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Feeling Nostalgic: 10th Hong Kong Literature Festival dips into memories


Memories serve as the inspiration for writing, while the printed word can stay in our memories for a lifetime. Our experiences also enable us to produce literary works and record our most unforgettable moments.

Announcing the forthcoming 10th Hong Kong Literature Festival (HKLF) at a press conference today (June 12), the Assistant Director (Libraries and Development) of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Lee Yuk-man, said that under this year's theme, "Feeling Nostalgic", the festival offers a great opportunity for the public to appreciate the use of memory and reminiscence in literary works.

Presented by the Hong Kong Public Libraries of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), the HKLF will run from June 26 to July 13. A variety of activities will include a thematic exhibition, symposiums, comparative readings of literature and adaptations, group reading workshops, writers' talks, poetry recitals and various competitions.

Based on the motifs of "memories" and "reminiscences", the thematic exhibition "Unforgettable" will be held at the Exhibition Gallery of the Hong Kong Central Library during the festival period. A section titled "Memorable Writers" will commemorate deceased local writers such as Eileen Chang, Tong Tik-sang, James Wong and Yasi. Another section titled "Memories in Literary Works" consists of five parts, namely "Experience of Growing Up", "Relationships", "City Flaneur", "Elusive Tastes" and "Daily Usuals". This section will introduce various literary works inspired by memories. In addition to textual materials, some writers' works will be presented with multimedia exhibits such as visuals, photos, sound recordings and videos, which will help viewers understand the impact of personal experiences on creative writing.

One of the highlights of the festival will be three symposiums titled "Personal Reading Experience: Return and Recurrence of Memories", "Cities as Remembered in Literature" and "Literary Recollections of Delightful Tastes", in which renowned scholars are invited to participate. They will explore the significance of memories in literary creation and how memories are conveyed in different literary forms. Local speakers, commentators and moderators will include Tong Yui, Hui Ting-ming, Professor Fan Sin-piu, Dr Wong Leung-wo, Professor Ge Liang, Professor Yau Ching, Tu Nai-hsien, Dr Au Chung-to, Professor Wong Nim-yan, and Professor Huang Zi-ping. Overseas speakers will include Professor Chung Ling from the University of Macau, Dr Liu Wen-tsuei from the National Central University in Taiwan, and Professor Dominic Cheung from the University of Southern California in the United States.

A new element in this year's HKLF is the Comparative Readings of Literature and Adaptations series. Artists from different areas of expertise will share their experiences in rearranging literary works and collaborating with the authors to make further creations which might "transform" literature into a new form of art. There will be four comparative reading sessions. The first session is "Reading Xi Xi", a film screening and post-screening dialogue. The second is a dialogue between the 2014 Hong Kong Book Fair's Author of the Year Dung Kai-cheung and his colleagues in the theatrical profession. The third session will study works by Professor Yasi and the versatility of his creations. Last but not least, participants will also be able to appreciate the cultural legacy of Xiao Hong in various dance and opera performances.

"Dialogue with Creators" will invite professionals in various fields to talk about their experiences in literary creation. Speakers will include writer Chan Sai-lok and flower plaques designer Wong Lai-chung (topic: "Flower Plaques for Literature"); Professor Tony Mok, Dr Tsang Fan-kwong and Dr Gavin Chan (topic: "Physician Writers"); animators Chao Yat and Lobintan (topic: "Local Comic Art"); and musician Chris Shum and Dr Wong Chi-chung (topic: "Literature in Songs").

Group reading workshops, which were first organised last year, were very popular with secondary school students and teachers. This year, the festival will invite writers, poets and scholars to encourage participants to take turns in reading aloud selected literary pieces. Participants will be able to admire the aesthetics of the literature through sharing and discussion.

The "Mid-Summer Poetry Recitals" and "Poetic Memories" reading and sharing sessions are specifically designed for poem lovers. The former will consist of poetry recital performances by poets while the latter is a sharing session with participants to be conducted by veteran local poets. Jointly organised by local universities, academics will analyse a variety of literary pieces in the "Good Read Series" and share their insights in a comprehensible way, including analyses of local contemporary works, Chinese classics and Western literary works. As a new element to the series, the film studies session will focus on film and literature.

Additionally, two cultural organisations will each organise an interactive "Interflow", which will discuss unique cultural phenomenons and literary creation. The Hong Kong Literature and Arts Association will discuss reading and writing micro-fiction and prose poetry, while the Cantonese Cinema Study Association will invite Leng Hun to talk about the characteristics of Cantonese films in the 50s and 60s.

As a prelude to the festival several activities were organised. Docent writers and participants traced the footsteps of literary writing in "Literary Walk & Talk", visiting bustling Yau Ma Tei and climbing up to the Peak from Lung Fu Shan. Highlights of the activity are available on the designated website ( hosted by associate organiser the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups Jockey Club Media 21.

The results of the "When I Remember" writing competition, "Literature & Film" short video competition and "Literary Performance Competition" were announced earlier. Merit award winners from the "Literary Performance Competition" performed their adapted works at the press conference. The winning entries of other competitions will be displayed during the festival period and uploaded to the festival's webpage

The Fans of Literature Festival programme will continue this year. Literature lovers are encouraged to become "fans" and to receive festival souvenirs and updates on future literary activities organised by public libraries.

All activities are free. Festival booklets are available at all public libraries. For more details, please visit the HKLF website. Enquiries can be made at 2928 4551.

A press conference for the 10th Hong Kong Literature Festival was held at Hong Kong Central Library today (June 12). The Assistant Director (Libraries and Development) of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Lee Yuk-man (fifth left, second row) is pictured with guests and merit prize winners of the Literary Performance Competition. The attending guests include (second row, from left) the associate organiser of "Literary Walk & Talk" and Development Officer of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups Jockey Club Media 21, Ms Kaylie Wong; writer, editor and producer, Mr Hui Tik-cheung; Guest Lecturer of the Centre for Small Class Teaching, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Dr Wong Kit-ching; Chair of the School of Film and Television, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Mr Shu Kei; writer and editor, Mr Lau Wai-shing; and Associate Professor of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Professor Fan Sin-piu.

Merit prize winner of the Literary Performance Competition, Cheung Yan-chung of La Salle Primary School, performs his adapted work.