An imaginative author and master of genres, Hermione Lee takes the Taiwanese literary world by storm.
Eighteen-year-old Hermione Lee had taken the Taiwanese literary world by storm with her first award-winning book, In the Name of the Otherworld, published when she was only sixteen. In December 2022, the teenage Taiwanese writer was on course to post more than sixteen books, having challenged herself to a “writer relay race” of writing a book every month.
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Hermione Lee has been awarded numerous accolades, including the Gold Medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, the Literary Titan Gold Book Award, and Best Sci-fi and Fantasy Novel and Best YA Book in the Critters Annual Readers Poll. In 2021, she was the best-selling author on books.com.tw, the most prominent Taiwanese online bookstore.
Debut novel: ‘In the Name of the Otherworld’
Released on September 21, 2021, Hermione Lee’s first novel, In the Name of the Otherworld, follows Alexandria Richardson, an orphaned teen who enters a mysterious world through her school’s magical fountain. In this novel, Hermione Lee explores several issues, such as self-discovery, bullying, and gender stereotypes.
Alexandria faces otherworldly monsters, truths about her parents, and obstacles to her true potential. Hermione Lee draws many parallels between her journey and that of Alexandria, having said in an interview with Taiwan News, “Of course, I don’t have any magical powers and never traveled to a magical world, but Alexandria’s journey of realizing her potential and self-worth is very much like my own.”
In the Name of the Otherworld is the first book in the Otherworld trilogy; the next book, Marvels of the Underworld, was followed by War of the Chaotic Worlds I and War of the Chaotic Worlds II.
Overcoming self-doubt and pride
Hermione Lee hasn’t always been the confident young woman she is today. She has had to overcome self-doubt and many rejections from publishers and agents. When she was 14, she stopped writing for three years. But deep down, she feels she has always been destined to be a writer.
Hermione Lee’s resilience paid off despite several criticisms and rejections. She has learned to stick to her mission, persevere, have humility, and fight for what she believes in. She also thinks the few reality checks she’s encountered have helped her grow as a writer and become more humble.
Today, Hermione Lee is among the best Taiwanese writers; her English novels include Once Upon an Enchantress, The Lost Siren, First Buds of Spring, Helen’s Tale, Eric’s Tale, and War of Chaotic Worlds, among others. She writes in several genres, such as paranormal, horror, young adult, fantasy, romance, and many more. Plus, she aspires to write a book in every possible genre during her lifetime.
Changing the English learning system
Besides becoming an all-around author, the Taiwanese teenage writer also hopes to change the English learning system in Taiwan. She believes the current system based on exams and pedantic focus on grammar “murders” children’s love of new languages.
She believes “instead of cramming new words into students’ minds, the school should encourage students to read more.”
Hermione Lee’s fluency in English came from developing a reading habit early on because her parents would read her English stories as a child. By the time she was in elementary school, she could read the Magic Tree House series. Over time, she has honed her command of English through audiobooks and extensive reading.
Hermione Lee wants to be an English teacher in the future and believes language to be an art form rather than a tool. She also believes parents should actively participate in their children’s learning and foster their interest in English, especially in the age of “fast media.”
She confesses to being a social media addict, but she believes it offers “too many distractions” and “wears down your patience” for reading. Still, she hopes to continue her publishing journey and inspire more Taiwanese literature in English.