Past Events

Writing Workshops

By Rinkoo Ramchandani

Six months on, and the writing workshop regulars are bonding over laughter as the group forms its own dynamic personality, marked by comfort and camaraderie.

We have updated the rules to expand the word limit to 2,000 but to restrict re-writes to two rounds. The diversity of the prose submissions we’ve seen speaks to the exceptional talent of the participating WiPS members.

Two of our regulars are working on novels, painstakingly submitting a chapter each month, leaving the rest of us in suspended anticipation as we wait to find out what has now happened. Other members are wistfully looking back on memorable experiences through the form of personal essays, while the rest entertain with short stories ranging from spooky to satirical. But the fun doesn’t stop there – this past week we even made up our own drinking game called “Andy, you’re on mute” with self-explanatory rules.

In between sessions, we stay connected through a WhatsApp group about upcoming deadlines and the occasional sassy meme nudging everyone to get back to their writing.

By |August 8th, 2022|Categories: event|0 Comments

Book Club

By Gillian Kew

Our Book Club has now been running for four months and we have read and reviewed four books, with opinions varying from “Meah!” to “Fab!”

We are a warm and friendly group, welcoming all opinions on our book choices and enjoying a lively, inter-book discourse via WhatsApp. During our monthly Zoom sessions, we have some great discussions about the books and the issues they raise. We don’t always agree, but where would the fun be if we did?

Holding meetings over Zoom means that anyone in a reasonably compatible time zone can take part, which is a definite and unforeseen bonus. Of course, it would be lovely to get together in a physical space as virtual gatherings do have their drawbacks. With that in mind, we are considering holding a face-to-face session in the autumn for our Hong Kong members. We will be polling you on this and we welcome everyone’s input.

Meanwhile, I think it’s fair to say that the Book Club is proving to be a popular feature of the WiPS programme.

By |August 6th, 2022|Categories: event|0 Comments

“Let it roar!” (July Author/Publisher Event)

By Carol Dyer

John Saeki and Pete Spurrier on how to earn your stripes in Hong Kong’s publishing industry. (Moderated by Suzanne Andrews)

Publishing John Saeki’s The Last Tigers of Hong Kong (ISBN: 978-988-75546-1-5) in the Year of the Tiger was serendipitous: Covid had delayed Blacksmith Books’ earlier planned release. It was equally unintentional that WiPS held its event on the eve of the International Day of the Tiger, 29 July (shamefully, we were not aware there was one!).

But nothing was left to chance in John Saeki’s research for his fascinating book. Historical references were hard to find, which probably explains why no one else has tackled the topic, and they were painstakingly and meticulously hunted down. Drawn to his subject by the sheer contrast of Hong Kong’s image as an urban jungle and the roaming of a ferocious wild beast at its fringes, Saeki spent many months in scanning newspaper archives; trying to locate New Territory’s villagers who were old enough to have seen a tiger in the wild; and reading the tiger tales of American missionary Harry Caldwell and descriptions by biologist G.A.C. Herklots.

Then endemic in Fujian Province, the South China tiger had extended its territory. There was nothing to stop it wandering, as it did yearly, into Hong Kong to prey on domestic and wild animals – and sometimes also people. Scary as this scenario might seem, the author laconically commented that over the period of the tiger’s presence in Hong Kong (possibly until as recently as the early 1960s), humans killed far more humans than the tiger ever did!

In his turn, local publisher extraordinaire Pete Spurrier told us that non-fiction about Hong Kong (and China), historical or contemporary, sells much better than fiction by Hong Kong-based authors, whose work generally competes less well with that of international writers. Importantly, too, local publishers are less interested in the rest of the region: if you write about Singapore, then find a Singaporean publisher, or go to New York or London.

A good working relationship between author and publisher is essential (as Saeki and Spurrier had). Authors need to be confident. If they are not, they may be turned away for fear they will be unable to help the book’s public promotion. This is an essential part of marketing in the industry today. Having a social media presence is not enough: you need to be out on the road doing interviews and book signings.

By |August 6th, 2022|Categories: event|0 Comments

It’s Never Too Late: Robyn Flemming on “Skinful”

By Rinkoo Ramchandani

When Robyn Flemming co-started WiPS with Polly Yu in the early 1990s, she never imagined that 30 years later she would be sharing the journey of her recently published memoir with its members in a virtual meeting from halfway across the world. On 6 June 2022, on a rainy Hong Kong evening, that’s exactly what she did, zooming in from an equally wet London where she was promoting her book, Skinful: A memoir of addiction (www.robynflemmingauthor.com).

Interviewed by WiPS committee member Rinkoo Ramchandani, Robyn touched on a wide variety of topics, including the publishing process and distribution, the vulnerability expected of a memoirist and the impact on relationships, her difficult childhood, her life as a perpetual traveller, and of course an addiction that haunted her for the better part of four decades.

Robyn openly shared her journey of drafts and rejections before she eventually found beta readers willing to give her valuable insights on how to transform the project into a marketable book. She considered self-publishing before the almost-seven-year labour of love finally resulted in contracts in Australia and the UK. Skinful is now available globally online.

Asked for her advice on the writing process, Robyn wisely suggested breaking a project down into manageable steps, seeking support along the way and being patient. Echoing the theme of the talk, It’s Never Too Late, Skinful was published as Robyn turned 69 and began planning her return to the nomadic life that had been paused only by Covid.

As the talk began to wind down, and a lucky draw was held for a copy of the book, Rinkoo asked Robyn a final question: as she approaches 70, what is it still not too late for? Her response will be no surprise to those who have read Skinful: “Romance!”

By |June 20th, 2022|Categories: event|0 Comments

Writing Workshops

By Shikha Bansal

What happens when like-minded women get together on Zoom and discuss the craft of writing? The vibe is electric, enthusiastic and warm, and two hours fly by in the blink of an eye.

The WiPS Writing Workshop kicked off on 1 April with nine members in attendance. Eight members submitted a piece of writing, fiction and non-fiction, and everyone participated wholeheartedly, giving and receiving writing advice in equal measure, showing compassion and an understanding that pulling out words from thin air and attempting to turn them into art is challenging, although rewarding.

Led expertly by Rinkoo Ramchandani, the workshop produced a sense of shared community that will hopefully encourage the participants to grow and fulfil their potential as writers and one day find opportunities to showcase their work in larger arenas.

You can join our future Writing Workshops by registering through our website [https://www.hkwips.com/events/]

By |May 15th, 2022|Categories: event|0 Comments

Book Club

By Gillian Kew

It’s been some years since WiPS ran a book club, so we decided to put our toes back in the water and give it another go; after all, we are about anything publishing-related! This book club had to be different, though, as we could no longer meet in person. It had to be by Zoom.

Our chosen book was Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney, a novel whose story centres around the mundane, intertwined lives of four millennials, focusing on their relationships, sex lives and the problems they face as they tried to find their “Beautiful World”.

The discussions were animated and lively as we all expressed our varied opinions, analysed the content and agreed on the general conclusion that it was more miss than hit for us, with too much focus on millennial angst. That said, we were all glad to have tried something different and we had thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and exchange of ideas.

You can register through our website for future Book Club gatherings [https://www.hkwips.com/events/].

By |May 15th, 2022|Categories: event|0 Comments
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