Showing posts with label Hong Kong. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hong Kong. Show all posts

Sunday, 19 September 2021

The Life-Art Synergy of Lily Wong in Hong Kong by Tori Eldridge


Tori Eldridge is the Honolulu-born Anthony, Lefty, and Macavity Awards-nominated author of the Lily Wong mystery thrillers: The Ninja Daughter, The Ninja’s Blade, and The Ninja Betrayed. Her shorter works appear in horror, dystopian, and other literary anthologies, including the inaugural reboot of Weird Tales magazine. Her screenplay The Gift was a Nicholl Fellowship semi-finalist, and her dark Brazilian fantasy, Dance Among the Flames, is set to release May 2022. Tori holds a fifth-degree black belt in To-Shin Do ninja martial arts and has performed as an actress, singer, dancer on Broadway, television, and film.

The Ninja Betrayed, the third book in the Lily Wong series, has just been published. Things get personal for Chinese-Norwegian modern-day ninja Lily Wong in Hong Kong when she dives into the dangerous world of triads, romance, and corporate disaster during the height of the pro-democracy protests. As Lily and Ma discover shaky finances, questionable loans, and plans for the future involving them both, Lily’s escalating romance with Daniel Kwok puts her heart at risk. Will her ninja skills allow her to protect her mother, the family business, and the renegade teen while navigating love, corporate intrigue, and murderous triads?

Here, Tori discusses the life-art synergy of Lily Wong in Hong Kong. 

Saturday, 10 July 2021

The Arches of Gerrard Street by Grace Chia


Singaporean Grace Chia is the author of three poetry collections, including Cordelia and Mother of All Questions, a novel, The Wanderlusters, and a short story collection, Every Moving Thing That Lives Shall Be Food. Her work has been widely anthologised internationally, from Singapore, Australia, and Hong Kong to the US. It has been translated into French, German, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian and Serbo-Croat. The Arches of Gerrard Street is her second novel.

Spanning the UK, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, The Arches of Gerrard Street is a coming-of-age love story with a touch of whodunnit.The shooting of Molly’s childhood friend in London’s Chinatown has led her from Batu Pahat in Malaysia to the British capital to find answers. Who murdered him? And why? She soon becomes embroiled in a web of deceit spun in an immigrant enclave shrouded in secrecy as her past catches up on her. The Arches of Gerrard Street is a coming-of-age novel about a young girl from a small town thrust into a big city finding her way back to herself.

So, over to Grace…

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Backlist books: The Golden Chersonese by Isabella Bird

Backlist books is a column by Lucy Day Werts that focuses on enduring, important works from or about Asia. This post is about The Golden Chersonese and the Way Thither, as it was originally titled, which details the author’s travels through China and Southeast Asia from December 1878 to February 1879, and was published in 1883. The book consists of Bird’s letters to her sister, “unaltered, except by various omissions and some corrections as to matters of fact”. She says they lack “literary dress” because she wishes to convey her “first impressions in their original vividness”.

Readers will be favourably impressed by Bird’s appetite for the unfamiliar and tolerance for heat, mud and pests, whether she is drinking from a fresh coconut fetched by a tame monkey, slipping down from the back of an uncooperative elephant or discovering leeches feasting on her bloodied ankles.

See below to find out what you need to know to decide whether you should read The Golden Chersonese, or what you should know about it even if you never do!

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Hong Kong, Inside and Out: Two Guest Poets Write Home

More than a year since pro-democracy protestors took to the streets in Hong Kong, the city has faded somewhat from headlines around the world, eclipsed by the uncertainties of a global pandemic and fast-changing events elsewhere. But for Hong Kongers at home and abroad, political and cultural upheavals on the island continue to take centre stage, while the fate of their city as they know it hangs in the balance. 

What does it mean to write from, to, and about a changing city? To start a conversation between writers within and outside the city, we invited two guest poets – one based in Hong Kong, to write about a fellow Hong Kong poet living abroad; and the other based overseas, to write about a fellow poet living in Hong Kong. Together, this pair of contributions reimagines Hong Kong as a larger, enduring community that transcends the island’s boundaries. 


Sunday, 29 March 2020

Red Affairs, White Affairs by Felicia Nay

Felicia Nay was born in Germany and spent part of her childhood in Spain. Later, she studied in China and worked in Hong Kong. She now lives again in Germany. Red Affairs, White Affairs is her first novel.

