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NTHU Students Receive Honorable Mentions in the China Times Prize for Literature
The China Times recently announced the results of the 38th China Times Prize for Literature. Established in 1978, the China Times Prize for Literature is one of the most prestigious literary awards in Taiwan. Two NTHU students received honorable mentions in the essay category: Chen Shu-Ling, a senior in the Department of Chinese Literature, for her essay “Passed By,” and Hsu Chen-shuo, a first-year M.A. student in the Institute of Taiwanese Literature, for his essay “The Inner Wall of the Gulf.”
Chen’s interest in reading goes back to her childhood, when her mother frequently took her to the local library. Chen says that in her early years at school she couldn’t be described as an outstanding writer, but during her second year of high school her interest in reading intensified and she discovered that “literature could open up a whole new world.” Encouraged by her teachers, she entered her school’s writing contest and won prizes in both the prose and poetry categories, which further stimulated her interest in literature. Thus she decided to major in Chinese literature when she started the university education, so as to cultivate the ability to analyze a text, rather than simply enjoying reading it.
Chen says that she only begins writing when she feels that she has something significant to write about, say, an unusual event she feels compelled to record, or something which is important but difficult to describe to others. For Chen, the goal of creative writing is well expressed by Wang Wan-Yi’s statement “If somebody earnestly reads your work and passionately comments on its strengths and weaknesses, that is wonderful.”
“Passed By” describes the rise and decay of Longgang, a coastal town in Miaoli County. The inspiration for this essay came from a school activity she participated in during her freshman year. Everyone got on the local train, randomly picked a place to get off, and then spent the day there. Chen got off at Longgang. Chatting with the local residents, she discovered that Long Gang used to be a prosperous port town, but over time its fortunes changed until it reached its present forlorn state. Feeling like she had stumbled across a place that everyone except the locals had forgotten about, she decided to write an essay about it, lest it be totally forgotten.
After graduating from NTHU’s Department of Physics, Hsu Chen-Shou worked at a prison as an alternative way of fulfilling his mandatory military service before continuing his studies.
Assigned to work at a prison in his native Yilan, Hsu experienced a part of society unknown to most people. During vacations he would make the long trip back home on his motorcycle. During these trips he came to take a keen interest in the local culture he discovered along the way. This was when he got the idea for his essay “The Inner Wall of the Bay,” in which he depicts the town of Nanfangao in Yilan County.
During junior high school Hsu enjoyed reading the works of Ni Kuang and Giddens Ko and he decided to try his hand at creative writing during his high school years. While pursuing his undergraduate studies at NTHU he took a number of courses which further stimulated his interest in literature, and during his sophomore year he joined the Cardinal Tien Writing Club. As a result, he eventually decided to pursue graduate studies in Taiwanese literature. For Hsu, an avid conversationalist, creative writing is a way to share ideas about the many pressing social issues of our time.
After receiving the award, Hsu thanked his parents’ for supporting his graduate studies. He also thanked his teachers who sparked his interest in literature, as well as his friends in the writing club. During his graduate studies he plans to focus on honing his creative writing skills.
 Chen Shu Ling, a senior in the Department of Chinese Literature.

Chen Shu Ling, a senior in the Department of Chinese Literature.

 Hsu Chen-Shuo, M.A. student in the Institute of Taiwanese Literature

Hsu Chen-Shuo, M.A. student in the Institute of Taiwanese Literature

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