Publication Excerpt from Contemporary Taiwanese Women Writers

Stalling

The following is an excerpt from the introduction in Contemporary Taiwanese Women Writers, edited by Jonathan Stalling, Lin Tai-man, and Yanwing Leung.

A Pacific island of roughly 14,400 square miles, Taiwan lies just over a hundred miles off China’s southeast shoreline and seven hundred miles south of Japan. It has been a contested cultural space between its original aboriginal inhabitants (Taiyals and Vonums), and then among many generations of Chinese immigrants as well as waves of Dutch, Spanish, and Japanese colonial inhabitants, all of which provides the backdrop for some of the richest Sinophone literature in the world. Unfixed, vibrant, and deeply engaged with a sense of place, Taiwanese writers—from the experimental poetry pioneer Hsia Yu to younger multimedia poets like Ye Mimi to powerhouse authors like Li Ang and Chu T’ien-wen—are continually pushing the boundaries of the possible and unlocking new directions for Sinophone literature in the twenty-first century.

With this first American anthology of contemporary Taiwanese women writers in decades, the editors hope to expose English readers to the widest possible range of voices, styles, and textures of contemporary Taiwanese writers. In Ping Lu’s “Wedding Date,” we meet a wheelchair-bound mother who seems to get younger by the day as her filial daughter prematurely ages. A talented writer in her youth, the protagonist’s imagination imbues a possible romance with an intimacy that seems so real it almost becomes so, despite piling signs to the contrary. In “The Story of Hsiao-Pi,” by Newman Prize–winning author Chu T’ien-wen, the narrator lovingly examines the life of a troubled village boy, who builds an unexpected future upon the fierce if complicated love of his mother and step-father. Then Taiwan itself becomes the protagonist in Tsai Su-fen’s “Taipei Train Station,” where the station serves as an aperture through which numerous lives pass, if only briefly, into view before emerging into the boundless possibilities of the city.

Chung Wenyin recalls her first steps into literature and love through her story “The Travels and Lover of a Junior High Girl,” an adventure that explores the evolving ideas of love and the eros of art, and the open-ended possibilities of life itself. After being told by an amateur psychic that her not-yet-conceived son is following her around, waiting for his time to enter the world, the narrator of Marula Liu’s story “Baby, My Dear” begins to search for his father. Su Wei-chen, however, enters the traumatic space of a mother losing her daughter to leukemia in “No Time to Grow Up,” asking if children who die so young have had enough time to even know they are alive. Yuan Chiung-chiung traces the dynamic and transformative process of divorce, reinvention, and love through the story “A Place of One’s Own,” while Liao Hui-ying opens a window into class identity, fate, motherhood, and, ultimately, love in the context of an arranged marriage in “Seed of the Rape Plant.” Li Ang offers a tale of Taiwanese oppositional politics, personal sacrifice, and unrequited love in “The Devil in a Chastity Belt.” Chen Jo-hsi draws the collection to a close with a poignant vignette exposing the point where international politics and the dinner table meet, somewhere between the imagination and anticipation and the machinations of political power in her story “The Fish.”

Read the rave reviews for Contemporary Taiwanese Women Writers, which is available for purchase directly from Cambria Press or on Amazon.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Pi-twan Huang
Introduction: From Taiwan: Some of the Richest Sinophone Literature by Jonathan Stalling
Chapter 1: Wedding Date by Ping Lu
Chapter 2: The Story of Hsiao-Pi by Chu T’ien-wen
Chapter 3: The Party Girl by Lin Tai-man
Chapter 4: Taipei Train Station by Tsai Su-fen
Chapter 5: The Travels and Lover of a Junior High Girl by Chung Wenyin
Chapter 6: Baby, My Dear by Marula Liu
Chapter 7: No Time to Grow Up by Su Wei-chen
Chapter 8: A Place of One’s Own Yuan by Chiung-chiung
Chapter 9: Seed of the Rape Plant by Liao Hui-ying
Chapter 10: The Devil in a Chastity Belt by Li Ang
Chapter 11: The Fish by Jo-hsi Chen
About the Editors

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Cambria Press Author Jonathan Stalling – Speech at AAS 2018 Reception

Cambria Press author Professor Jonathan Stalling, Professor of English and Curator of the Chinese Literature Translation Archive at the University of Oklahoma, gave a speech about his book, Contemporary Taiwanese Women Writers: An Anthology, coedited with Lin Tai-man and Yanwing Leung, at the Cambria Press reception at the AAS 2018 conference in Washington, DC.