Set in Hong Kong around the turn of the millennium, Red Affairs, White Affairs is told by Reini ‘Kim’ Kranich, a German aid worker who works for an NGO. Hope is the thing with feathers, above the South China Sea as much as anywhere, bird-watching Reini notes about the city. Hope, or the absence of it, features daily in her work with abused Filipino migrant workers, but also in the life of her Chinese friend Virginia, who desperately wants to marry. When Reini learns that Virginia’s mother is dying of cancer, she soon finds herself struggling with her friend’s faith and family values. A lukewarm Catholic herself, Reini’s worldview is further challenged when she meets Ben Chan, a Buddhist fundraiser.

So, over to Felicia to talk about Red Affairs, White Affairs...

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Reading (and writing) about someplace else: Mishi Saran

Nicky Harman interviews Mishi Saran, writer of fiction and non-fiction, and long-time resident of Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Mishi Saran, photo by Tripti Lahiri

 Q: Serendipitously, I wrote about Xuanzang (Tripitaka) as a translator of Buddhist sutras in my last blog post here, and you have written a wonderful book, Chasing the Monk’s Shadow, in which you follow in the footsteps of Xuanzang from China to India. Did you feel like you got an insight into his character when you were writing the book?
A: I was drawn to Xuanzang as a traveller who braved the miles from China to India and back. A Chinese monk with an India obsession, an Indian woman with a China craze; he and I were destined to meet. To follow his route to India, I mostly consulted two Tang dynasty accounts translated into English by Samuel Beal (1825-1889). One was Si-Yu-Ki: Buddhist Records of the Western World, by Hiuen Tsiang in two volumes, and the other The Life of
 Hiuen-Tsiang, translated from the Chinese of Shaman Hwui Li. 
Poring daily over those pages for month after month on the road, seeking clues to Xuanzang’s passage 1400 years before me, I became attuned to the cadences of Xuanzang-via-Beal; how little he gave away of his inner state of mind, how stringently he observed and recorded. Xuanzang’s biographer was rather more colourful, and inevitably, hagiographic. Still, Xuanzang was my travel companion, my Chinese guide who unfolded India for me. Not infrequently, I talked to the monk in my head. It became a game for me, to extrapolate human feelings from scant clues embedded in the text. I found fear, homesickness, wonder, a certain amount of gullibility, a good deal of luck. It is an astonishing record.    

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Nicky Harman interviews Jeremy Tiang, Singaporean writer, translator and playwright


Photo credit: Edward Hill

Nicky: When you were growing up, what were the first Chinese-language stories you came across, and what drew you to them?

Jeremy: Growing up in a former British colony can be a destabilizing experience. Singapore's official languages are English, Chinese (meaning Mandarin), Malay and Tamil, and there were always several languages swirling around me ― some of which I felt I was being encouraged to know (the English in the Enid Blyton books my parents bought us, the Mandarin they sent me to a neighbour to learn) as well as others I had less access to (the Cantonese they sometimes used with each other, the Tamil my dad occasionally spoke on the phone).  I encountered Chinese stories in all kinds of ways, on TV and in my school textbooks, but often freighted with cultural baggage: there was a weight of obligation on us, as English-educated people, to hang on to our Chinese heritage. It wasn't until I got some distance from Singapore, by moving to the UK for university, that I was able to enjoy Chinese-language literature on its own terms. While I came to appreciate the grounding I had received in Singapore, particularly in secondary school, I don't think I read a Chinese novel for pleasure till I was in my twenties. Once I was able to do that, I quickly developed a taste for it. And being a writer of English and a lover of Chinese fiction, it was a logical progression to literary translation ― the best way I could think of to get right inside these books.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Portraits of Trees of Hong Kong

Newly-published Portraits of Trees of Hong Kong and Southern China features 109 exquisite watercolor paintings of 104 resident species, created by one of the world’s top botanical artists, Hong Kong-based Sally Grace Bunker. 

Friday, 15 March 2019

Viewpoint: Susan Blumberg-Kason

Viewpoint is a new occasional column inviting authors to write about anything they want, as long as it's of interest to readers of Asian Books Blog. Susan Blumberg-Kason kicks-off the new series, with a discussion of cultural sensitivity and the making of Hong Kong Noir.

Chicago-based Susan Blumberg-Kason is the author of Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong (Sourcebooks, 2014) and co-editor of Hong Kong Noir (Akashic Books, 2018). She is a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Review of Books and the Asian Review of Books. Her work has also appeared in The Frisky, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, and the South China Morning Post.

The Noir anthologies are an award-winning series of collections of new stories, each one set in a distinct neighbourhood or location within  a chosen city. Hong Kong makes a fantastic location, and, in Hong Kong Noir, fourteen of the city’s finest authors explore the dark heart of the Pearl of the Orient in haunting tales of depravity and despair. Contributors include Jason Y. Ng, Xu Xi, Marshall Moore, Brittani Sonnenberg, Tiffany Hawk, James Tam, Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang, Christina Liang, Feng Chi-shun, Charles Philipp Martin, Shannon Young, Shen Jian, Carmen Suen, and Ysabelle Cheung.

