Japan-based author is first Taiwanese to win Akutagawa Prize

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Tokyo, August 27 (CNA) Japanese writer Li Kotomi (李琴峰) received the Akutagawa Prize on Friday, becoming the first Taiwanese to win the prestigious award for emerging talented authors.

She was chosen for her work “An Island Where Red Spider Lilies Bloom”, which was first featured in the March edition of Japanese literary magazine Bungakukai.

It tells the story of a matriarchal society on a fictional island between Taiwan and Japan, which asks questions about gender equality.

During her acceptance speech, Li said that she owed her life to knowledge and literature, thanks to which she was able to cope with anger and pain, since she did not come in. this world of its own free will.

Li said she hoped the prize could become another miracle to help her get on with her life, just like the main character in her award-winning novel, who escaped death due to a miracle.

The young author, born in Taiwan in 1989 and moved to Japan to study in 2013, also expressed hope that she could leave the world with several mind-boggling novels before her death.

Li said she felt grateful for her multicultural background, as the language and culture she grew up with in Taiwan and her upbringing in Japan “without a doubt became the flesh and blood of my literary works.”

“Taiwan and Japan are important places for me,” she said.

Shuichi Yoshida, former Akutagawa Prize winner and jury member for the award this year, said he loved Taiwan very much and felt honored to be able to assess Li’s work and see her win the award.

Li has a knack for telling stories in different languages, creating a much larger literary world than he imagined, Yoshida said, and he encouraged Li to continue writing novels.

(By Yang Ming-chu and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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