Past Events

A radio star (or three!) is born

By Lesley Hobbs

In case you hadn’t already heard, Women in Publishing (WiPS) is now a radio star courtesy of RTHK Radio 3! On 5 April 2024, radio producer and presenter Andrew Dembina, who was filling in for Noreen Mir on Brunch with Noreen, devoted most of the second hour of the show to introducing WiPS to a wider listening audience as well as showcasing two submissions from the latest edition of our anthology, Imprint 22.

A big shout out goes out to WiPS members Rinkoo Ramchandani, Natalie Wong and Bhakti Mathur for successfully flying the proverbial banner for and introducing WiPS on air that day! Natalie and Bhakti read from their Imprint 22 submissions and talked to Andrew about their respective writing journeys and inspiration for their pieces, while committee member Rinkoo Ramchandani spoke about WiPS in a broader context to the show’s listeners.

Andrew began the WiPS segment by introducing Imprint 22 to the radio audience and asked Rinkoo to explain how the anthology is organized. They then discussed WiPS’ rationale for including artwork as well as authored pieces in the anthology; the format of our monthly writing workshops; how members can maintain writing momentum throughout the year; and the diversity of our member base.

After Natalie and Bhakti had read out their pieces, they talked to Andrew about their backgrounds, artistic journeys and how, for both, WiPS acts as a support system for creative expression. The show closed with Rinkoo advising listeners on where they can buy copies of Imprint 22 and the submission deadline for Imprint 23, which is 30 September 2024. Rinkoo also shared the WiPS website details and invited women who were involved or interested in writing, publishing and/or the arts to consider joining our society.

If you missed it live, you can listen to the broadcast on the RTHK archive section at https://www.rthk.hk/radio/radio3/programme/brunchwithnoreen/episode/944779. You won’t be disappointed!

By |April 7th, 2024|Categories: event, news|0 Comments

IMPRINT 22 is unveiled at the FCC to the who’s who of the Hong Kong literary scene!

By Jessica Mizzi

 

There was a buzz in the air on Thursday night as the who’s who of the Hong Kong literary scene cleared their calendars for the WiPS night of nights! The launch of the 22nd issue of Imprint, the annual Women in Publishing Society anthology, is certainly a cornerstone event bringing long-term members together while welcoming newcomers like myself.

It’s a slightly daunting task walking into an event knowing no one. I shouldn’t have worried though. I could already hear the warm and friendly chatter as I ascended the stairs toward the Hughes Room. More people arrived, collecting their precious copies of Imprint and making the rounds of the room. I spent the evening chatting to writers, poets, philanthropists, lawyers, librarians, each as open to conversation as the next. There’s something incredibly empowering about gathering such creative, diverse and influential women in a historically masculine space like the FCC. In the words of Jo Lusby who kindly contributed the Foreword to Imprint 22 and graciously opened the evening, just because we’re used to seeing women, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t support them, and WiPS does just that by providing a platform for women’s voices in Hong Kong.

As the formalities kicked off attendees were treated to the diverse range of readings offered up by WiPS members. The night opened with Natalie Wong’s “Jumbo” (read by Rinkoo Ramchandani) to set the mood and tone, followed by Susan Lavender’s magnificent reading of “The Tailorbird” by Carol Dyer. Sadie Kaye’s “The Snide Sniper” brought audible laughter to the room and had me reflecting on how even the most classic of children’s literature hits a little differently when examined through the 21st century lens. The laughs continued with Andy and Lesley’s portrayal of Nigella Lawless and Greta Thunderbird that will surely be reprieved as WiPS folklore for years to come.

A quiz of the classics put together by Jennifer Eagleton had even the most learned amongst us questioning their abilities. The efforts of Holly Sykes and Genevieve Hilton coming out on top with a phenomenal lead are therefore definitely worth an honourable mention.

The second act took a more reflective tone, with an emotional reading of “Awake at 3 a.m.” by Maureen Tai, Holly Sykes’s wistful “Schoolgirl Sisters” and Emily Ho’s “Wisdom at the Barber’s Shop” (with Susan again taking to the stage). To close the night, a memorial to the late Kay Ross with Susan delivering a heartfelt ode reminiscing on the free birthday hugs and Playground of Possibilities for which Kay was renowned.

To paraphrase Jo Lusby’s opening, a single narrative cannot stand for one experience. It’s an exciting time to be writing in Hong Kong and what an honour it was to attend the Imprint launch, sharing the room with such talent.

By |March 9th, 2024|Categories: event, news|0 Comments

Katharine Beutner joins Book Club with “Killingly”!

By Holly Sykes

 

American writer, essayist and academic, Katharine Beutner, joined the WiPS Book Club this month to discuss her recent novel Killingly. Set in 1897, Beutner’s haunting story begins with the real-life unsolved disappearance of Bertha Melling, a student at Mount Holyoake in Massachusetts. Intrigue, revelations and terror follow, making it a gripping read for many, including our discerning members.

Katharine began the session with a short presentation about her research for the book. Drawn from history, this mysterious event required a meticulous and robust approach, which Katharine kindly talked us through, detailing the places she’d visited, the archives she’d accessed and the help she’d received from various research assistants and colleagues.

