From October 24-27, Taiwanese author Kevin Chen (陳思宏) will give four author talks in New York and Washington, D.C., to discuss his best-selling novel, Ghost Town (鬼地方).
Ghost Town won multiple literary awards after its release in Taiwan in 2019, and it has already been translated into English, Korean, Vietnamese, Italian, and other languages. The English version, translated by Darryl Sterk, was first published by Europa Editions in the UK this August and will be available in the US on October 25.
The story is about a small town in Taiwan’s countryside and a family haunted by its own ghosts. The protagonist, Chen Tien-Hong, has just been released from prison after killing his boyfriend, and he returns from Berlin to his desolate hometown, Yongjing, the same place he fled years ago to escape from family expectations and seek acceptance as a gay man. He arrives during the Ghost Festival, a traditional Taiwanese festival in which it is said that the gates of hell are wide open, adding hellish elements to Chen’s and his five sisters’ lives. The story is told through a number of voices–both living and dead–and moves back and forth through time. As the story evolves, readers come closer to the crux of the family’s dysfunction and piece together why Chen committed the murder.
The novel has attracted global attention and was listed in the New York Times’ 2022 Booklist, “33 Works of Fiction and Poetry Coming This Fall.” The Booklist review stated that “Author Kevin Chen has done a masterful job of managing his material, creating multidimensional characters, a beautifully realized setting, and an apposite surprise ending.”
Kevin Chen began his career as an actor, starring in Taiwanese and German films such as Ghosted, Kung Bao Huhn, and Global Player. Now a writer based in Berlin, Germany, he has published several novels and short story collections, including Attitude, Flower from Fingernail, Ghosts by Torchlight, Rebellious Berlin, and Three Ways to Get Rid of Allergies. Ghost Town is Kevin Chen’s first novel to be released in English.
With the support of Taipei Cultural Center in New York, Kevin Chen will visit New York Public Library, Hunter College, Queens Public Library-Bayside, and George Washington University in October to discuss Ghost Town.
New York Public Library
Time: Monday, October 24, 2:00-3:00 pm ET (virtual and in-person)
Venue: Room 304 at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL) and online via Zoom
Queens Public Library
Time: Tuesday, October 25, 4:00-5:45 pm ET (in-person)
Venue: Queens Public Library-Bayside
* This event includes a book sale/signing
Time: Wednesday, October 26, 2:30-4:00 pm ET (in-person)
Venue: The Leona & Marcy Chanin Language Center, B126 (Hunter West Building)
George Washington University
Time: Thursday, October 27, 4:30-6:00 pm ET (in-person)
Venue: George Washington University