The Boy from Clearwater: Book 1

Apr 24, 2024, 6:00 pm7:30 pm
302 Frist



Event Description

For fans of Persepolis and March comes an incredible true story that lays bare the tortured and triumphant history of Taiwan, an island claimed and fought over by many countries, through the life story of a man who lived through its most turbulent times.

Taiwan, 1930s.

Tsai Kun-lin, an ordinary boy, was born in Qingshui. He grew up happily sneaking into the sugar cane fields reciting nursery rhymes he couldn’t understand, despite Japanese occupation looming over him. As war emerges, Tsai’s memories shift to military parades, air raids, and watching others face conscription into the army. After the war comes a new era under the rule of the Chinese National Party, and the book-loving teenager tries hard to learn Mandarin and be a good son. He believes he is finally stepping towards a comfortable future, but little does he know, a dark cloud awaits him ahead.

Taiwan, 1950s.

In his second year at Taichung First Senior High School, Tsai had attended a book club hosted by his teacher. This comes back to haunt him when he is consequently arrested on a charge of taking part in an “illegal” assembly. After being tortured into a false confession, he is sentenced to ten years in prison and eventually sent to Green Island for “reformation.” Lasting until his release in September 1960, Tsai, a victim of the White Terror era, spent ten years of his youth in prison, experiencing unspeakable horrors as well as unimaginable kindnesses. But he is now ready to embrace freedom.

Book 2 of The Boy from Clearwater will be coming in May 2024.

Author/Yu Pei-Yun(游珮芸)

Yu Pei-Yun graduated from the Department of Foreign Languages, National Taiwan University and holds a doctoral degree in Human Science from Ochanomizu University, Japan. Currently teaching at the Graduate Institute of Children's Literature at National Taitung University, she is devoted to the studies of Children's Literature and Culture. Yu also writes, translates, critiques, curates exhibitions about and plans the publication of children's literature.

Illustrator/Zhou Jian-Xin(周見信)

Professional graphic artist Zhou Jian-Xin holds a PhD in Children's Literature from National Taitung University and MA in Design from Taipei National University of the Arts.

Translator/Lin King(金翎)

Lin King is a writer and translator from Taipei. Her writing has appeared in Boston Review and Asymptote, among other publications, and has won the PEN/Dau Short Story Award for Emerging Writers. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and an AB from Princeton University.

The Boy From Clear Water, Volume 1 is a 2023 Freeman Book Award winner. This book will be on sale at Labyrinth Books in Princeton.

There will be light refreshments before the event.

  • East Asian Studies Program
  • The Princeton University Taiwanese American Students Association
  • Taipei Cultural Center in New York
  • East Asian Studies Department