Taiwan literature has been shaped and molded by various ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and political influences. The loosening in the early 1980s of strictures that had been widely enforced on thought and speech during Taiwan’s Martial Law era opened the floodgates of intellectual and artistic freedom, creating a new and prolifically diverse literary landscape.
This new liberal environment brought forth storytellers of all types, who, using pen and paper, gave tangible voices to stories from the heart. Women were free to explore beyond traditional gender stereotypes. Those who plumbed the depths of gender issues and gender orientation no longer worked in isolation. Books were now free to be written and enjoyed in Taiwan’s many languages and dialects rather than, as before, only in Mandarin Chinese. Taiwan’s indigenous Malayo-Polynesian peoples could once again share their engaging and emotively moving stories. Mother Earth’s heartbeat reverberated through writings on nature, while a full palate of deliciously distinctive flavors now enriched gastronomic literature and travel writings embraced stories of adventures both near and far. As Taiwan embraced the emerging age of the Internet, it joined the world in exploring and realizing together the virtually unlimited potential of this unprecedented new information medium.
Countless new voices have created a diversely distinct plethora of rich tones and striking colors that have given contemporary Taiwan literature its unprecedented complexity, unique charms, and idiosyncratic character, making it well worth further exploration.