When a group of friends talking over coffee together came up with the idea, little did they realise that their idea for a literary festival would evolve into a premier event for bibliophiles in Asia. Perhaps not even referred to as a festival, the idea of bringing renowned writers to Hong Kong was new and exciting. Designed to celebrate creative writing in English, the Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival emphasizes writing with an Asian connection. The Festival features both established and emerging authors and includes works in translation, literary fiction and non-fiction, poetry and scriptwriting. Ten years later, the Festival continues to promote the literary arts and love of literature.
Held each year in March, the Festival offers a ten-day programme of literary events featuring overseas and local authors. The Festival has become an important and significant event on the international arts calendar, with programmes that include winners of the world's leading Literary Prizes: Man Booker, Nobel Laureate, Pulitzer, National Book Award, Whitbread, Carnegie, Kiriyama, Prix Goncourt and the Commonwealth Writers Awards. The Festival's international status is clearly confirmed by both the quality of authors and range of countries represented. Each year, the programme offered promises to be as vibrant as Hong Kong is exciting, as dynamic as Hong Kong is cosmopolitan and as diverse as Hong Kong is multicultural.
The 2010 Festival has attracted literary icons that include Alexander McCall Smith, Louis de Bernières, André Brink, Su Tong and Junot Diaz. The level of interest, both locally and internationally is significant. Many of the venues are small and intimate, giving readers and authors an opportunity to interact. Aside from inviting well-recognized headliners, the festival seeks to promote and encourage emerging writers. This year includes Rachel Kushner, a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award, Mo Zhi Hong, winner of the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best Book Award, and Hyejin Kim, whose first novel written in English is based on true events about present-day North Korea.
Every year students are invited to experience a wonderful programme that allows them to interact with, learn from and be inspired by acclaimed, popular and beloved authors. The Festival commits to investing in the readers and writers of the future. By presenting a programme that allows readers and writers of all ages to interact, we wish to encourage an appreciation of the written word and to foster a love of literature. The 2010 Schools Programme is jam-packed with exciting sessions hosted by internationally acclaimed authors including Emily Gravett, Darren Shan, Junot Díaz, and Alexander McCall Smith.
This year’s impressive programme ranges from an evening with acclaimed writer Louis de Bernières, to a talk where Ramachandra Guha shares his controversial viewpoint on contemporary Indian politics, and 2009 Man Asian Literary Prize winner Su Tong discusses contemporary Chinese writing. In South Africa: Overcoming the Shadow of the Past, André Brink and Mandla Langa discuss how to write within a system of political oppression. From panel discussions on subjects as diverse as crime, post-colonialism and historical fiction, to poetry and jazz evening, there is something for everyone.