Qiu Miaojin

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Chiu Miao-Chin (Qiu Miaojin)
Qiu Miaojin.jpg
Born (1969-05-29)May 29, 1969
Changhua County, Taiwan
Died June 25, 1995(1995-06-25) (aged 26)
Paris, France
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, filmmaker
Language Chinese
Nationality Taiwan
Alma mater Taipei First Girls' High School, National Taiwan University, University of Paris VIII
Period 1989–1995
Genre Literary fiction, autobiography
Literary movement LGBT literature
Notable works Notes of a Crocodile, Letters from Montmartre
Notable awards China Times Literature Award, Central Daily News Short Story Prize, United Literature Association Award

Chiu Miao-Chin (Qiu Miaojin) (Chinese: 邱妙津; May 29, 1969 – June 25, 1995) was a Taiwanese novelist. Her unapologetically lesbian[1] 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.[2]

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.[3] Her works as a filmmaker are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.[4]

Her best-known work is Notes of a Crocodile,[5] 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.[6] Notes of a Crocodile was published in 1994, amid a Taiwanese media frenzy surrounding lesbians, including an incident in which a TV journalist secretly photographed 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."[7][8][9]

Qiu has been recognized as a counterculture icon,[10] as well as described as a "martyr" in the movement for LGBT rights in Taiwan.[11] 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.[12][13]



Short stories[edit]

  • "Platonic Hair" (1990) - translated by Fran Martin. In F. Martin (Ed. & Trans.), Angelwings: Contemporary Queer Fiction from Taiwan. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0-231-13841-3

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sang, Tze-Lan D (2003), The Emerging Lesbian: Female Same-Sex Desire in Modern China, University of Chicago Press, p. 159, ISBN 0-226-73480-3 
  2. ^ "Taiwanese novelist who killed herself in Paris at 26, Qiu Miaojin, remembered and reassessed in RTHK film". South China Morning Post. Retrieved June 11, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Qiu Miaojin". Words Without Borders. Retrieved June 11, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Qiu Miaojin". Paper Republic. Retrieved June 11, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Qiu Miaojin's Survival Guide". The Millions. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  6. ^ Heinrich, Ari Larissa. "Consider the Crocodile: Qiu Miaojin’s Lesbian Bestiary". The Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved June 11, 2017. 
  7. ^ "PEN Translation Fund: Bonnie Huie, Excerpts from Qiu Miaojin's Notes of a Crocodile". PEN American Center. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  8. ^ "'Cult Classic of Taiwanese Lesbian Literature' Now Excerpted In English, Available Online". Autostraddle. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  9. ^ "'Last Words From Montmartre'". Retrieved February 5, 2016. 
  10. ^ "PEN Translation Fund: Bonnie Huie on translating Qiu Miaojin". PEN American Center. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Taiwanese novelist who killed herself in Paris at 26, Qiu Miaojin, remembered and reassessed in RTHK film". South China Morning Post. Retrieved June 11, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Qiu Miaojin". Paper Republic. Retrieved June 11, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Taiwanese novelist who killed herself in Paris at 26, Qiu Miaojin, remembered and reassessed in RTHK film". South China Morning Post. Retrieved June 11, 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

  • "Afterword," by Ari Larissa Heinrich, in Last Words from Montmartre, by Qiu Miaojin, translated by Ari Larissa Heinrich. New York: New York Review Books, 2014. ISBN 978-1-59017-725-9
  • "Begin Anywhere: Transgender and Transgenre Desire in Qiu Miaojin's Last Words from Montmartre," in Transgender China: Histories and Cultures, ed. Howard Chiang. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012. ISBN 978-0-230-34062-6, http://www.worldcat.org/title/transgender-china/oclc/830163605&referer=brief_results
  • "Stigmatic Bodies: The Corporeal Qiu Miaojin," in Embodied Modernities: Corporeality, Representation, and Chinese Cultures eds. Fran Martin and Larissa Heinrich. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-8248-2963-6
  • Martin, Fran. "Situating Sexualities: Queer Representation in Taiwanese Fiction, Film, and Public Culture," Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2003. ISBN 978-962-209-619-6
  • Sang, Tze-Lan D. The Emerging Lesbian: Female Same-Sex Desire in Modern China, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. ISBN 0-226-73478-1

External links[edit]