Watch Professor Jonathan Stalling’s speech and/or read the transcript below.

Cambria Press Publication Author Jonathan Stalling

 

“I’m going to jump right in about the two questions that are asked about the book. The first is how did this volume of short fiction by contemporary Taiwanese women come about? The longer version of the answer is that it starts about twelve years ago, in Arkansas. We’ll fast forward to a couple of decades. The next relevant bit would be working in Chinese Literature Today.  Over the process of six or seven years, I became more and more familiar, although I didn’t start out as a Taiwan scholar or editor. Gradually, I became more and more connected to the Taiwanese literary scene, with people like Li Yang, Zhu Tianwen, Yang Mu, and others. That eventually brought me to Taiwan for the first time to meet with the poet Ye Weilian and during that time, I toured a part of Taipei with him, and met some of the older generations of poets and the newer generations of poets as well. Second time I came around, I met with fiction writers, architects, and dancers, as well as entrepreneurs, archivists, scholars, critics, poets, and so on, and got a deeper and more textured sense of what was happening on the Taiwan scene. It was that time that I met Jack Kuei [the Director of Taiwan Academy at the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. (TECRO)] and we started thinking about what was in fact greatly missing and it was over two decades that there was an anthology of Taiwanese women writers in English. And that is really the point of genesis. And I did write this down as well, and that this volume would not be possible if the Taiwanese literary scene were not so vibrant and diverse and if this robust productivity were not curated by TaiPen over many decades starting in  1972. That repository of rich translated literary material by some of the very best translators in the Sinosphere and Englishspheres was really what made this volume possible.

Furthermore it would not be possible if it were not for the support of Jack Kuei, who has been a driving force behind this work and others. It would also not have been possible without my Co-editors Lin Tai-man, and Yanwing Leung, and finally Toni Tan, and her amazing editorial and marketing team at Cambria. Speaking here right now with all of you is simply another extension of the care and energy that goes into the Sinophone World Series.

The second question is what is your favorite story in the anthology? Each story is so different from the next as each takes the reader from the first page and pulls them through such fascinating narratives that we have little choice but to with the authors adolescence, marriage, motherhood, sex, politics and economics on so many different scales. —We are there in the snapshots of lives in transition, we are there as whole lives appear and disappear in time-lapse images across decades, and we are there while a few implode into the stillness of a single bottomless moment. That is all to say, I cannot answer this question with a single story when the entire, pointedly gendered exploration of modern Taiwan is such a compelling and timely collection.”

* * * * *

About the book

A Pacific island of roughly 14,400 square miles, Taiwan lies just over a hundred miles off the China’s southeast shoreline and seven hundred miles south of Japan. It has been a contested cultural space between its original aboriginal inhabitants (Taiyals and Vonums) and many generations of Chinese immigrants as well as waves of Dutch, Spanish, and Japanese colonial inhabitants. All of this provides the backdrop for some of the richest Sinophone literature in the world. Unfixed, vibrant, and deeply engaged with a sense of place, Taiwanese women writers—from the experimental poetry pioneer Hsia Yu to younger multimedia poets like Ye Mimi to powerhouse authors like Li Ang and Chu T’ien-wen—are continually pushing the boundaries of the possible and unlocking new directions for Sinophone literature in the twenty-first century.

With this first English-language anthology of contemporary Taiwanese women writers in decades, readers are finally provided with a window to the widest possible range of voices, styles, and textures of contemporary Taiwanese women writers. Each story unfolds and takes readers through fascinating narratives spanning adolescence, marriage, and motherhood as well as sex, politics and economics on many different scales—some appear as snapshots of lives in transition, others reveal whole lives as time-lapse images across decades, while a few implode into the stillness of a single bottomless moment. Individually each story expresses its own varied, expansively heterogeneous narrative; when read as a whole collection, readers will discover a pointedly gendered exploration of modern Taiwan.

