About Us

The Hong Kong International Literary Festival (HKILF) inspires the joy of reading by bringing the world’s writers and stories to Hong Kong’s diverse communities. A dynamic year-round programme and an annual festival offer dialogue, entertainment and perspective, while the Young Readers Festival (YRF) motivates students to engage with all aspects of the written word, improving communication skills, while nurturing the art of writing and storytelling.

The annual festival features established and emerging writers from around the world, alongside local literary talents, in a programme that includes panel discussions, book talks, readings, workshops, walks, school programmes, performances, and more.

HKILF is an acknowledged landmark in the city’s cultural landscape and has brought a distinguished roster of guests to Hong Kong for over twenty years. Past speakers include Margaret Atwood, Amy Tan, Shehan Karunatilaka, Irvine Welsh, Kevin Kwan, Jonathan Kaufman, Cheryl Strayed, David Sedaris, Jason Reynolds, Pico Iyer, Ian Rankin, Yann Martel, Julia Donaldson, Neil Gaiman, Michael Morpurgo and Emily St. John Mandel, among many others.

We are a charitable organisation dedicated to bringing the best in the literary arts to Hong Kong.


It is the mission of the HKILF and the YRF to inspire and engage the community of Hong Kong with literary rich experiences; to provide authentic opportunities that promote reading, writing, and creative storytelling in both English and Chinese.

We aim to preserve the joy and knowledge that grows when we can successfully communicate and learn about ourselves and the wider world through stories, language, and culture. 


Laura Mannering

Executive Director

Through her work as an educator and in school management over the last 20 years Laura has witnessed the power of books and words in young learners. An avid reader, writer and illustrator, whose love of literature and storytelling collided with HKILF in 2023, when an opportunity to work on the Young Readers Festival opened up an avenue of literacy advocacy that combined both of her passions. She has a BA in Classical Literature from Dalhousie University and a PGDE in Early Childhood Education from The University of Hong Kong.

Wency Li

Festival Manager

Clair Wang

Events & Publicity Assistant

Though wandering with eternal doubts about languages, Clair allies with literature all the time. She holds an MA in English Studies (Literature) from HKU. The extensive experiences in the drama club, theatre festivals, and art centers motivate her to be a witness and supporter in the scenes where genuine connections and resonances between people and culture & art occur. Clair likes to observe the boundaries of identity between the lines of literary works, and ruminate words that quietly remain engraved in memory: most of which are from Oscar Wilde, Mishima Yukio, Sarah Kane, and Haizi.

Board Members

Jessica Cheng


Jessica is the General Manager at Lui Che Woo Prize – Prize for World Civilisation, where she oversees grants and donations that support individuals and global organisations dedicated to sustainable development and the promotion of positive life attitude. Before joining the philanthropy and non-profit sector, she worked in brand marketing in Mainland China for 10 years. Jessica is passionate about education and community outreach, and has mentored for Resolve Fellowship and Strive & Rise Program.

Bonny Wong


Bonny was Head of Charities of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and Board Secretary and Director of CEO’s Office, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. After her departure from West Kowloon in mid-2016, she has devoted her time to community service and lifelong learning projects. She is currently a Board member and Secretary of the International Women’s Forum HK, School Sponsoring Body Manager and Incorporated Management Committee Manager of Wong Shiu Chi Secondary School, and Member of the Fundraising Committee of the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

John Carroll

Professor John Carroll is Principal Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Hong Kong, where he directs the MA programme in Hong Kong History and teaches undergraduate courses on the history of Hong Kong, the British Empire, museums, and tourism. John is the author of five books, including A Concise History of Hong Kong (2007) and The Hong Kong-China Nexus (2022).

Edmond Cheuk

Edmond is the Director of the Cedar Education Group, a leading early childhood education service and solutions provider in Hong Kong.

Catherine McClelland

Catherine is the President and Managing Director at Sutton Communications. She is a cultural communications professional with more than a decade’s worth of experience directing strategic campaigns for the world’s leading arts organisations. She specialises in international news campaigns, brand building, and launching major capital projects including new museums.

