HKBU presents Dream of the Red Chamber Award to Taiwan novelist Kan Yao-ming for Becoming Bunun

Wednesday 30 November 2022


Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) presented the first prize of the 9th Dream of the Red Chamber Award to Taiwan novelist Mr Kan Yao-ming (甘耀明) for his novel Becoming Bunun (《成為真正的人》) at the prize presentation ceremony held on 25 November 2022.

Mr Kan expressed his gratitude upon receiving the Award at the Ceremony. He also voiced his pleasure in visiting Hong Kong in order to pay his respects to the grave of Australian Sergeant A. A. James, a real-life historical figure portrayed in Becoming Bunun. Having travelled on foot from Sha Tin to the east of Hong Kong Island, Mr Kan described the scenery he glimpsed along the way and recounted the tragedy that befell A. A. James and his family, as well as the literary achievements of James’s son, Clive James. Mr Kan also commented on the relationship between Hong Kong and Taiwan.

He said: “The island represents realism for literature, while the surrounding ocean can be regarded as fiction. The fusion of realism and fiction constitutes the churning of waves on the coastline, the vast mist extending from the land to the sea, and the nourishment of the sea breeze blowing onto the land. They are all as one. From a higher perspective, Taiwan and Hong Kong are also nearby islands connected by the ocean. I would like to dedicate the award-winning novel Becoming Bunun, a historical story about life and growth, to the beauty of Hong Kong.”

Please click here for Mr Kan Yao-ming’s full address (Chinese only).

Dr Ng Yau-nang, Convenor of the 9th Dream of the Red Chamber Award, said: “Becoming Bunun is a bildungsroman depicting the life journey of the young Halmut as he finds himself. It successfully describes the tribal culture and the growth of aboriginal heroes. The most important part is the theme of growth, and the writing depicts life and human nature. There are ups and downs, struggles, surprises, and losses; of course, conflicts, trials, and changes are indispensable.”

Dr Clement Chen, Chairman of the Council and the Court, and Professor Stuart Christie, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts at HKBU, officiated at the prize presentation ceremony held at the Fringe Club in Central. Following the Ceremony, Mr Kan detailed aspects of his writer’s journey during the talk “Writers in Dialogue”.

Members of the public can access here and enjoy a recording of the Ceremony and the online talk via the HKBU’s Faculty of Arts’ YouTube channel.

Born in Taiwan, Mr Kan is a globally recognised author whose works are held in high esteem. His winning work Becoming Bunun (2021) has received numerous literary awards since its publication last year. He now devotes his time to writing full-time. His prior works include Mysterious Train (2003), The School of Water-ghosts and the Otter Who Lost His Mother (2005), Killing Ghosts (2009), Story of a Funeral (2010), The Girl and the Woodcutter (2015), The Summer General Winter Came (2017) and a series of educational books co-authored with Mr Li Chong-jian.

Mr Kan’s previous works have won numerous awards, including the Taipei International Book Exhibition Book Prize, the Golden Book Award (novel category) at the Taiwan Literature Awards, the Golden Tripod Award and the Jury Award of HKBU’s 6th Dream of the Red Chamber Award. His works have also been selected among the “top 10 books of the year” by Openbook, as well as among the “10 most influential books” by the Kingstone Bookstore.  

The Dream of the Red Chamber Award has been held biennially by the Faculty of Arts at HKBU since 2006. It is sponsored by Mr Zhang Dapeng, President of Y. Cee Chemicals Limited, and aims to encourage the publication of excellent Chinese novels, recognise outstanding Chinese novels written by writers from around the world, and enhance the standard of Chinese novel-writing worldwide. The winner of the first prize receives HKD300,000 and a certificate, as well as a hand-made, blown-glass trophy created by Dr Sunny Wang, Associate Professor of the Academy of Visual Arts at HKBU. Please click here for further details about the Award.