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Hong Kong Literature Festival traces use of memories in literary works with variety of programmes


Under the theme "Feeling Nostalgic", the 10th Hong Kong Literature Festival (HKLF) opens today (June 26) with a wide range of activities for the public to appreciate the use of memories and reminiscences in literary works.

Presented by the Hong Kong Public Libraries of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), the festival runs until July 13. Over 30 interactive literary activities are being organised including a thematic exhibition, symposiums, comparative readings of literature and adaptations, guided reading sessions, a good read series, group reading workshops, poetry recitals, dialogues with creators and interflow programmes. All events will be held at the Hong Kong Central Library (HKCL).

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Chairman of the Public Libraries Advisory Committee, Professor Leung Yuen-sang, pointed out that there is a close connection between memories in life and literature, which gave rise to the idea of adopting "Feeling Nostalgic" as the theme for this year's HKLF. The 18-day festival will also see writers, academics and members of the cultural and arts community take part in a number of programmes and share their views on different aspects of the use of memories and literary creativity.

One of the festival highlights is a thematic exhibition titled "Unforgettable" to be held at the HKCL Exhibition Gallery from today to July 13. The "Memorable Writers" section pays tribute to 14 deceased local writers, namely Dai Wang-shu, Ye Ling-feng, Xu Xu, Xiao Hong, Tong Dik-sang, Eileen Chang, Shu Xiang-cheng, Liang Yu-sheng, Li Kuang, Ho Tsz, James Wong, Richard Lam, Ng Chun-bong and Yasi. The "Memories in Literature" section showcases literary writing using memories under five headings: "Experience of Growing up", "Relationships", "City Flâneur", "Elusive Tastes" and "Daily Usuals". The exhibition also includes multi-media exhibits such as visuals, photos, manuscripts, sound records and videos, through which the audience will be able to admire the work of these local literature gurus and appreciate the myriad emotions in their works.

Another highlight is a symposium titled "Literature and Memories", with a panel of well-known local and overseas scholars participating in three seminars on "Personal Reading Experience: Return and Recurrence of Memories", "Cities as Remembered in Literature" and "Literary Recollections of Delightful Tastes". They will explore the significance of the use of memories in literary writings and look at interesting topics of literary works featuring city landscapes and gourmets. Local speakers, commentators and moderators 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, while 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.

The festival also includes five guided reading sessions in which scholars and literary experts will analyse the five winning works of the 12th Hong Kong Biennial Awards for Chinese Literature, namely "Ah Wing, the Secret Agent 29: Saving for the Catch", "Tales of a Valiant Man", "The Scent of the Shrimp Eggs", "Everdayness" and "The Night with Wings". The winning authors will also participate.

Literature is not just about writing and reading but is also a lively and diverse creative art. Professionals from different disciplines including doctors, a flower plaque designer, animators and musicians will share their creative experiences in the "Dialogue with Creators". In addition, cultural organisations will stage interactive "Interflow" programmes to explore the relationship between literature and other art forms. The Hong Kong Literature and Arts Association will discuss reading and writing mini-novels and prose poetry, while the Cantonese Cinema Study Association will invite Leng Hun to talk about the characteristics of airwave novels and Cantonese films of the 50s and 60s.

The "Comparative Readings of Literature and Adaptations" series is a new element of the festival. Artists from various sectors will recount their experience in "transforming" literary works into a new creation in a different art form such as drama, music and videos. 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.

The HKLF will also hold "Group Reading Workshops" for secondary school teachers and students, with writers, poets and scholars helping participants to discover the joy of reading. Jointly organised with four universities, the "Good Read Series" will share insights on Hong Kong literature and Chinese classics. Western literary works will also be featured in the session "Why We Read". As a new element to the series, the film studies session will focus on the relationship of film and literature as well as analyse the literary and music aspects in director Fei Mu's film "Spring in a Small Town".

Poetry and literary societies will host the "Mid-summer Poetry Recitals" and invite Chinese and English poets to recite selected poems, while in the highlight programme marking the close of festival, the "Poetic Memories" reading and sharing session, 10 Hong Kong poets will share with participants many cherished memories and sentiments in the world of poetry.

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

Prizes were awarded today to the winners of the three pre-festival competitions, the "When I Remember" writing competition, the "Literature & Film" short video competition and the "Literary Performance Competition". Participants in the "Literary Performance Competition" fully demonstrated their creativity and imagination in their fluent performance. In the "When I Remember" writing competition and the "Literature & Film" short video competition, contestants expressed their creativity and the vitality of literature through writing, video and storytelling. The winning entries are on display at the HKCL's Exhibition Gallery throughout the festival period.

The Fans of Literature Festival continues 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, see the website: Enquiries can be made at 2928 4551.

Pictured at the 10th Hong Kong Literature Festival (HKLF) opening ceremony today (June 26) at the Hong Kong Central Library are (first row, from fifth left to seventh left) the Chairman of the Public Libraries Advisory Committee, Professor Leung Yuen-sang; the Deputy Director (Culture) of Leisure and Cultural Services, Ms Cynthia Liu; and the Assistant Director (Libraries and Development) of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Lee Yuk-man, with other guests.

The Champion of the Literary Performance Competition, Woo Ho-tung of Diocesan Girls' Junior School, performs her adapted work.

Professor Leung (centre) , Ms Liu (left) and Mr Lee (right) tour around the "Unforgettable" thematic exhibition.

In the "Unforgettable" thematic exhibition, the "Memorable Writers" section commemorates 14 deceased local writers.

In the "Unforgettable" thematic exhibition, the "Memories in Literary Works" section features various literary works inspired by memories.

In the "Unforgettable" thematic exhibition, the "Memories in Literary Works" section features various literary works inspired by memories.