Aboriginal literature celebrated

TAKING THE MANTLE:Organizers lauded the young age of the participants, while the oldest winner, Chiu Chin-shih, expressed hope that more young Aborigines would write

Staff writer with CNA

Mon, Nov 08, 2010 - Page 2

This year’s Aboriginal Literary Awards were held yesterday in the spirit of “using the word to create wine and the pen to create music.”

The number of awards handed out this year was the highest ever, and organizers said that on average, the age of participants had decreased.

The Council of Indigenous Peoples decided the award should be reinstated this year, after it was abolished several years ago.

Award winners from all walks of life and from every corner of Taiwan attended the ceremony, which was hosted by Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Sun Ta-chuan (孫大川).

Sun, who has a literary -background and has published books on Aboriginal culture, said Aboriginal literature has developed over the past two or three decades.

Sun said he hoped Aborigines would be able to create a new culture and open up a new dialogue with modern society with the help of the pen.

Sun also said that because Aboriginal literature has taken on its own form, it is not only being published, but it has become a field of academic study.

The Aboriginal Literary Prize included 23 awards in four categories: novels, short stories, new poetry and reportage.

The number of entries was the highest ever and Aborigines from 11 tribes participated.

Most entries were submitted by writers under the age of 30 and for more than half of the winners, it was the first award they had won.

The youngest award winner was 21, while the oldest top award winner was 65-year-old Auvini Kadresengan — who is also known by his Chinese name, Chiu Chin-shih (邱金士) — who won the top award in the novel category.

“Aborigines do not swim in a sea of letters,” and everyone has to try to find their way on their own, Kadresengan said.

Kadresengan said he would continue to move forward and he expressed a hope that more Aboriginal youth would take up -writing, because he felt that “the minds of children living in the mountains will enable them to write a different kind of literature.”

The award for the best novel went to Rukai writer, Auvini Kadresengan, for A Whirlpool of Past Lives (渦流中的宿命).

The best short story award was presented to Paiwan writer, Muyai (Li Ying-chen), for My GrandMother and I (外祖母與我).

The new poetry category was topped by Song of the Food Area (菜區之歌), penned by Atayal writer, Li Yung-sung (李永松).

No first or second place prize was awarded in the reportage category.