HomeBlogAcclaimed English-language authors fire the imagination

Acclaimed English-language authors fire the imagination


Acclaimed English-language authors fire the imagination

Reflections on society through the mystery, sci-fi and fantasy genres

26 June 2019 – The HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), will be held from 17 to 23 July (Wednesday to Tuesday) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). The theme for this year’s event is Sci-Fi and Mystery, with the tagline “Reading the World • When Fantasy Meets Reality”. The goal is to encourage readers to explore these always-fascinating literary genres.

Entering its 30th edition, the 2019 Book Fair will present a strong line-up of speakers at the ever-popular English Reading and Creative Writing Seminar Series, which is once again supported by Book Depository. The international online bookstore has invited emerging British crime fiction author Will Dean, bestselling Canadian author Steven Erikson, award-winning British sci-fi author Emma Newman, and independent Swedish children’s author Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin to speak as part of the seminar series. Additionally, with the help of the British Council, young British author Natasha Pulley and Hong Kong-based veteran journalist, author and China expert Mark O’Neill will interact with booklovers at the fair. These acclaimed English-language authors will share their creative journeys, experiences and love of writing and reading with Hong Kong’s book enthusiasts.

Will Dean: writing crime novels rich with Nordic elements
Born in England, Will Dean lived in nine different villages before the age of 18. He studied law at the London School of Economics and later moved to rural Sweden, where he lives in a wooden house that he built himself. This natural habitat became a source of inspiration for Mr Dean, and his debut novel, Dark Pines, is set in a Swedish forest during the hunting season and tells the story of a deaf female journalist’s investigation of a bizarre murder. The novel depicts the dark sides of both the wilderness and human nature and is rich with Nordic noir elements. The book won a rave review from the Zoe Ball Book Club, a TV show in the UK, while the TV rights were picked up by Lionsgate Television, the studio behind such shows as Orange is the New Black and Mad Men.

Mr Dean’s latest novel, Red Snow, was released in January as a sequel to Dark Pines. Also set in the Swedish winter, the novel creates a gloomy, eerie atmosphere that places readers in a mysterious and dark space as they follow the journalist’s investigation of two new cases. At the Book Fair, Mr Dean will discuss how books are more powerful than movies.

Steven Erikson: reflecting on Earth’s fate through an alien invasion
Canadian author Steven Erikson is an anthropologist and archaeologist by profession. He graduated from the revered Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa with a Master of Fine Arts degree. His most famous work, Malazan Book of the Fallen, is a 10-volume postmodern fantasy series that depicts an epic empire in which humans coexist and clash with gods and that portrays complex character relationships in this setting. One of the volumes, Gardens of the Moon, was nominated for the World Fantasy Award, the most coveted award in sci-fi literature. Another volume, Deadhouse Gates, was rated as one of the 10 best fantasy novels of 2000 by SF Site.

In his new novel, Rejoice: A Knife to the Heart, Mr Erikson describes an alien invasion and its impact on life on Earth. Written in a sci-fi style, this intriguing novel explores such topics as environmental resources, capitalism and populism and offers a deep reflection on human society and the planet’s destiny. At the Book Fair, Mr Erikson will return to anthropology and examine its role and application in literary world-building.

Emma Newman: constructing a universe in which fantasy and reality entwine
Emma Newman began writing stories when she was just four years old. When she was nine, she had a chance encounter with Nicholas Fisk’s Trillions in the library, which unlocked her future as a sci-fi writer. Ms Newman created such bestselling works as the Split Worlds and Planetfall series. The worlds that she constructs in her novels represent a rejection of fate and social constraints and offer a critique of patriarchal societies and the unfair treatment of women.

Ms Newman’s short story A Woman’s Place, part of the Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets anthology, won the British Fantasy Society Best Short Story Award 2015. Between Two Thorns, the first book in her Split Worlds series, was shortlisted for the Best Fantasy Novel and Best Newcomer awards at the British Fantasy Awards 2014. Her lastest book, Atlas Alone, is the fourth novel in the Planetfall series and was released earlier this year. The story takes place on Earth and in space and describes an endeavour to save the future of humanity upon sensing an impending crisis.

In addition to her work as an author, Ms Newman is also a professional audiobook narrator. At the Book Fair, she will talk on the subject of narrating audiobooks and reveal some of the hidden secrets of the profession.

Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin: how literature can help children to relax 
Swedish author Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin studied psychology at university, later lecturing in communication and providing psychological counselling and life coaching to students. In 2010, he published a children’s book, The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep, in Swedish. The book was later translated into six languages, including English and French, and became a number-two bestseller on Amazon UK − the first self-published book to make it to the top 50. The main character of the story, Rabbit, fears missing out from playing and having fun with others and would rather stay up all evening to play instead of going to bed. On his journey to seek help from Uncle Yawn, Rabbit meets different animals who share their secrets to falling asleep with him. Subtitled “a new way of getting children to sleep”, the book draws from the author’s psychology training and uses a distinct language pattern to help children relax and fall asleep.

At the Book Fair, Mr Ehrlin will share on the interesting topic of how to get 3 million children to fall asleep.

Natasha Pulley: blending historical events with fantasy
Emerging British author Natasha Pulley studied English Literature at Oxford University and received a Creative Writing MA from the University of East Anglia. In 2016, she was chosen to be a Writer in Residence at Gladstone’s Library. Ms Pulley now teaches creative writing at Bath Spa University and is a panel tutor at the Cambridge University Institute of Continuing Education.