From there, the discussion moved to a fascinating Q&A in which Katharine fielded questions about setting and character, through to queries about her writing practice and her perspective on the wider ethical issue of fictionalizing real-life events. Much to the group’s delight, Katharine also floated the idea of a possible spin-off for Private Investigator Higham, or a sequel following Annie Green, one of the journalists who reported Bertha’s strange disappearance.

Faced with a glut of true-crime stories, as readers are, this literary crime thriller offers a refreshing take on the genre in which intellectually driven young women triumph despite the restraints placed on them by a society that refuses to acknowledge their value. It was an honour to host this award-winning author; huge thanks to Katharine for taking time out of her writing schedule to discuss her book with us.

By |February 29th, 2024|Categories: event, news|0 Comments

New Year Meetup

By Andy Lowe

 

On 18 January 2024 a group of WiPS members met for an evening of companionship and conversation at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club in Causeway Bay. In almost balmy New Year weather we made ourselves comfortable on the cushioned sofas outside the main deck’s bar.

Topics of discussion ranged from big to small, from serious to hilarious, and everything in between. We shared personal anecdotes, jokes and opinions on various global, cultural and literary affairs. So free-flowing was the conversation that it wasn’t until later that we really began to appreciate the picture-perfect views that surrounded us on all sides: laser lights disco-danced across skyscrapers behind and the rainbow-shimmer of lights from the Kowloon peninsula winked at us, bouncing their reflections off the gentle harbour waves below. The stunning Aqua Luna junk, with her plump red sails fully trimmed, proudly cruised up and down showcasing our vibrant Hong Kong harbour at its beautiful best.

Although the night freshened, and the conversation was nourishment for the soul, this was not an evening designed around physical fitness. We nibbled delicious carb-loaded cocktail snacks of prawn toast, smashed samosas with yummy toppings, and nut and chocolate temptations, washing them all down with mocktails, cocktails and wine. Pure indulgence! However, the biggest treat was enjoying a simple evening of camaraderie, laughter, warmth and connection with fellow WiPS members.

A few thanks are in order:

  • To returning member Jane Houng for telling us about her new book “Under Lion Rock” and charity Becky’s Button. Please visit https://beckysbutton.org/ to learn more about this worthwhile cause for vulnerable women and support however you can.
  • To new member Genevieve Hilton for inviting submissions to the upcoming on-line publication “The Apostrophe” https://hkwcmagazine.substack.com/p/submissions
  • Last, but not least, to committee member Lesley Hobbs for organizing and hosting a wonderful evening.
By |January 25th, 2024|Categories: event, news|0 Comments

Flawless: The Quest for Perfection

By Lesley Hobbs

 

Elise Hu is a Los Angeles-based journalist, podcaster and author. Between 2015 and 2018 she was the first Seoul Bureau Chief of broadcast media group NPR. In May 2023, she published her first book, Flawless: Lessons in Looks and Culture from the K-Beauty Capital, which took a deep but accessible dive into the South Korean beauty industry. Elise then spent a whirlwind six months travelling the USA attending book signings, author events and speaking engagements.

WiPS had the honour of hosting Elise’s first international book event (sold-out!) at the FCC on 23 December 2023. We owe a debt of gratitude to long-standing WiPS member and award-winning author Dr Stephanie Han for connecting Elise with WiPS in early November. Stephanie somehow knew that Elise and WiPS would make in-person event magic happen despite the short lead time. The last Saturday before Christmas was Elise’s only available date during a 72-hour whistlestop tour of Hong Kong. Bookazine ensured that a carton of Elise’s books cleared Hong Kong customs well before the event, and Elise herself arrived in the Hughes Room just in time for the first course and in interview-ready mode.

Lookism, Hallyu, the technological gaze and skull reshaping were just some of the concepts that Elise’s audience got to digest along with the cheesecake. Isn’t photoshopping your ID card considered illegal? Apparently not because we should all want to eliminate freckles even for government-issued documents.

Elise emphasizes that her book is as much about technology as about beauty. And not just female 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 having a huge impact on all aspects of our lives, and we are all guilty of self-policing and narcissistic behaviour when it comes to our “appearance”.

By |January 23rd, 2024|Categories: event, news|0 Comments

WiPS Festive Dinner 2023

By Daniela Alam

 

“Counting down to our Festive Dinner!” read the WhatsApp group photo caption. Excitement was clearly in the air as WiPS members readied to gather again to celebrate the festive season, an event made impossible during Covid. The Foreign Correspondents’ Club Verandah was the perfect setting for this large and lively group of literary ladies and their books. Green tickets in hand for drinks, Secret Santa gift in tote for swap, and off we were sent to find a seat. Conversations were merry, reunions warm, and introductions a-plenty. One could barely hear the Christmas music playing in the background. Once all had arrived, dinner was swiftly served, and announcements were made – Polly, Rinkoo and Lesley each sharing words of enthusiasm about the programme for next year’s events. Cheers!

What’s a festive dinner without musical chairs? After we’d indulged in our main course, half the table was instructed to swap seats. Every other seat was swapped with some additional swapping and re-swapping as we tried to get it right. More exchanges happened as the goodie bag was passed around, each of us selecting a beautifully wrapped treasure. Further chatting ensued as we gobbled up dessert alongside our new reads. More and more photos were taken as we yelled to the staff, “Zoom in to get the book titles!”

Let the countdown begin to a successful WiPS 2024!

By |December 7th, 2023|Categories: event, news|0 Comments
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