Writing Students Ye Odelia Lu and Lin King Contribute to 'Queer Time: A Special Notebook of Taiwanese Tongzhi Literature'

Nicole Saldarriaga
July 21, 2021

Nonfiction student Ye Odelia Lu and Fiction student Lin King are contributors to the Asian American Writers' Workshop's Queer Time: A Special Notebook of Taiwanese Tongzhi Literature, which will launch on July 26, 2021. 

The notebook—published as part of AAWW's online magazine, The Margins—is a part of their Transpacific Literary Project, which "holds a space for writing and translation from East and Southeast Asia." The project is organized by themed folios or "notebooks" which draw "connections between emerging and established voices across this expansive region." 

Queer Time was co-edited by Ta-wei Chi and Ariel Chu in order to celebrate contemporary Taiwanese queer literature. In the introduction to the notebook, they write, "Queer stories serve as assertions of self and community, narratives that refuse to be assimilated into dominant political frameworks." 

Earlier this year, Lu was invited by Chu to translate a piece for the notebook. According to Lu, "There were poetry and prose pieces, all centering on the subject of 'Queer Futures.' I chose Hsin-Hui Lin's short story, 'Peeling Off,' which is a story about a Taiwanese woman who discovered that pieces of her skin are peeling off, [a condition shared by] everyone in Taipei City even though no one seems to notice it. Every day, she loses more of her skin and flesh; and as the story progresses, she turns gradually from a woman into a man." 

King contributed an excerpt of the novel Seasons of Bloom by Yang Shuang-Z. According to King, "One of the biggest challenges for me as a translator was the number of languages used in the novel. While the text is written in Mandarin, it is understood that the characters speak almost exclusively in Taiwanese and Japanese. Since all three share a lot of the same written characters, the original text is not problematic for a reader who only reads Mandarin. Pronunciation of the shared characters, however, differs drastically. I ended up consulting with the author to determine the English Romanization that would be accurate to the characters’ speech; in this sense, the English reader gets a more phonetically “authentic”—or, at least, specific—experience of the text. On a personal note, I was thrilled to work on a folio celebrating Taiwanese queer literature. As a Taipei native, I’ve always been proud of Taiwan’s capacity to act as a bellwether for queer culture in Asia. I hope the folio will open up new channels for English readers and viewers to discover the trove of Taiwanese queer literature, film, and art that's available."

To celebrate the launch of Queer Time, the AAWW will hold an online event on July 26, 2021 at 7:00 pm ET. The bilingual event will include dialogues and readings with contributors and translators for the notebook. RSVP here.

Ye (Odelia) Lu is a translator and nonfiction MFA candidate at Columbia University. She has lived, studied, and worked mostly in China and the US. She mainly translates from Chinese. She is also the Print Translation Editor for the Columbia Journal Issue 59. Her work has appeared in Sine Theta Magazine Issue 11. 

Lin King is a writer, translator, and teacher from Taipei. Her work has been published in SLICE, Columbia Journal, and e-flux, among others, and has been awarded the PEN/Robert J. Dau Prize for Emerging Writers. She is currently pursuing an MFA in fiction and literary translation at Columbia University, where she teaches first-year writing.