February 2012 Newsletter

In this edition:

  • HKWC Secretary and newsletter writer Laura Besley discusses humidity
  • Call for the 2012 Anthology submissions
  • Launch Party for the 2011 Anthology, As We See It: Hong Kong Stories
  • Our next Just Write workshop on myths
  • HKWC Member Bios feature on our new website
  • HKWC members John Biggs and Shobha Nihalani publish books
  • All the news from around the HKWC

 

Click here to read on!

January 2012 Newsletter

CONTENTS:

*MFA IN CREATIVE WRITING AT CITY UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: A current student’s perspective

*GET THE LATEST HKWC ANTHOLOGY: As We See It: Hong Kong Stories

*HKWC JUST WRITE WORKSHOP: MYSTERIOUS PEOPLE: 31 January

*HKWC WINTER READING: 7 February

*HKWC ANNUAL SURVEY: Help improve the HKWC

*WIPS EVENT – THESPIANS AND POETS: 15 February

*CITY UNIVERSITY MFA PROGRAMME: Apply before 31 March

*HOTEL CHINA IN LEIPZIG: 15-18 March

*FROM THE COMMITTEE

*WRITERS ON WRITING: 40 Wright

About our publications:

The HKWC has published seven critically acclaimed anthologies of short stories – Haunting Tales of Hong Kong, Sweat & the City, Hong Kong Whodunnits, Love & Lust, Hotel China, Measurements: Sketches from Hong Kong, and As We See It: Hong Kong Stories – which are available at selected bookstores. Read more on our publications webpage.


This month’s newsletter will be my last. I thank all of you who have complimented and encouraged me on my newsletters. I have enjoyed providing HKWC members with information over the past 20 months; however, I feel that it is time for someone else to take over. Subsequent newsletters will be compiled by Laura Besley who is an excellent writer and the new HKWC secretary. The essay below is written by HKWC member Joy Al-Sofi who is currently taking the MFA in creative writing at City University. Both Laura and Joy have stories in the latest HKWC anthology As We See It: Hong Kong Stories.

Ryan Harper

hongkongwriterscircle@gmail.com

Hong Kong Writers Circle


*MFA IN CREATIVE WRITING AT CITY UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: A current student’s perspective

The MFA in Creative Writing at City University of Hong Kong is led by the talented, locally-based writer, Xu Xi and has a stated focus on Asian writing. Half the credits are earned through distance learning via computer and the other half through brief but intense on-campus residencies. It is a basic two year, part-time programme but students may take up to four years to complete their degree.

The instructor-writers are either of Asian heritage or have considerable links to Asia; for example Justin Hill, who is British and of European ancestry, lived for many years in China and has written several books set in China. Sybil Baker is a non-Asian American who lived in Korea for 12 years. The Asian aspects of the programme are fluid and the approach is more a state of mind than any requirement of where stories are set or writers are located.

I expect there is an ongoing effort to increase the diversity of the writer-instructors. The current gaps highlight the difficulty in trying to stake out a claim to, or even claiming that there exists such a thing as, Asian writing. Given the vast areas and ethnicities of the Asian continent it is inevitable that under-representations will continue to exist.

The longest of the three on-campus residencies is held in the summer. There are mini-residencies in spring and fall. This past summer’s residency was extremely demanding and at times overwhelming, as we met for eight straight days often from 9 or 9:30 in the morning until the same hour at night with only minimal breaks for lunch or dinner with occasional lectures during those meals as well.

The summer residency conveniently coincides with Hong Kong’s annual book fair which meant City U was able to hold an on-campus public lecture and give the MFA students a private workshop with Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize winning author of the unique novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. His three-hour workshop was stimulating, demanding, and very intense.

There are differences in styles, personalities and expectations from students and instructors that impinge upon the quality of students’ learning. This is the curse of all courses the world over. In the summer residency and this past semester of distance learning I had instructors that ranged from a perfect fit to pretty much not.

Nevertheless, regardless of the instructor, my time spent was intense and I focused on the craft of writing and on my own writing in ways that I had not done before.

If you have the motivation to get serious about your writing, along with the money and the flexibility to tie yourself into intellectual knots you didn’t know existed, then by all means, send in your application for year three of the grand adventure. Deadline for applications is March 31, 2012.

