HKILF 2019 Press Release

August 27, 2019

The Hong Kong International Literary Festival unveils an outstanding programme today for its 19th edition, featuring Markus Zusak, Pico Iyer, Jennifer 8. Lee and Booker Long List author, John Lanchester.

From 1 to 10 November, the Festival will focus on themes of identity, migration and dystopia across a wide range of mediums including readings, workshops and performances.

HKILF’s director, Dr. Fiona Chung, has a clear focus on the festival’s mission: “We’re excited to host such a varied platform for readers and writers to engage with literature and Hong Kong culture. At the same time, we will continue to foster Hong Kong’s literary community and connect it with the world.”

In addition to local talent, the Festival has invited renowned poets, journalists, illustrators, photographers, historians, novelists and performers from Canada, Germany, Singapore, Ireland, the UK, Mexico, Australia, the US and more. Audiences can attend panels, performances, workshops, readings and Q&A sessions.

“As a registered charity in the literary arts, we rely heavily on support from donors and sponsors. We are immensely grateful for their contributions, which allow the Festival to continue running each year,” Dr. Chung added.

Highlights of the 2019 programme include: 

Festival Opening Night – Our opening night will feature six-minute stories from eight of our writers. Their tales are riveting, hilarious, unbelievable—and one hundred percent real.

Gala Dinner with Pico Iyer – Join renowned travel writer Pico Iyer (Autumn Light) as he discusses how we can maintain our sanity and balance when surrounded by weapons of mass distraction, based on his TED book, The Art of Stillness.

HKILF x Room to Read: Lunch with Markus Zusak – Over a decade since its release, The Book Thief continues to dominate literary conversations. Join author Markus Zusak for lunch as he discusses writing, family and his new book, Bridge of Clay.

Drone – A multimedia collaboration in a theatre setting between live sound, video projections and spoken word, Drone is a thrilling forty-five-minute performance of a long-form poem on technology, gender and anxiety by Scottish poet Harry Josephine Giles.

The Looming Shadow of Dystopia Chen Qiufan (Waste Tide), John Lanchester (The Wall) and Renee Nault (a graphic novel adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale) discuss dystopian societies in fiction and reality.

HKILF x HKFW: Women Writing in HK – Don’t miss this chance to have an in-depth conversation with the remarkable women who, through their creative endeavours, have daringly redefined the boundaries of cultural and gender identities.

Alternative Lifestyles – In a capitalist society where we are always told to want more, fashion journalist Dana Thomas, New Zealand hunter Miriam Lancewood and polar explorer Adrian Hayes all chose to explore alternative lifestyles.

The Queer Question – Hear from acclaimed LGBTQ+ writers John Boyne, Harry Giles and Kit Fan as they discuss how and why writing needs the LGBTQ+ community.

Reading Presentation by Adults with Disabilities – Following the workshop series led by Hannah Bent and Chessie Henry, come and enjoy the work showcased by these differently abled voices.

Journalism Workshop – Join celebrated local author, journalist and Festival co-founder Nury Vitacchi (The First of Everything) for an interactive workshop on writing nonfiction and the importance of a free press.

Emoji Spelling Bee – Fun and creative, Jennifer 8. Lee (The Fortune Cookie Chronicles) offers a modern update on the traditional spelling bee.

Sunset Industries Walking Tour – Come walking with local author Lindsay Varty (Sunset Survivors) as she provides an insider’s look at the twilight industries of Hong Kong.

For a full list of authors and events, please visit our website at

Ticketing Information: 

Advanced booking begins on 26 August 2019 at 9 pm. If you have any other enquiries please email us at