the event.
Even when working, he goes about business with the sensitivity of a novelist.
“You can’t be too careless and must pay attention to details,” said Wang, who attributed his ability to weather difficult times in the real-estate sector to his careful demeanor.
One of the other winners in the fiction category was Lin Yi-yun (林宜澐), who said he was inspired to write his winning novel, Hai Xiao (Tsunami, 海嘯), by his childhood in Hualien County, where frequent earthquakes regularly spark fears of tsunamis.
The novel centers on rumors of a tsunami after a huge earthquake in the county and examines society through the lens of people’s reactions to the news, said Lin, whose works are known for having a playful tone.
US-based Chinese writer Cao Guanlong (曹冠龍) was the third winner in the fiction category, while winners in the non-fiction category were Chen Lie (陳列), Liu Shao-hua (劉紹華), Chen Tsui-lien (陳翠蓮), Wu Nai-teh (吳乃德) and Hu Hui-ling (胡慧玲).
The winners were selected from 125 submissions in the fiction category and 371 in the non-fiction category.
The Taipei International Book Exhibition Prize is given out by the Taipei Book Fair Foundation each year to highlight the works of Chinese-language writers.
Each winner received a trophy and cash prize of NT$100,000.