Joy Al-Sofi

Hong Kong Writers Circle member

Let us know about your learning how to write experiences at the comments link of the website newsletter.


*GET THE LATEST HKWC ANTHOLOGY: As We See It: Hong Kong Stories

The latest Hong Kong Writers Circle anthology As We See It: Hong Kong Stories is now available. The price is $60 for members and $120 for non-members. Contact Ryan at hongkongwriterscircle@gmail.com for ordering and collection information.

If you are not a member and wish to join the Hong Kong Writers Circle contact Ryan at hongkongwriterscircle@gmail.com for membership information.


*HKWC JUST WRITE WORKSHOP: MYSTERIOUS PEOPLE: 31 January

How many times have you walked down the street or visited a place and come across a strange person? Sometimes it’s really hard to pin-point exactly why this person is strange – voice, dress sense (or lack of?) gait, behaviour…

These people tend to linger on in our thoughts, sometimes. Perhaps it’s time we relocate them into our writing…

Just Write returns with a great workshop to put to use some of those strange encounters.

In this workshop, we will focus on describing the characters based on our memory before taking the potential character from 2D to 3D.

Date: Tuesday 31 January 2012

Time: 7.00 pm – 9.00 pm

Venue: Upstairs at The Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong

As always, all Just Write workshops are free and are open to members and non-members alike. No advance preparation is required – just bring a pen, a notebook and get ready to write.

If you would like to attend please RSVP on our Facebook page or email info@hkwriterscircle.com.


*HKWC WINTER READING: 7 February

Struggling with a first draft? Need an audience before submitting your latest short story? Want to hear what the HKWC is writing?

Following the success of last year’s autumn reading, the HKWC Winter Reading will take place on Tuesday 7 February from 7 p.m. The venue is upstairs at the Varga Lounge, located at 36 Staunton Street, Soho, Central. Participants are limited to 15 on a first come first served basis.

Members can read or just come along and listen. For those who are hesitant about reading their work aloud: several members found reading their piece aloud helpful for the editing process.

For this reading, writers are encouraged (but do not need to) read a piece or parts of a piece from a work-in-progress. For further details or to sign up for the reading, please email Melanie at info@hkwriterscircle.com.


*HKWC ANNUAL SURVEY: Help improve the HKWC

Please take a few minutes to fill in our annual survey. All feedback is much appreciated!


*WIPS EVENT – THESPIANS AND POETS: 15 February

WiPS members will present short extracts from their writings, whether novels, articles, poems, or upcoming work. Come and be entertained by fellow logophiles, learn what helps make a successful piece of writing and debate the pitfalls.

Date: Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Time: 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm

Venue: Hughes Room, Foreign Correspondents’ Club, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong

Admission: $100 (WiPS); $200 (non-members)

Registration required: Email events@hkwips.org and write ‘Thespians & Poets’ in the subject line. Payment can be made at the door by cash or cheque made out to “Women in Publishing Society”.


*CITY UNIVERSITY MFA PROGRAMME: Apply before 31 March

The CityU Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is now accepting applicants for 2012, which begins next summer. It is the only MFA in the world with a specific focus on Asia and Asian writing in English.

For detailed information, please visit http://www.english.cityu.edu.hk/mfa.


*HOTEL CHINA IN LEIPZIG: 15-18 March

Frank Roeve, who published Hotel China in a German translation through his company EPIDU, will be promoting the book at the Leipzig Book Fair this March and invites any of the featured writers who might be in that direction at that time to come along. It is, he says, “a very nice event”.


*FROM THE COMMITTEE

  • Announcement: HKWC members Leela Panikar and Ian Greenfield won 2nd and 3rd prizes respectively in the SCMP/RTHK short story competition Congratulations Leela and Ian! Both stories are available to read through the Radio 3 website.
  • The HKWC AGM was held on 18 January. The following posts were elected: Chair – Melanie Ho; Treasurer – Lawrence Gray; Secretary – Laura Gamble; Committee – Ryan Harper, Kim Grant, Dani Lowry, David Hill, Edmund Price, James Tam, Reena Bhojwani and Phillip Kim.

*WRITERS ON WRITING: 40 Wright

I’m writing a novel. I’ve got the page numbers done.

Stephen Wright


JOIN THE HONG KONG WRITERS CIRCLE

Membership of the HKWC is only HK$490 a year!

If you wish to join, please download the membership form.