We had a wonderful and informative evening with Larry Feign on Thursday, 8th April.
Larry is well-known to many old Hong Kong hands as the creator of The World of Lily Wong cartoon that we turned to in the South China Morning Post in days of old. However, Thursday's session was about his new project, the historical novel, The Flower Boat Girl.
This is based on the true story of Shek Yang, the pirate queen of the south China coast. Shek Yang was a real person whom Larry first happened on in an old folk song of the Tangka or boat people. Through a series of happy coincidences, he established that she was a real person, and was able to hunt down her story - albeit one with many holes.
In his fascinating, erudite and at times funny presentation, Larry discussed the difficulties he faced in tracing source material, and the literary challenges he faced in remaining authentic to the truth while weaving a compelling story around it.
Larry's book is available online and in Bookazine.
Let's not dwell on 2020, but look forwards to 2021.
We held the AGM in January. Highlights are that we will:
All of which we are now doing!
Changes and Good News for 2020.
To those who attended HKWC's AGM on 8th January, 2020, many thanks. We had a detailed and lively discussion. The highlights are:
It's been a while since the blurb about the HKWC has been given any attention. Our thanks to Cameron Deuck and Paul Corrigan for agreeing to look at this. We hope this will go some way to helping with the next item, which is...
Your membership dues have largely gone to subsidising the annual anthology. We think it's better if they go to subsidising events, so we're looking for external funding from charities, NGOs and sympathetic individuals. That will help with...
Since about 2016, our membership has fallen from over eighty to under forty. This is not because we've done anything wrong; it's mostly down to people leaving Hong Kong. We will approach high schools and universities, and arrange more joint events, to attract new writers. It's about quality, not quantity, but we need a certain critical mass. To which end...
Event Payment Policy.
In the past, members and non-members paid the same (or little different) for events, which meant there was little incentive to join. Starting now, paid-up members attend all HKWC events free. However, to encourage members to attend as well as to book, we will ask members to pay up front, and they will recieve a 100% cash rebate at the event. We have, however, fixed one set of free events, which is...
Last Tuesday Reading and Social (LTRS).
On the last Tuesday of every month starting from February, HKWC will hold a reading and social at Varga Lounge, 7 p.m. The format is simple: turn up with a piece that will take no more than four or five minutes to read (about a thousand words), read it out loud, and other people attending will offer their criticism in a friendly and constructive manner. Those who read extracts from longer pieces can bring along a few print-outs of those longer pieces, on which others can read and comment by email (or whatever).
Members are encouraged to stick around for a drink or two afterwards, make friends, brainstorm, and form critique groups with like-minded members.
For your diary, the LTRS meetings in the first half of this year will be held on Tuesday February 25th, Tuesday March 31st, Tuesday April 28th, Tuesday May 26th, and Tuesday June 30th.
The reading is intended to help you develop ideas for...
The 2020 Anthology.
Long-standing member, Nathan Bridgeman has been kind enough to volunteer to be the lead editor for this year's collection, assisted by Wilson Li and Ruth Thomason. The theme will be with you before Chinese New Year, so you can think about your contribution as we enter the Year of the Rat. This, however, won't be printed unless...
I have not been able to persuade Paypal to reactivate the account, so I'm afraid I must ask all members to pay their dues the old way, by cheque or ATM transfer - email the hello account for details - which brings me on to...
The role of treasurer was voted out of existence at the AGM. Like any good despot, your chairman is gathering power into his hands.
Many Thanks, and Watch This Space!
Summer is usually a quiet time for the HKWC as the anthology editors gather in the final drafts and many people disappear for the season (really - some people disappear for the whole season!) For now, some little things to mention:
1) Anthology contributors - final draft deadline is 31 August - don't miss it, whatever you do!
2) Our PO Box address has changed to one in Kowloon, which saves me quite a bit of legwork. Please note that you absolutely must address it as shown - you can't put a name at the top of the address because (apparently) they're cracking down on multiple users of PO Boxes. Who knew, eh?! The address is:
Hong Kong Writers' Circle
PO Box 70793
Kowloon Central Post Office
3) Our wonderful secretary Michele has a book launch in September - details on the website front page. If you have or know of any other events, just let me know at the usual email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
4) New podcast should be coming soon - all about MFAs...
Reena Bhojwani discusses young adult fiction with Natalie Murray, Jordan Rivet and Anjali Mittal, both writing and publishing. Check it out here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/hongkongpodcast/037-hkwcpodcast-episode037-yanovels.mp3
If anyone had any residual doubts about science fiction’s being a serious subject, they would have been dispelled by the slick professionalism of the event and the quality of the speakers. Held at Hong Kong’s Conrad Hotel, the packed audience speakers included academics, scientists, editors, film makers and, of course, authors. Topics ranged from a history of science fiction to challenges faced in publication, from the search for alien life to genetic engineering and, of course, included a number of authors talking about their work and their writing process as well as editors and film makers. Interestingly, there were also sessions on the financial aspects of science fiction, including sessions lead by investors.
Highlights included author Allen Steele’s talk on the history of science fiction, providing an important understanding of science fiction’s journey from the fringes to the mainstream, MIT Media Lab’s Lisa Nip presentation about inorganic human augmentation as a means of adapting the human for long distance space travel and life on alien planets and the SETI institute’s Seth Shostak’s lively talk on the search for extra-terrestrial life.
A fantastic event for Sci-Fi readers, writers and the merely curious and one that has a firm place in Hong Kong’s literary scene. I’ll be back for next year’s event.
Check out our podcast about melon on YouTube, through I Tunes or direct download.
Samuel Ferrer introduces his novel The Last Gods of Indochine, and gives a masterclass on editing a novel for publication.
Come along on 29 January at Culture Club (15 Elgin Street)
This month, join your fellow Writers Circle members to discuss where we've been and decide where we're heading.
The AGM is a great opportunity to share any ideas you might have on the future of the HKWC, or if you would like to get more involved in socials, critique groups, the anthology or simply the Writers Circle in general.
Following that, there will be a chance to have a drink and break in the New Year with fellow writing friends. Things will get going from 7pm, and if you are planning to attend do let us know on MeetUp below We hope to see you there!
Meetup Link: https://www.meetup.com/Hong-Kong-Writers-Social-Meetup/events/246743809/
YouTube directions here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjwLcuvf_I4
HKWC chairman SCC Overton interviewed Rukhsana Yasmin of Wasafiri magazine at the British Council. Check out the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OL1Ruvq4dEs
HOW DO HOURS DEFINE US? Our finest hour, our hour of need, an eleventh hour decision.... Moments of pride and desolation are defined by this unit of time, which in itself is just sixty minutes – one of which is enough time to miss that bus, and fifteen of which will be our lifetime’s allowance of fame.... But when collected in bundles of twenty-four, these hours grow to mark the passing of a day: a rainy day, a red-letter day, or a cold one in hell. For a city like Hong Kong, renowned for its unrelenting pace and fleeting interactions, an hour seems like a fitting unit of time from which to start a collection of stories. Each hour is different, as market traders give way to commuters and school children, who give way to shoppers, diners, clubbers, and – of course – denizens of the night. Behind every narrow sub-divided window, on the first and last MTR departures of the day, below underpasses in Causeway Bay, lives are being lived. Twenty-four hours give twenty-four points of entry into the stories, characters and themes that define our city.