Becoming Bunun by Taiwan novelist Kan Yao-ming wins HKBU's 9th Dream of the Red Chamber Award

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has announced the winners of the 9th Dream of the Red Chamber Award: The World's Distinguished Novel in Chinese. The novel Becoming Bunun(《成為真正的人》)written by the Taiwan novelist Mr Kan Yao-ming(甘耀明)has been awarded the first prize.

Members of the Award’s judging panel praised the novel, and they said that while the story of Becoming Bunun is based on a plane crash on Taiwan’s Sancha Mountain, the incident does not overshadow the story’s focus. The author demonstrates brilliant narrative skills by vividly integrating historical materials into the fictitious characters and plot.

Dr Ng Yau-nang, Convenor of the 9th Dream of the Red Chamber Award and Associate Professor of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at HKBU, said that the judging panel decided to present the first prize to Mr Kan for his work after five hours of discussions and multiple rounds of voting at its meeting on 26 July. The award presentation ceremony will be held in October this year.

Professor Chung Ling, Emeritus Professor of HKBU’s Faculty of Arts and Chairman of the judging panel, said: “Becoming Bunun presents an extraordinary story, convergence of ethnic diversity, and it has an abstruse and mysterious nature. The work demonstrates superior novel writing skills, an overwhelming romantic atmosphere, and the use of poetic language.

Born in Taiwan, Mr Kan is a globally recognised author whose works are held in high esteem. His winning work Becoming Bunun has received numerous literary awards since its publication last year. He has also written a number of other award-winning novels, including Mysterious Train, The School of Water-ghosts and the Otter Who Lost His Mother, Killing Ghosts, Story of a Funeral, The Girl and the Woodcutter, The Summer General Winter Came, and a series of educational books co-authored with Li Chong-jian. Mr Kan’s works have won Taipei International Book Exhibition Book Prizes, the Golden Book Award (novel category) of the Taiwan Literature Awards, the Golden Tripod Awards and the Jury Award of HKBU’s Dream of the Red Chamber Award. His works have also been selected as one of the top ten books of the year by Openbook and the ten most influential books by the Kingstone Bookstore.   

The judging panel also selected Posthuman Comedy(《後人間喜劇》)by Dung Kai-cheung(董啟章), Zero Point Beijing(《北京零公里》)by Chan Koon-chung(陳冠中)and A Chinese Story(《中國故事》)by Yan Lianke(閻連科)for the presentation of the Jury Award. Heart Sutra(《心經》)by Yan Lianke(閻連科)and Dawn of Formosa(《島之曦》)by Chen Yaochang(陳耀昌)were selected as the recipients of the Highly Recommended Award.

The judging panel for the 9th Dream of the Red Chamber Award comprised Professor Chen Sihe(陳思和), literary critic and Professor of Liberal Arts at Fudan University; Professor Chen I-chih(陳義芝), renowned novelist and poet; Professor Huang Ziping(黃子平), scholar in modern Chinese literature studies and Emeritus Professor of HKBU; Mr Chang Kuei-hsin(張貴興), novelist and the First Prize winner of the 8th Dream of the Red Chamber Award for his novel When the Wild Boars Cross the River; Professor Chung Ling(鍾玲), novelist, poet and Emeritus Professor of HKBU; and Professor Carlos Rojas, sinologist and Professor of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University.

The Dream of the Red Chamber Award, held biennially by the Faculty of Arts at HKBU, is sponsored by Mr Zhang Dapeng, President of Y. Cee Chemicals Limited. It aims to encourage the publication of excellent Chinese novels, recognise outstanding Chinese novels by writers from around the world, and enhance the standard, quality, and global reputation of Chinese novel writing. Original Chinese novels of 80,000 words or more, published either in 2020 or 2021, were eligible for the 9th Dream of the Red Chamber Award. As more than 1,000 Chinese novels are published each year, the organising committee of the Award has invited publishing companies and eligible persons to nominate the entries since the Award’s inauguration to streamline the selection process. Please click here for further details of the Award.

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Book cover of Becoming Bunun by Mr Kan Yao-ming