Title: Contemporary Taiwanese Women Writers: An Anthology
Editors:  Jonathan Stalling, Lin Tai-man, and Yanwing Leung
Publisher: Cambria Press
ISBN: 9781604979558
226 pp.  |   2018   |   Paperback & E-book
Book Webpage: http://www.cambriapress.com/books/9781604979558.cfm

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Cambria Press Publication Review: Contemporary Chicana Literature

Congratulations to Professor Cristina Herrera of California State University, Fresno, on the outstanding review of her book, Contemporary Chicana Literature: (Re)Writing the Maternal Script, by the Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature.

Contemporary Literature

The book review commends Contemporary Chicana Literature because:

“In the field of mothering and motherhood studies, there is a lack of literature which specifically focuses on the mother-daughter relationship in Chicana Studies. Cristina Herrera’s Contemporary Chicana Literature: (Re)Writing the Maternal Script fills this void in literary scholarship by examining a diverse array of Chicana writers that push the boundaries of maternal relationships. The text is a welcome addition to the canon, especially since it goes beyond the limited interpretations of Chicana mother-daughter relationships, motherhood, and mothering and recognizes the intersectionality of race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomics, and religion in shaping the relationship between Chicana mothers and daughters. With its widely interdisciplinary literary, cultural, religious, and historical sources, this book gives readers some much-needed critical perspectives and Herrera should be commended for her notable effort. … By challenging the limited models of Chicana mother-daughter relationships that frequently dictate the analysis of Chicana literature, Herrera presents a fresh paradigm to the ensuing discussion of Chicana literary scholarship. She recognizes that Chicana mothering, like society, is changing and that it is time the academy understands this broad scope. In doing so, she succeeds in rewriting Chicana mother-daughter relationships and forming a new space of reexamining representations of Chicana mothers and daughters.”

Order Contemporary Chicana Literature on Amazon today and get free shipping.

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Cambria Press New Publication: The Fiction of Thea Astley

Cambria Press is pleased to announce a new publication The Fiction of Thea Astley by Susan Sheridan.

This book is in the Cambria Australian Literature Series, headed by Dr. Susan Lever.

This book will be launched at the upcoming 2016 Association for the Study of Australian Literature conference hosted by UNSW Canberra at ADFA.

The following are excerpts from the new book.

Thea Astley

From the introduction:
“This oppositional stance—in relation to the Church, and in relation to the nation and the colonialism on which it was founded—fed into Astley’s critique of other social institutions and practices. Her work is driven by a moral revulsion against greed and corruption, against class prejudice and the cruelties practiced on social outsiders, against the racism of colonial dispossession and exploitation of Indigenous people, and against the presumption of male superiority and the physical and psychic violence practiced against women.”

From Chapter 3:
“By the time she published Beachmasters, in 1986, Astley had developed a political perspective on colonialism that allowed her to move beyond disillusionment with human relationships structured by marriage, or human relationship to the divine as structured by the Church, to a critique of the structures themselves. This novel takes colonialism as its subject, rather than assuming its presence, and depicts expatriates and indigenous people inhabiting the same socio-political space, drawing out the complications of hapkas familial and cultural identity. Such a perspective on power structures, as we shall see in later chapters, comes to inform her representation of gender and sexual relations as well as colonial race relations, providing a strong intellectual foundation for her intensely imagined fictions.”

From Chapter 7:
“With Drylands, her final novel, Astley returns to the present day and a setting in a small north Queensland inland town of that name. […]The stories are framed by the narrative of Janet Deakin (a name suggesting she is a descendant of one of Australia’s founding fathers, Alfred Deakin) […] The stories, including Janet’s own, are all tales of violence, of behavior which ranges from the verbal sneers that Janet suffers, through to domestic violence and attempted rape. Another woman is victim not to violence but to domestic servitude to her husband and six sons. In this book, Astley’s feisty feminist barbs at marriage as an institution of male privilege and female slavery recur (‘Is it a boy or a drudge?’ asks Janet’s mother when she is born, 103) but the predominant theme is masculine violence.”

