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Your guide to the Hong Kong International Literary Festival 2024

By Lily Valette 1 March 2024

Header images courtesy of Hong Kong International Literary Festival

The Hong Kong International Literary Festival (HKILF) is returning to Hong Kong from 4 to 10 March. If you haven’t already, there’s still a bit of time left to secure your tickets to this book lover’s annual rendezvous. Here’s your guide to the event and what to expect.

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Photo: Hong Kong International Literary Festival

Overview

For more than 20 years, the Hong Kong International Literary Festival has been bringing the best of literature to Hong Kong. For 2024, the ensemble of literary guests, talks, panel discussions, readings, book launches, workshops, walks, and more make for another exciting edition. Some of the 50-plus events taking place are already sold out, but you can check out the full programme here to learn more about the talks and panels.

The Young Readers Festival will run alongside HKILF from 4 to 8 March, encouraging children and teenagers to engage in writing and storytelling, and improve their communication skills. For the occasion, 24 international and local authors will host masterclasses and workshops at Hong Kong schools. You can check out the detailed programme here.

Many are expected to attend paleontologist Steve Brusatte’s “Dinosaurs and Drinks” event, as well as Pulitzer Prize finalist Jing Tsu’s presentation of her book Kingdom of Characters: The Language Revolution that Modernised China. Renowned photographer Palani Mohan will present his work in Watch With Wonder, and well-known food writer Fuchsia Dunlop is set to talk about Invitation to a Banquet: The Story of Chinese Food. Working It podcast host Isabel Berwick will tease her book The Future-Proof Career before it hits shelves in April, and the former artistic director of the Australian ballet, David McAllister, will teach you 10 things you didn’t know about ballet, reprising themes from his book Ballet Confidential.

Falling on the same week as International Women’s Day, HKILF is hosting a literary lunch with Vietnamese author Dr Nguyên Phan Quê Mai, the book launch of Women in Publishing Hong Kong’s annual anthology Imprint, and an evening with Sonia Leung, Erica Lyons, and Sue Lynn Tan. Seeing Other People author Diane Reid, who is participating in multiple talks, will join Ronnie Scott to discuss “Writing Complex Women Characters.”

HKILF brings us amazing international authors, but also gives us a chance to discover local stories. Vaudine England will present Fortune’s Bazaar: The Making of Hong Kong and chat with author Ian Gill at “Hong Kong History Between Two Friends” talk. Sheung-King will present his novel Batshit Seven: A Millennial in Modern Hong Kong. Highlighting Hong Kong’s intangible heritage, a talk about traditional craft will be animated by Dylan Kwok, author of Open Birdcages and Lindsay Varty, author of Sunset Survivors.

While authors present their books, HKILF also gives them the chance to delve into the writing and publishing process! Children’s books authors Ritu Hemmani, Dora Tsang, Jessixa Bagley, and Siobhan McDermott will participate in the panel “Writing for Kids (and Publishing It Too!)” while Mirinae Lee, Genevive Hilton, and Sam Porteous will talk about “Navigating the World of Publishing.” Joined by Andrew Eldon, Palani Mohan will talk about “The Ethics of Photography in Visual Storytelling” while Swiss literary collective Ajar will lead the “An Immersive Journey into Collaborative Storytelling” performance.

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Workshops and performances are indeed also a big part of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival. This year, you can sign up to an ink drawing workshop, a poetry exploration of Yi Sang’s work led by Korean-American poet Don Mee Choi, and witness an interactive storytelling of When The Rains Stop by author Daniela Alam. Also organised by the Africa Centre, a tour of African-led businesses in the Hong Kong Mirador and Chungking Mansions buildings will be followed by an African-cuisine dinner.

All in all, the Hong Kong International Literary Festival has once again worked wonders to bring an exciting line-up of talents to the city and planned a diverse programme suitable for all types of literary enthusiasts. You can get your tickets here. The events take place at various locations across town, so double-check the venue once you’ve secured your ticket!

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Lily Valette

Editor

Born and raised in the French countryside, Lily arrived in Hong Kong looking for an adventure. Passionate about books, she spent some time in Parisian publishing houses and is the author of an illustrated book about hair. Life in Hong Kong for her entails looking for seaside places to eat and a lot of hiking.

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