2002 / 11月
Sun Sung-tang /tr. by Phil Newell
In an effort to reduce the gap between rural and urban areas, and to respond concretely to cultural demand in counties and small cities, the Government Information Office (GIO) broke with a 26-year tradition and this year moved the Golden Tripod Awards ceremony out of Taipei City for the first time. It was held in Ilan County, where it was able to tap into local cultural characteristics and displayed a definite Lanyang Plain flavor.
On October 26, to welcome the holding of the Golden Tripod Awards (GTA) in Ilan, local arts groups-including the Lan Yang Dancers, the I-lan Journal of History, and the Four Seasons Tribal Report-mobilized to participate in the event, while famous Ilan-native writers including Huang Chun-ming, Li Tung, and You Chien-kuei hurried back home to serve as prize bestowers. Li Tung stated that it was a fortunate thing for the people of Ilan that the government chose this area, with its rich rural ambience, to hold this event, and in return the people of Ilan sincerely and enthusiastically participated.
The ceremony proceeded very differently from in the past. For the first time it took the form of a concert. Moreover, rather than having the prizewinners go onstage to receive their awards, the prize-bestowers went off stage to where the winners were sitting. This saved a great deal of time on idle chatter and speeches.
Teresa C. Hsu, who accepted an award on behalf of The Earth Magazine, said that this was the best GTA ceremony she has ever attended, and the thoughtfulness and attention to detail of the organizing body was unforgettable. Editor-in-Chief Sun Hsiao-ying of Youth Juvenile Monthly remarked that she never thought a GTA ceremony could be so refined, and that it certainly felt very different from the past.
The Golden Tripod Awards date back to 1976. Their purpose is to recognize outstanding organizations and individuals in the publishing world, in hopes of raising publication standards, promoting the development of the publishing industry, and encouraging reading among the general public. The GTA ceremony is now a high point of the publishing year. Not only are winners proud of their prizes, the awards influence the purchasing decisions of many readers.
But whay was Ilan chosen as host? GIO director general Arthur Iap said that they wanted to take advantage of the Ilan experience of creating a cultural character that combines city and country, in order to create a completely new atmosphere for the GTA.
Iap further explained that in recent years Ilan has spared no effort at promoting local cultural development, and has been very successful in hosting the Ilan International Children's Folklore and Folkgame Festival and the Ilan International Collegiate Invitational Regatta, making Ilan's culture known internationally. The GTA ceremony is an important annual cultural event, and by holding it in Ilan, not only can the Ilan experience be brought into it, it also has symbolic meaning in setting deeper roots for the GTA heritage.
In order to bring out the special nature of this event in Ilan, the organizers also organized a series of peripheral events to promote the GTA spirit. There was a selection of works under the rubric "My First Book." Also, an "Ilan Tripod Award," inspired by the GTA, was initiated. In addition there were a study camp entitled "Writing, Reading, Community," a book fair, a lecture series, and other activities.
The fresh atmosphere of the GTA in Ilan raised hopes for the future. Veteran publisher Charles H.C. Kao, winner of a special contribution award, stated in an interview that the cultural industry is an indicator of a country's virtue or vice. The real success of a country depends not on how many personal computers it exports, but on whether its cultural industry is flourishing and plays to an international audience. Kao recommended to the GIO that there's no need to hold the GTA every year, but that every other year or every third year would suffice. He also advised that there be some limits on prizewinners, so that those who won this year might leave room next year for others. He also recommended that the GIO use the prize money to purchase books to be sent to localities in need.
Responding to these ideas, Arthur Iap says that the structure of Taiwan society does not yet make it possible for every variety of cultural industry to really take shape. There is inadequate diversity in the industry and readers do not have sufficient purchasing power, as reflected in the domination of the market by only a few big publishers. But good magazines still need encouragement, so that readers in the market can recognize them, and this is one of the most significant functions of the Golden Tripod Awards.
The layout of the Golden Tripod Book Fair was elegant and refined; this bronze statue, modeled on a person reading a book, was really an eye-catcher.