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Ed Lin: Winner of Three Asian American Literary Awards Talks About his New Book “Death Doesn’t Forget” Ep 197

By Felicia Lin

A note from Talking Taiwan host Felicia Lin:

Ed Lin is a native New Yorker of Taiwanese and Chinese descent. He is the first writer to win three Asian American Literary Awards. The last time we had Ed on Talking Taiwan (in 2014) we spoke about “Ghost Month” his first book in the Taipei Night Market Series of mysteries. Since then, he’s written a YA novel and now four books in the Taipei Night Market Series. “Death Doesn’t Forget,” Is the latest book in the series and it will be published in July.

This episode of Talking Taiwan has been sponsored by NATWA, the North America Taiwanese Women’s Association.

NATWA was founded in 1988, and its mission is:

  1. to evoke a sense of self-esteem and enhance women’s dignity,
  2. to oppose gender discrimination and promote gender equality,
  3. to fully develop women’s potential and encourage their participation in public affairs,
  4. to contribute to the advancement of human rights and democratic development in Taiwan,
  5. to reach out and work with women’s organizations worldwide to promote peace for all.

 

To learn more about NATWA visit their website: www.natwa.com

 

Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:

 

  • Ed Lin’s Taipei Mysteries books series and how he went about planning and writing them
  • The main character of Ed Lin’s Taipei Mysteries book series, Jing-Nan and how he’s evolved
  • The premise and what inspired Ed to write Death Doesn’t Forget
  • How the indigenous tribe that Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei is named after is not officially recognized as a tribe in Taiwan
  • The lack of representation of indigenous people in Taiwan’s government
  • The way Ed has described Taipei in his novel
  • The neighborhood of Guangzhou Street west of Longshan Temple and why he described it as seedy
  • The training center located near Longshan Temple in Taipei for aborigine people and why the program was unsuccessful
  • The inconsistent romanization of streets in Taipei
  • How the stops on Taiwan’s MRT system are announced in four languages: Mandarin, Taiwanese (Holo), Hakka and English
  • How safe Taipei and Taiwan is
  • The role of organized crime, good and bad in Taiwan’s society
  • How the population of Taiwan is not monoethnic as some would assume
  • Taiwan’s new immigrants from Southeast Asia
  • The plight of Taiwan’s migrant workers
  • The “island mentality” of Taiwan that Ed describes as people’s kindness and helpfulness
  • Ed’s interactions with complete strangers and gangsters in Taiwan
  • How the characters in Death Doesn’t Forget represent different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds
  • How Taiwan’s White Terror era has affected the people of Taiwan and its lasting trauma
  • Some of the intriguing characters of Death Doesn’t Forget
  • The abuse of migrant fishermen and migrant workers in Taiwan and Ed’s interest in writing about it
  • The “orphan brigade” of Death Doesn’t Forget and Taiwanese baseball teams from the Japanese occupation period (similar to what was portrayed in the film Kano)
  • How Japan used baseball as a form of soft power in its colonies
  • How Taiwan’s Little League baseball team is a form of its soft power
  • Green Island and how one of the characters of Death Doesn’t Forget in spent time at the prison there
  • Why murder is the crime featured in many of Ed’s novels
  • Ed’s observations and thoughts on the intermingling of religions in Taiwan
  • How Ed would immerse himself in the time period of 1976 when writing his Chinatown Mysteries series
  • Ed’s thoughts on how the war in Ukraine may or may not be giving China ideas about attacking Taiwan
  • Ed’s approach to his book readings
  • How/why the narration of Death Doesn’t Forget was switched to third person, instead of first person for all of the other novels in the Taipei Mysteries series
  • How the writing James T. Farrell, Irish-American author of the Studs Lonigan trilogy and Danny O’Neill pentology, inspired Ed to write Death Doesn’t Forget in third person
  • Ed’s foray into YA (young adult) novel writing with David Tung Can’t Have A Girlfriend Until He Gets Into An Ivy League College
  • How Ed came up with the title Death Doesn’t Forget

 

Related Links:

 

Death Doesn’t Forget by Ed Lin: https://sohopress.com/books/death-doesnt-forget/

 

Ed Lin’s website: https://www.edlinforpresident.com/

 

Ed Lin on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/edlinforpresident/

 

Ketagalan Boulevard: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketagalan_Boulevard

 

Ketagalan tribe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketagalan_people

 

How an indigenous community is struggling for autonomy (an article from the Taipei Times): https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2022/03/10/2003774502

 

Naruwan Aboriginal market opens (an article from the Taipei Times): https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2008/09/07/2003422545

History of Taipei: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Taipei

 

Taichung: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taichung

 

Taiwan’s Japanese Occupation Era (under Japanese rule): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwan_under_Japanese_rule

 

Taiwan’s White Terror Era: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Terror_(Taiwan)

 

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth (article from The Economist): https://www.economist.com/leaders/2021/05/01/the-most-dangerous-place-on-earth

 

Welcome to Taiwan: Beatings, Bodies Dumped at Sea and a Culture of Maritime Abuse (an article from The News Lens): https://international.thenewslens.com/feature/highseas/96334

 

Kano (film): https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2247566/

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kano_(film)

 

Recent news about Taiwan’s Little League Baseball team: https://focustaiwan.tw/sports/202207040016

 

https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/sport/archives/2022/07/05/2003781168

 

Little League World Series (Far East Region): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_League_World_Series_(Far_East_Region)

 

Green Island: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Island,_Taiwan

 

Green Island White Terror Memorial: https://www.nhrm.gov.tw/w/nhrm/GI_Visit

 

Remembering Green Island’s First Political Prisoners (an article from The News Lens): https://international.thenewslens.com/article/68499

 

James T. Farrell: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_T._Farrell

 

Ed Lin: Ghost Month in Taiwan (Episode 155): https://talkingtaiwan.com/ed-lin-ghost-month-in-taiwan-ep-155/

 

Professor Andrew Morris: The Relationship Between Taiwan Baseball and its History (Episode 96): https://talkingtaiwan.com/professor-andrew-morris-the-relation-between-taiwan-baseball-and-its-history/

 

Taiwan Communique: Revealing the Truth of Taiwan’s White Terror Era (Episode 63): https://talkingtaiwan.com/taiwan-communique-revealing-truth-taiwans-white-terror-era/

 

Understanding the History of Taiwan through Dr. Jerome Keating (Episode 97): https://talkingtaiwan.com/understanding-the-history-of-taiwan-through-dr-jerome-keating-ep-97/

 

The 228 Massacre: Taboos, Scars, Stigmas and an Essential Lesson in Taiwan History (Episode 171): https://talkingtaiwan.com/the-228-massacre-taboos-scars-stigmas-and-an-essential-lesson-in-taiwan-history-ep-171/

 

Will China Attack Taiwan? Kuan-Ting Chen Discusses Ramifications of the War in Ukraine on Taiwan (Episode 175): https://talkingtaiwan.com/will-china-attack-taiwan-kuan-ting-chen-discusses-ramifications-of-the-war-in-ukraine-on-taiwan-ep-175/

About the Host

Felicia Lin is the Host and Producer of Talking Taiwan, a podcast which seeks to introduce you to interesting stories connected to Taiwan and the diverse individuals who make up Taiwan’s global community.

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