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"Literature Beyond the Wall" - The Book Launch of "Long Road", a Collection of Inmates' Creative Writing, by the Agency of Corrections, Ministry of Justice (MOJ)

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  • Last updated:2019-03-20
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     The 2014 National Creative Writing Competition for Inmates of Corrective Organizations was held by the Agency to reinforce life education for inmates and promote the use of writing as a way of emotional expression and self-examination. The works of the top three writers and the three distinction awards were compiled in to a duology for publication. The "Literature Beyond the Wall" book launch for creative writing by inmates was also held at the Kaohsiung Women's Prison on April 15, 2015, to showcase the literary endeavors of inmates.


     The creative writing competition was designed to enhance inmates' literary ability and creativity during the process of composition. The publication of this book collection would allow the inmates to express their talents and achieve self-efficacy. During this creative writing competition, a total of 59 submissions were selected through the internal preliminaries at each facility. The regional semi-finals then chose 13 of the best works for the national finals. Finally, 6 inmates emerged from the pack as winners of the top 3 places and top 3 distinctions.


     Dr. Hsu Chao-wen from the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at National Pingtung University was invited to the book launch as the judge for the finals and gave the following analysis: The creative writings of the inmates for this competition were presented in a variety of formats including metafiction, floral fantasy and prophecy. The portrayal of the characters, the plot arrangement and design of settings all expressed a variety of themes such as going astray, wasted lives, revenge and salvation. They came across as thought-provoking moral plays. Counselor Chen Tsung-hsing was also invited to lead the inmates of the Kaohsiung Women's Prison in performing Long Road, the 1st place winner, as a psychodrama. This allowed the audience to experience the life choices faced by the main character in the book in a personal way. The event also arranged for the award-winning inmates to share their personal experiences and an inmate said: This competition taught me a great deal. The process of writing a story was the perfect opportunity to look back on my own life story. There was nothing spectacular about my past deeds but they were the truths of an ordinary life. I hope it will serve as an example to others.


     The Deputy Director of Agency of Corrections said during his speech: This book was the first time that the Agency of Corrections has ever published a collection of literature written by inmates. It is not only an innovation in corrective education but also concrete encouragement and support for inmates. Through this book, society will hopefully see how inmates have been changed and transformed through the effects of arts and culture, and bring this "feast of art and culture" to a successful conclusion.


     This collection is divided into two parts. The physical book can be read at designated libraries. After April 22, the e-book can also be downloaded by scanning the QR Code with a mobile phone app or from our Agency website (http://www.mjac.moj.gov.tw/) under e-Books in the Corrections Publications and Books section. The general public is welcome to visit and read the creative writings of the inmates.

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