With the support of Taipei Cultural Center in New York, Taiwanese writer Chi Ta-wei (紀大偉) will participate in the 2022 Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) on September 30 and October 1, marking the fourth time that a Taiwanese writer has been invited to take part in the event.
Chi Ta-wei’s The Membranes (膜), originally written in Chinese, is a classic in the genre of queer speculative fiction. The novel takes place during the late 21st century in a high-tech future city, where human beings have migrated to domes beneath the sea and the concept of “gender” is meaningless because the body and brain are separated. The intriguing story portrays a young woman’s quest for self-understanding while exploring gender and sexuality, technological domination, and capitalism. First published in Taiwan in 1995, The Membranes was translated into English by Ari Larissa Heinrich and published by Columbia University Press in 2021.
Chi Ta-wei currently serves as an associate professor of Taiwanese literature at National Chengchi University. Chi’s award-winning creative writing ranges from science fiction to queer short stories, and his scholarly works focus on LGBT studies, disability studies, and Sinophone literary history. Taiwan has long enjoyed a legacy of queer and non-heteronormative literature since the lifting of martial law in 1987, and numerous LGBTQ+ authors have won the most prestigious literary awards and accolades, as Chi Ta-wei and The Membranes did in the 1990s. In recent years, Taiwan has become arguably the most progressive country in all of Asia for LGBT rights, with the country being the first in the region to legalize same-sex marriage in 2019.
At TIFA, Chi Ta-wei will share his commissioned short story in an event under the pandemic-related theme “We come back together, only to fall apart.” The short story will later be published digitally in English alongside 10 other writers around the world who have produced stories under the same theme. In addition, Chi will take part in a discussion about The Membranes, the future of queer identity, and the impact of capitalism.
TIFA, which has been taking place annually in the fall since 1974, is Canada’s largest and longest-running literary festival, providing the world’s leading contemporary authors with an internationally recognized forum to present their work. TIFA 2022 will be held from September 22 to October 2 at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, with additional online offerings to complement the program.
TIFA 2022 Events Featuring Chi Ta-wei
Commissioned Reading (We Come Back Together: Chi Ta-wei)
Time: Friday, September 30, 1:30-2:00 pm
Location: Stage in the Park at Harbourfront Centre Event Page
Discussion (The Future is Fluid: Chi Ta-wei)
Time: Saturday, October 1, 5:30-6:30 pm
Location: Lakeside Terrace at Harbourfront CentreEvent Page