| May 29, 1969
Changhua County, Taiwan (1969-05-29) |
Novelist, short story writer
Taipei First Girls' High School, National Taiwan University, University of Paris VIII
Literary fiction, autobiography
June 25, 1995, Paris, France
Last Words from Montmartre
Taipei First Girls' High School, National Taiwan University
Qiu Miaojin Wikipedia
Chiu Miao-Chin (Qiu Miaojin) (Chinese: 邱妙津; May 29, 1969 – June 25, 1995) was a Taiwanese novelist. Her unapologetically lesbian sensibility has had a profound and lasting influence on LGBT literature in Taiwan.
Originally from Changhua County in western Taiwan, she attended the prestigious Taipei First Girls' High School and National Taiwan University, where she graduated with a major in psychology. She worked as a counselor and later as a reporter at the weekly magazine The Journalist. In 1994 she moved to Paris, where she pursued graduate studies in clinical psychology and feminism at University of Paris VIII, studying with philosopher Hélène Cixous.
Her death was a suicide, an act that may be associated with political and moral heroism in its Chinese historical context. Although there has been a great deal of speculation as to the exact cause of death, most accounts suggest that she stabbed herself with a kitchen knife.
Qiu's writing is influenced by the non-narrative structures of avant-garde and experimental film. Her novels contain camera angles and ekphrasis in response to European art cinema, including allusions to directors such as Andrei Tarkovsky, Theo Angelopoulos, Derek Jarman, and Jean-Luc Godard. During her time in Paris, Qiu directed a short film titled Ghost Carnival. Her works as a filmmaker are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Her best-known work is Notes of a Crocodile, for which she was awarded the China Times Literature Award in 1995. The main character's nickname, Lazi, is the direct source of a key slang term for "lesbian" in Chinese. Notes of a Crocodile was published in 1994, amid a Taiwanese media frenzy surrounding lesbians, including an incident in which a TV journalist secretly filmed patrons at a lesbian bar without their consent, resulting in some suicides, and the group suicide of two girls, rumored to have been lesbians, from the elite private high school attended by several characters in the novel and by Qiu herself. Along with her final work before her death, Last Words from Montmartre, the novel has been widely described as "a cult classic."
Last Words From Montmartre is a conceptual novel that comprises 20 letters that can be read in any order, drawing on the notion of indeterminacy. Its prose appears to "blur distinctions between personal confession and lyric aphorism." Dated between April 27, 1995, and June 17, 1995, about a week before the author killed herself, the letters begin with the dedication: "For dead little Bunny, and Myself, soon dead." It has been described as a work of relational art and noted for the required presence of the reader, "a 'you' to narrate to" that is a signature of Qiu's works.
Qiu has been recognized as a counterculture icon, as well as described as a "martyr" in the movement for LGBT rights in Taiwan. A two-volume set of her diaries was published posthumously in 2007. Luo Yijun's book Forgetting Sorrow (遣悲懷) was written in her memory. In 2017, her life and work became the subject of a documentary produced by Radio Television Hong Kong and directed by Evans Chan.