Orla Ryan

Orla is Deputy Asia News Editor for the Financial Times. A journalist for almost 30 years, she has previously lived and worked in London, Belgium, Germany, Uganda and Ghana. She is the author of Chocolate Nations: Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa.

Angela Wong

Angela is the Director of Corporate Communications & Administration at Jebsen Group. She is a board member of the Zonta Club of HK II, as well as one of the founders of the Strive Foundation, an NGO helping grassroots talented girl’s basketball players to utilise the sport to get into university.


Hong Kong International Literary Festival

Charmaine Chan

SCMP Design Editor and ex-Books Editor, Charmaine Chan, started her journalism career in Sydney and has since worked at newspapers and magazines in Tokyo and Hong Kong. Charmaine was Deputy Editor at the Asia Literary Review. Her book, Courtyard Living, is published by Thames & Hudson.

Michelle Garnaut

​​Restaurateur, Michelle Garnaut, founded M At the Fringe (HK), M on the Bund (Shanghai) and Capital M (Beijing). She also started the Shanghai & Capital Literary Festivals, M Literary Residency, and was co-founder of the Village People Project, Shanghai Chamber Music Festival & Competition and Mentor Walks China. Michelle is the recipient of many international honours, including Officer of the Order of Australia.

Lakshmi Laroia

Director (Hong Kong Festivals) of India by the Bay.

Shonee Mirchandani

Shonee is the owner of the Festival Bookshop, Bookazine. A true Hong Kong girl, she grew up here, and loves working with local writers and bringing the community together through a shared love of books and reading.

Jennie Orchard

Jennie Orchard has been involved with the world of books and publishing for more than four decades. She divides her time between Sydney and Hong Kong, and has a number of commitments in the non-profit sector. In 2020 she curated an anthology called The Gifts of Reading, with all royalties donated to global literacy non-profit, Room to Read.

James Shea

James Shea is the author of two poetry collections, The Lost Novel and Star in the Eye, both from Fence Books. He has received grants from the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, National Endowment for the Arts, and Vermont Arts Council.

Xu Xi

Indonesian-Chinese Xu Xi is one of Hong Kong’s leading writers in English. The author of 15 fiction and nonfiction books, and co-founder of Authors at Large, she currently holds the Jenks Chair in Contemporary Letters at the College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts.

Jo Lusby

Jo Lusby is co-founder of Pixie B, an IP management and strategy agency specialising in Asia. She is also Chair of the Creative and Retail Committee for the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and a governing board member for the China Media Project. Jo was previously North Asia head of the world’s largest trade publisher, Penguin Random House (2005-2017). Previously co-chair and board member of the HKILF, she continues to serve as an Advisor.

Young Readers Festival

Jeffrey Comer

Jeffrey is the teacher librarian at the Chinese International School of Hong Kong and the co-chair of the Hong Kong Battle of the Books committee. He is also a member of the book selection committee at local literacy charity, Bring Me A Book Hong Kong.

Mio Debnam

Mio Debnam is the author of short stories, articles and many books, from picture books to novels, and a Regional Advisor of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She’s also a wife, mother and chief tummy-rubber for her blind pup, Alfie. Her latest books are Adam and Little Red and My Name is Miya, Festival Fun and Cats, Cats, Cats!

Rachel Ip

Rachel is an award-winning picture book author who writes both fiction and non-fiction for young readers. She’s an author ambassador for Bring Me A Book Hong Kong, the leading family literacy charity in the city.

Beth MacNeilly

Beth has been a school librarian in Hong Kong for the past 11 years, and working in a long list of book-centric jobs before that. A regular volunteer with the YRF in its earliest days, she champions reading for pleasure for all.

Maureen Tai

Maureen Tai is an award-winning Malaysian writer of fiction for children and teens. Her backstory and her work can be found at www.maureentai.com.

Festival Partners

The Festival would like to thank the following corporations, government bodies and organisations for their generosity and support.