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Cambria Press Book Excerpt from “Writing Contemporary Nigeria: How Sefi Atta Illuminates African Culture and Tradition”

#AfricanLit

From Writing Contemporary Nigeria: How Sefi Atta Illuminates African Culture and Tradition edited by Walter P. Collins, III:

Another major event in Sheri’s life that shows the indelible marks of Lagos on her psyche is the episode in which Sheri fights back and beats up the brigadier when he abuses her physically. Atta’s deliberate use of a biracial character (often referred to derogatorily as half-caste in the Nigerian context) to beat up a Brigadier validates the claim that it is the Lagos lifestyle, and not the color of the skin (ancestry), that ultimately affects her characters:

“Telling me I’m a whore for going out. Your mother is the whore. Raise a hand to beat Sheri Bakare, and your hand will never remain the same again. Stupid man, he will find it hard to play polo from now on ….I was raised in downtown Lagos…Bring the Queen of England there. She will learn how to fight.” (Everything Good Will Come 174)

Even Sheri recognizes that she is who she is because of her having been born and bred in Lagos. When Enitan remarks that she is unable to tell who is crazier between the two of them, Sheri quickly remarks that: “after what I’ve seen, if I’m not crazy, what else would I be?”

Writing Contemporary Nigeria is a must for all African literature collections–Order it now and click here to ask your university library to purchase it.

This book is in the Cambria African Studies Series headed by Toyin Falola (University of Texas at Austin) with Moses Ochonu (Vanderbilt University).

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#MLA15 Shirley Hazzard: Literary Expatriate and Cosmopolitan Humanist

Shirley Hazzard

#MLA15: Check out Shirley Hazzard: Literary Expatriate and Cosmopolitan Humanist at the Cambria Press booth (402)!

“Not just an intellectual exercise, or a scholarly pleasure, but also a profound relief to read,” is how this first-ever monograph on Shirley Hazzard has been described. Widely praised this book, which is in the Cambria Australian Literature Series headed by Susan Lever (University of Sydney), is also an important resource for scholars in women’s studies and world literature.

Browse Shirley Hazzard: Literary Expatriate and Cosmopolitan Humanist by Brigitta Olubas, associate professor at the University of New South Wales, at the Cambria Press booth (402) in the book exhibit hall and enter our #MLA15 book-giveaway draw for a chance to win this book!

Dr. Olubas will be presenting in the #MLA15 session Local Literatures Transnationally: Australian and New Zealand Literatures in Global Connection (Friday at 10:15 a.m.).

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Cambria Press New Book for African studies, Latin American studies, slavery studies, and women’s studies

Cambria Press academic publisher

Black Women as Custodians of History: Unsung Rebel (M)Others in African American and Afro-Cuban Women’s Writing

At the 2014 LASA congress last month, there was much excitement not only for Howard University history professor Ana Lucia Araujo’s two highly praised books, Public Memory of Slavery and Paths of the Atlantic Slave Trade, but also her series, Slavery: Past and Present, because the inaugural title Black Women as Custodians of History: Unsung Rebel (M)Others in African American and Afro-Cuban Women’s Writing was published just in time for LASA.

Even more exciting was the fact that both the author Paula Sanmartín and one of the writers discussed in the book, Nancy Morejón, were both at LASA. This book is much cause for celebration because until now there has been no book-length study concentrating on black women writers from the United States and the Spanish Caribbean. Books on women authors from the Caribbean and comparative studies of the Black Diaspora tend to focus on Anglophone writers, and scarce critical attention is given to black women authors in the field of Afro-Hispanic studies.

Dr. Sanmartín’s book notes that “the totalizing impulse of race in concepts such as ‘black womanhood’ masks real differences between black women from the United States and Cuba,” and shows how “the work of Afro-Cuban writer and literary critic Nancy Morejón demonstrates that one needs to acknowledge internal discursive fields such as negrismo, transculturación, mestizaje, and cubanismo when studying Afro-Cuban women’s writings.”

This book is an important addition for collections in African studies, Latin American studies, slavery studies, and women’s studies.

Browse this book with the Free Preview Tool.

This book is in the  Slavery: Past and Present book series by Ana Lucia Araujo (Howard University).

If you like this book, please recommend it to your library and colleagues.

Check out our e-book rentals too: Cambria monographs have excellent chapter readings for undergraduate and graduate classes–
Avoid the hassle of textbook orders and simply assign a book chapter (or more) to students for the week’s reading for only $8.99!

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