Dear Members

As the Rabbit hops away and we “enter the Dragon”, 2024 promises to be a year of strength, luck and yes, creativity. We welcome the only mythical creature in the Chinese zodiac and embrace its qualities of fiery passion and power as we channel these attributes into literary and visual artistic pursuits. We wish our WiPS community a very Happy New Year and a prosperous Year of the Dragon. We look forward to seeing you at one or all our upcoming events.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Launch of Imprint 22: Women’s Voices
Thursday, 7 March 2024, 7pm
It gives us great pleasure to announce that we will be back to launch another issue of our annual anthology Imprint as a part of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival in March. Members and non-members are invited to gather at the historic Foreign Correspondents’ Club for a celebration of home grown literary and artistic talent. Please mark your diaries – Imprint 22: Women’s Voices, Thursday, 7 March 2024 at the FCC.

Book the Bookbinding Workshop
Writers never seem to have enough notebooks! Whether you’re jotting down great story ideas in them or just doodling, everyone needs one more notebook. So, why not make one yourself? Rachel PSmith of Senseless Art will walk you through the craft of binding a book in just a couple of hours. The workshop will take place in early April and has limited space. More information to follow soon.

WiPS Meets Hong Kong Stories
Everyone has a story to tell, even if we don’t always have the opportunity to deliver it in front of a live audience. Here’s your chance to share your story with the world, or at least with a group of friends at the Fringe Club. WiPS is collaborating with Hong Kong Stories, a group dedicated to the art of storytelling in Hong Kong, to bring you Spring Ahead in May. Again, details to follow.

ONGOING EVENTS

Writing Workshop
While we took a break for the festive season in January, we’re back on 1 February with a new time! Based on member feedback, we will offer the Writing Workshop on a weekday evening to cater to those working traditional office hours. While the new time is on a trial basis, we’re thrilled to see the Writing Workshop at maximum capacity each month, and we’re confident that this trend will continue in 2024!

Book Club
After also taking a month off for the festive season, we’re kicking off the new year with a runaway hit from 2023: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (adapted by Apple TV into a miniseries). And then we’re onto something more serious on Monday, 26 February with Killingly by Katharine Beutner. Join us for a lively discussion on these and many more books in 2024!

PAST EVENTS

Hidden & Haunted
British-born, Hong Kong-based interior designer, aromatherapist, amateur photographer and urban explorer, Sacha Yasumoto, has visited and photographed over 500 abandoned buildings in Hong Kong alone. Around 350 of these have been used to create her visually stunning coffee table book Loved then Abandoned 愛逝終棄. On 26 October, WiPS committee member Lesley Hobbs sat down with Sacha to talk about her urban exploring adventures and the self-publishing journey she undertook. Sacha’s many derring-do stories made it hard to keep the conversation and Q&A under the allotted 90 minutes. Her adventures involved climbing out of broken windows, falling through floors, exploring a convicted felon’s forfeited mansion and discovering the owner of an apparently abandoned house was very much alive and well.

Sue Dockstader Visits Town
Former WiPS president Sue Dockstader caught up with WiPS friends inearly November on her first trip back to Hong Kong in nearly 20 years. She writes: Chatting over tea in the FCC we reminisced about the excitement of working on the first Imprint in 2002 and talked about the challenges of keeping an organization going through Covid and beyond. The inspiration and knowledge WiPS gave me have been invaluable as I’ve navigated the world of non-profit communications in the U.S. and they continue to motivate me as I dive into writing fiction. Keep it up WiPS! I am so glad to reconnect.

Festive Dinner
WiPS annual festive-season celebration was held in the Verandah at the FCC in late November. Hong Kong-based members were joined by members from the U.S. and Macau for an excellent three-course meal and engaging conversation, so animated it drowned out the Christmas carols! This seasonally atmospheric literary ladies’ evening concluded with a Secret Santa Book Swap and what felt like a game of musical chairs as members progressed seats to converse with others at the table.

WiPS Hosts Elise Hu
Elise Hu is a Los Angeles-based journalist, podcaster and author. Flawless: Lessons in Looks and Culture from the K-Beauty Capital is her first book and takes a deep but accessible dive into the South Korean beauty industry. WiPS had the honour of hosting Elise’s first international book event, on 23 December 2023, at the FCC. We thank WiPS member and award-winning author Dr Stephanie Han for connecting Elise with WiPS in early November. Lookism, Hallyu, the technological gaze and skull reshaping were just some of the concepts that Elise described, emphasizing that her book is as much about technology as about beauty. K-Beauty’s rules may be at the extreme and unforgiving end of the vanity scale, but social media platforms and AI tools are undoubtedly having a huge impact on all aspects of our lives.

New Year Meetup
In mild mid-January weather, a group of WiPS members met for an evening of companionship and conversation at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club in Causeway Bay. We sat outside the main deck’s bar and discussed a range of topics, big and small, from the serious to the hilarious, and everything in between – including literary. Around us, laser lights disco-danced across skyscrapers and rainbow illuminations winked at us from Kowloon, bouncing their reflections off the harbour waves below. Tucking into in a selection of delicious cocktail snacks, washed down with mocktails, cocktails and wine, we agreed the biggest treat was enjoying a simple evening of camaraderie, laughter, warmth and connection with fellow WiPS members.

AND FINALLY…

New Members
A warm welcome to our seven new members who have joined since November 2023: Genevieve Hilton, Liz Keyon, Jessica Mizzi, Lucy Parris, Fiona So, Genevieve White and Sacha Yasumoto, and to Jane Houng who returns after five years.

With our best wishes
Your WiPS Committee