So, over to Susan...

Wednesday, 12 December 2018



A Carnival of Translation – Translators and their writers

For this blog, Nicky Harman interviews Natascha Bruce, who has been on a residency with Dorothy Tse, the noted Hong Kong author of surreal stories. The annual residency, called Art OmiTranslation Lab, offers the chance for author and translator pairs tofocus in detail on a text, while also emphasizing translation as a means towards cultural exchange.

NH: What were your expectations for the residency? 

NB: Things we knew to expect: twelve days to use however we liked, spent with three other translator-writer pairs. My Google image searches also suggested that the Hudson Valley might be pretty in late autumn. And all this turned out to be true! The other translators and writers were Elisabeth Lauffer translating Anna Weidenholzer from German; Hope Campbell Gustafson translating Ubah Cristina Ali Farah from Italian; Samuel Rutter translating Cristina Sanchez-Andrade from Spanish. Reality even exceeded my Google image search expectations: for a few days, deer frolicked outside our Hudson Valley windows, then winter arrived and turned everything to very beautiful snow.

NH: Did you and Dorothy cook up a plan in advance?

Friday, 30 November 2018

Indie spotlight: Remembering Shanghai by Claire Chao

Indie spotlight focuses on self-publishing and indie authors.

Hawaii-based, Hong-Kong-born Claire Chao is the co-author, with her mother Isabel Sun Chao, of Remembering Shanghai: A Memoir of Socialites, Scholars and Scoundrels, published by the indie publisher, Plum Brook.

Remembering Shanghai follows five generations of the Chao family over two centuries, from the time of Claire's great-great-grandfather down to the present. Mother and daughter traced their family story as far back as they could. Claire's great-great-grandfather rose from poverty to become a minister to the empress dowager, and built a large portfolio comprising hundreds of properties, a bank and a shipping company.

Isabel Sun Chao, the memoir's main protagonist, grew up the third daughter among six siblings in glamorous 1930s and ’40s Shanghai - everyone’s favorite child, cosseted by servants, wet nurses, cooks, drivers, even a resident tailor.

Soon after Mao came to power in 1949, Isabel journeyed to Hong Kong. Clutching a pink suitcase packed with party dresses to wear on her spring holiday, she didn’t realize that she would never see her father, or her grandmother, again. Claire accompanied her to Shanghai nearly 60 years later to confront her family’s past, one that they would together discover to be by turns harrowing and heartwarming.

Claire here discusses why she and her mother decided to write a family memoir, and gives advice to other indie authors.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

500 words from Marshall Moore

500 words from is an occasional series in which novelists talk about their new novels. Marshall Moore will soon be bringing out Inhospitable.

Marshall Moore is an American expat living and working in Hong Kong, where he founded Signal 8 Press – his own novel is to be published next week by Camphor Press.

Inhospitable is a ghost story set in Hong Kong. It explores life as an expat there, and also the idea that ghosts from the past follow you when you leave your home country. Along the way it compares Chinese and Western ideas about ghosts. As the title suggests, it comments on Hong Kong's hospitality sector, and it also takes on the city's real-estate obsession.

So, over to Marshall…

Friday, 20 April 2018

Signal 8 Press by Marshall Moore

Signal 8 Press (S8P) is an independent publisher in Hong Kong. The company originally published books focussed primarily on the Asia-Pacific region, with a particular interest in books that reflected an East-meets-West sensibility. Although Asia remains its top publishing priority, it has now branched out to publish books from and about other regions, in various genres and categories.

Marshall Moore is the founder and publisher of S8P. He here gives an overview of the company’s history, and of the problems of publishing in our grim old world.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Proverse Hong Kong by Gillian Bickley

Proverse Hong Kong is a publishing house with long-term, and expanding, regional and international connections. The company administers the international Proverse Prize for Unpublished Non-fiction, Fiction and Poetry, which is open to writers everywhere, irrespective of residence, citizenship or nationality.

This week will see a double bill of posts about Proverse. Tomorrow, Ivy Ngeow, winner of the 2016 Proverse Prize for Fiction, will talk about her new novel, Cry of the Flying Rhino, which is published by the company.


