Awards celebrate Hakka literature

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Jan 25, 2015 - Page 3

Outstanding works of Hakka literature received recognition at the fifth Tung Blossom Literary Awards yesterday, as the organizers expressed their desire to carry on the Hakka community’s rich cultural heritage.

Held by the Hakka Affairs Council, the event saw 30 awards given out to works in three categories — short stories, prose and poetry — with separate divisions for works written in Mandarin Chinese and those in the Hakka language.

In addition to pieces submitted by members of the Hakka community in Taiwan — which constitutes roughly 15 percent of the nation’s population — the competition attracted the participation of people from around the world, including literary pieces submitted by members of the Hakka diaspora in Southeast Asia, Europe and the Americas, with a total of 768 pieces submitted, the council said.

Organizers said the awards celebrated multicultural literary expression, as well as the growing maturity of the Hakka language in its written form, with this year being the first time in which short stories and prose written in Hakka Chinese characters were invited to compete.

The awards were accompanied by live performances by pop singer Wing Luo (羅文裕) and a string quartet that played renditions of Hakka folk tunes.

Yesterday’s biggest winner was writer and calligrapher Yeh Kuo-chu (葉國居), who clinched awards in all three categories in the Hakka language division, including first place in prose and honorable mentions in the short story and poetry categories.

Besides his occupation as Greater Taichung’s tax bureau deputy director, Yeh is known for his critically acclaimed literary essays, which are largely inspired by reflections on his hometown — a traditional Hakka village in Greater Taoyuan — as seen in a collection of his work published last year, Hair Bun Blossom (髻鬃花).