Taiwan distinguishes itself as a unique instance in east Asian literature. It testifies to European imperial expansion, Japanese colonization, and the sociopolitical upheavals of twentieth-century China, which in turn endow the island's literary territory with an astonishing diversity marked by cross-cultural encounter and diasporic pathos. Among its literary societies, the Taipei Chinese PEN has been devoting itself to the translation of literature associated with Taiwan for decades, such that some of the most impressive talents are not confined by the boundaries of national language.
2018 is the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the Taipei Chinese PEN and the 60th anniversary of its re-establishment in Taipei. An exhibit titled as "90/60 Years of PEN from China to Taiwan: A Retrospect" takes place in Kishu An Forest of Literature from November 17 to December 16, 2018. For those who are not able to have a look when the exhibit is on, a digital exhibit is permanently available on Taipei Chinese Center, International PEN-Open Museum, a website jointly presented by the Taipei Chinese PEN and the Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures.
The Taipei Chinese PEN is a society constituted by writers, translators, and editors. A member of PEN International, it was founded in Shanghai, 1928. Initially called the Chinese PEN Center, the organization involved some of the best known literati of the time at its inception: Lin Yu-tang, Hu Shih, and Xu Zhi-mo. Prof Cai Yuan-pei, founder of the Academia Sinica and formerly President of Peking University, served as the Center's first President. The civil war following the end of WWII caused the Center to re-establish itself in Taipei in the late 1950s.
In 1972 Dr Lin Yu-tang, the incumbent President of the Center, launched The Chinese PEN Quarterly (now The Taipei Chinese PEN: A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary Chinese Literature from Taiwan), a journal that celebrates the literature and the arts essential to the cultural contours of Taiwan through translation. 45 years of the journal's operation seek to materialize the PEN's resolution that "literature knows no frontiers and must remain common currency among people in spite of political or international upheavals."
This exhibit features timeline, photographs of the Taipei Chinese PEN's presidents, pictures taken in interviews with authors and PEN International's gatherings, and publications of the Center, including issues of The Taipei Chinese PEN: A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary Chinese Literature from Taiwan.
The Taipei Chinese PEN has been digitizing its archives, which will be labeled with CC license (CC BY-NC-ND) and released on Open Museum. Among the pictures, manuscripts, and other documents, there are nearly 700 objects now available on Taipei Chinese Center, International PEN-Open Museum, mostly pictures, covers of publication, and members' correspondence. The digital archive will continue growing by substantiating its picture galleries. When the authors' consent is confirmed, the public may freely access to old issues of the journal to find out more about Taiwan’s literary culture.
Huang Pi-twan, President of the Taipei Chinese PEN, cuts a birthday cake in celebration of the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the society and the 60th anniversary of its re-establishment in Taipei at the opening of the retrospective exhibit.President Huang sharing her remarks.The timeline on display at the exhibit is also available on Open Museum.Many of the Taipei Chinese PEN's precious manuscripts and correspondence are now digitized and available on Taipei Chinese Center, International PEN | Open Museum.