Today, Gillian Bickley, Proverse co-publisher and Proverse Prizes co-founder, talks about the company's authors, books, origins, aims, and development.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Journey to the West / guest post by Melanie Ho

Journey to the West: He Hui, a Chinese soprano in the world of Italian opera, by Hong Kong-based author and journalist Melanie Ho, is the first biography of China's first prima donna - arguably the most successful Western opera singer to come out of China. Soprano He Hui has made some of the biggest roles in Italian opera her own, including the title role in Madam Butterfly. Her story is one of East meeting West, and of East and West living alongside each other. It begins in her hometown of Xi’an, China, and moves on to Verona, her adopted Italian home. Along the way to stardom He Hui overcomes challenges, and rejection.

Melanie Ho here offers a brief overview of He Hui's journey.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

500 words from Stephanie Han

500 words from is an occasional series in which novelists and short story writers talk about their newly-published books.

Stephanie Han is an American with family roots in Korea. She now divides her time between Hong Kong and Hawaii, home of her family since 1904. Her short stories cross the borders and boundaries of Hong Kong, Korea, and the United States.

Swimming in Hong Kong is Stephanie’s debut collection. It has won wide praise, including from Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer. It explores the geography of hope and love, as its characters struggle with dreams of longing and home, and wander in the myths of memory and desire.

So, over to Stephanie…

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Extract: City of Protest: a recent history of dissent in Hong Kong by Antony Dapiran

As part of Penguin’s new Hong Kong series – for which see the previous post - Antony Dapiran has just brought out City of Protest: a recent history of dissent in Hong Kong, which explores the role of protest in Hong Kong life, up to and including the Umbrella Movement.

Antony has written and presented extensively on China and Hong Kong business, politics and culture. A contributing editor of Art Asia Pacific magazine, his writing has also appeared in publications including the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Financial Review, Nikkei Asia Review and Hong Kong Free Press. In a legal career of almost twenty years, Antony advised China’s leading companies raising capital and doing business internationally.

He here provides a short extract from the preface to City of Protest.

The Hong Kong Series: new books celebrating the many faces of HK

Twenty years ago, Hong Kong’s sovereignty was handed from Britain, to China. Since then, Hong Kong has accumulated new stories worth telling: stories looking slantwise at history; stories containing lessons for people everywhere. The multicultural hub, bustling with possibility and promise, has become a centre for creativity and a source of inspiration for those on the mainland, throughout the Chinese diaspora, and beyond. But what conclusions can be drawn from a city that faces daily contradictions, such as bank towers looming over shanty towns, mango trees growing on industrial roundabouts, and art that seems driven by commercial requirements? Then there are the political strains of negotiating Hong Kong people’s desire for Western-style democracy, with Beijing’s insistence the Chinese way is best.

These and other issues are explored in a new Hong Kong Series from Penguin. Authors of launch titles are Dung Kai-cheung, Antony Dapiran, Xu Xi, Christopher DeWolf, Ben Bland, Simon Cartledge, and  Magnus Renfrew. They use both fiction and non-fiction to examine Hong Kong’s past, and future, its people, politics and art, its architecture and economy. All except Xu Xi are based full-time in Hong Kong. Collectively, the launch titles shine a light on the whole of Hong Kong’s society, and on the city’s changes over the past twenty years.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Hong Kong authors mark 20 years since the handover by Pete Spurrier

Close to a hundred people filled the Bookazine bookshop in Prince’s Building, Hong Kong, on the evening of June 15, to hear six local authors discuss the 20 years which have passed since the handover in 1997.

As the publisher of four of these writers, I was roped in to MC the event. I started off by asking how many of the crowd were in Hong Kong on that rainy night of June 30, 1997. About half, it turned out. But of those, far fewer had expected to still be here 20 years later.

First question went to Rachel Cartland, author of Paper Tigress, an account of her 34 years working in the Hong Kong government. Many people in the audience remembered seeing police officers replacing their cap badges as sovereignty was transferred at the stroke of midnight on handover night. Rachel stayed in office through 1997 and beyond, so did she have any badge to change? No, she said, but non-stop heavy rain during the handover period ruined everyone’s extra-long public holiday allowance!

Friday, 2 June 2017

New book announcement: Hong Kong on the Brink by Syd Goldsmith

In 1967, at the height of the Cultural Revolution, Hong Kong was rocked by a series of pro-communist riots against British colonial rule. These were so serious they threatened the colony’s existence. During the emergency, Syd Goldsmith was the American consulate general’s Hong Kong and Macau political officer – and the only white foreign service officer who spoke Cantonese. His role was to provide Washington with analysis of the unfolding drama, and to report back on the Hong Kong government’s ability to survive.  He had access to information from the CIA, a Chinese double agent, and Hong Kong Government sources.

Hong Kong on the Brink: An American diplomat relives 1967’s darkest days is his account of a simmering city, plagued by violence and strikes whilst also dealing with a crippled transport network, water-rationing, takeover threats from Beijing, and roadside bombs.