Ms Pulley earned international fame with her first novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. The story, set in 1883 during the late Victorian period, follows three characters and their intertwined fates. The novel blends historical events with fantasy and takes readers to a mysterious and magical past. The New York Times called the work “intricate, charming and altogether surprising”. The novel earned her a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and the Locus First Novel Award. Ms Pulley will come to the Book Fair to share her creative process and the characteristics of speculative fiction with Hong Kong’s literary enthusiasts.

Mark O’Neill: a multi-perspective look at how South Asians helped to make Hong Kong
London-born Mark O’Neill is an author, journalist and university lecturer. After coming to Hong Kong in 1978, he worked in Taiwan, Japan, Mainland China and India before finally settling here in 2006. He is proficient in Cantonese and Putonghua and conversant with the issues of Hong Kong and the Greater China region.

Many of Mr O’Neill’s works are related to Chinese history and culture, a result of his deep interest and in-depth study of these subjects. His book, Frederick − The Life of My Missionary Grandfather in Manchuria, chronicles his grandfather’s experience and the social unrest in the mainland between the late Qing Dynasty and the Second World War. Mr O’Neill also likes to document others’ experience and his latest book, How South Asians Helped to Make Hong Kong – History, Culture, Profiles, Food, Shopping, describes South Asian people’s contributions to Hong Kong from the colonial times until today. Many South Asian families settled in Hong Kong long before many Chinese, and were mostly merchants or soldiers of the British Indian Army who played an important role in the development and security of the colony. His careful observations and interviews, along with nearly 200 photographs, help readers to appreciate the diversity of Hong Kong. At the seminar, Mr O’Neill will share his experience and stories from interviewing the subjects and writing the book.

Readers interested in the above seminars may register for free admission and obtain more details at the Hong Kong Book Fair website (www.hkbookfair.com).

Fine English-language books showcased at the “English Avenue” 
In addition to the seminar series, the English Avenue exhibition area will assemble more than 30 publishers and booksellers to present a wide variety of books penned in English.

Media interview requests
Members of the media interested in interviewing the seminar speakers should email their proposed interview format, questions and contact details to [email protected] by 10 July.

Please download more photos from here

English Reading and Creative Writing Seminar Series: themes and details

Speculative Fiction with Natasha Pulley
Speaker: Natasha Pulley
Date: 17 July (Wednesday)
Time: 7-8:30pm
Location: S222-223, HKCEC

© Lawrie Photography

Anthropology in World-Building
Speaker: Steven Erikson
Date: 18 July (Thursday)
Time: 3-4:30pm
Location: S222-223, HKCEC
Books are More Powerful than Movies 
Speaker: Will Dean
Date: 19 July (Friday)
Time: 3-4:30pm
Location: S222-223, HKCEC

© Lawrie Photography

Let Me Tell You a Story. What it is Really Like to be an Audiobook Narrator? 
Speaker: Emma Newman
Date: 19 July (Friday)
Time: 6-7:30pm
Location: S222-223, HKCEC

© Anna Hållams

How to Get 3 Million Children to Fall Asleep?
Speaker: Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin
Date: 20 July (Saturday)
Time: 6-7:30pm
Location: S222-223, HKCEC
How South Asians Helped to Make Hong Kong
Speaker: Mark O’Neill
Date: 22 July (Monday)
Time: 6-7:30pm
Location: S222-223, HKCEC

(Note: the programme is subject to change. Please refer to the latest version released daily at the fair.)

The 30th HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair

Date 17-23 July 2019 (Wednesday to Tuesday)
Opening House 17-18 July: 10am-10pm
19-20 July: 10am-Midnight (Level 1)
10am-11pm (Level 3 & 5)
21-22 July: 10am-10pm
23 July: 9am-5pm
Venue Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Admission Adult Ticket: HK$25
Child Ticket: HK$10 (for primary school students/children under 1.22m tall)
* Children under 3 and adults over 65 will be admitted free of charge
Tickets Tickets are available now at all Hong Kong Ticketing, all 7-Eleven stores and designated Circle K stores. Visitors can also purchase tickets on-site at the fairground ticket office.
E-tickets are available via the AlipayHK app. More information is available on the AlipayHK website.
Concessionary Tickets Morning admission ticket (entry before noon, same price for adults and children): HK$10 (sold only at the fairground each day)
Special re-entry promotion: Visitors who purchase a regular adult ticket (HK$25) or child ticket (HK$10) dated 17 or 18 July can enjoy a one-time free admission on 19, 20 or 21 July (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) after 5pm by presenting the whole stub attached to the admission ticket.This offer is not applicable to other types of admission tickets (including morning admission tickets, concessionary tickets, VIP tickets and complimentary tickets).Visitors with Hong Kong Book Fair tickets that are valid between 17-23 July can also visit the 3rd Hong Kong Sports & Leisure Expo.
Super Pass: HK$80
Pass holders have unlimited entry to the Book Fair and can use the special access to avoid queuing.
Book Fair website/ mobile app http://www.hkbookfair.com

(For details and seminar registration)
Cultural July website http://hkbookfair.hktdc.com/CulturalJuly
Hong Kong Sports & Leisure Expo website http://www.hktdc.com/hksportsleisureexpo

Media enquiries
Please contact the HKTDC’s Communications and Public Affairs Department:

Clayton Lauw          Tel: (852) 2584 4287                       Email: [email protected]
Sunny Ng                 Tel: (852) 2584 4357                       Email: [email protected]

To view press releases in Chinese, please visit http://mediaroom.hktdc.com/tc


About the HKTDC
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong’s trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly SMEs, in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via trade publicationsresearch reports and digital news channels. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com/aboutus. Follow us on Twitter @hktdc and LinkedIn

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