“Wish” Poetry Contest

This year, the 21st HKILF “The Rebound Edition” will bring back our poetry contest for secondary students in collaboration with local poets and Writing-Plus – the creative writing initiative at the Department of Literature and Cultural Studies, EdUHK. This year, with inspiration from Mary Jean Chan’s poem “Wish”, we invite young writers to explore this evergreen literary theme according to their own interpretation.

Here are some teaching resources to help students write their poems:

1. A message for students from Mary Jean Chan and a recording of her reading “Wish”

“I hope that you might be inspired to explore seeing the world through a lens of hope (and perhaps even wonder) as you write your version of “Wish”. During difficult times, poetry has often offered me solace and inspiration, so I hope that reading and writing poetry will be a way for you to explore themes including resilience, recovery and mental health as we move forward into 2022.” 

2. An online workshop (together with PowerPoint Slides) by Hong Kong poet Jason Eng Hun LEE

3. In-class tutorial instruction and writing prompts by Jason Eng Hun LEE

How to Enter

  • Teachers can use the workshop and writing prompt to support students to compose their own poems and enter the contest.
  • Schools also have the option of engaging our local poets, Tim Tim Cheng or Antony Huen to run a private online workshop for groups of up to 30 students.
  • The contest dates are from 20 September to 20 October 2021.
  • After pre-screening, ten shortlisted poems in each age group will be judged by poets Will Harris S1 to S3 (grades 7 to 9) and Mary Jean Chan S4 to S6 (Grades 10 to 12).
  • Winners will be announced during the literary festival 5-14 November.
  • Winners will be invited to an award ceremony as part of the festival’s closing night event on Sunday 14 November and will be invited to read their winning poems. They can choose to attend in person or online.

Contest Guidelines

  • Poems can be up to 30 lines long.
  • One entry per person.
  • Submit entries as a word doc or PDF including student’s name, age, and school.
  • Email entries to info@festival.org.hk with the subject line WISH POEM CONTEST.
  • Students can submit individually, or schools can submit on their behalf.
  • Entries must be received by midnight on Wednesday 20 October 2021. No entries received after this date will be considered.
  • 3 prize winners in each age group will be awarded a voucher for HKILF partner bookshop, Bookazine, and invited to read their poems at HKILFs closing event on Sunday 14 November, 2021.  
  • Any queries can be directed to Events Assistant Zoe XU at zoe.xu@festival.org.hk .