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Long-stitch Bookbinding Workshop

by Lesley Hobbs 

As the owner of a rather impressive collection (read far too many!) of Moleskine notebooks, I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity of making my own. Under the inspiring (and patient) tutelage of Senseless Art proprietor Rachel PSmith, my three fellow bookbinding students and I all walked out with two handcrafted leather notebooks after a 3-hour laughter-filled Saturday afternoon, 13 April. You can’t tell from the accompanying photos, but it seems I’m a natural at hammering down accurately on pin headed nails. There’s possibly a story in there somewhere and I have just the notebook in which to jot down my ideas…

April 26th, 2024|

WiPS Newsletter (April 2024)

Dear Members

Since our last newsletter in January, we have held one of our biggest ever launches of Imprint, once again as a part of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival; we’ve promoted the anthology and Women in Publishing on RTHK Radio 3 over a 45-minute interview; and held an enjoyable long-stitch bookbinding workshop. Our Book Club and Writing Workshop sessions (see website homepage) continue in strength as we unveil what members and non-members can look forward to in the weeks ahead. Our anticipated programmed event with Hong Kong Stories in May is now rescheduled for June.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Hong Kong Stories Update
Thursday, 13 June 2024, 6.30pm
Limited registrations from story tellers has necessitated our 23 May collaboration with Hong Kong Stories being merged with the June show. Join us in supporting our WiPS participants, among other storytellers, as they take centre stage to share their true stories in front of a live audience. Tickets will go on sale in May.

Watercolour Painting
Didn’t get enough of Art Basel in March? Create your very own masterpiece with fellow WiPS members, as Adele Frankle will introduce the fundamentals of watercolours in an intimate group setting on Saturday afternoon, 15 June 2024. Look out for registration details to follow in May.

Imprint 23
The launch of Imprint 22 is still probably fresh in everyone’s mind who attended, but it is not too soon to be gathering your thoughts for submissions to Imprint 23. Please mark the 30 September 2024 deadline in your diaries and get creative. Work from new members and first-time contributors is welcome; and if there are new artists or illustrators in our midst, please let us know.

PAST EVENTS

Launch of Imprint 22
Have you started on your Imprint 23 submission yet? There’s a lot to live up to after Imprint 22 and its animated and extremely well-attended launch party on 7 March. If you were unable to come, please read Jessica Mizzi’s great write up of the evening [https://www.hkwips.com/2024/imprint-22-launch-party/]. We add here a huge debt of gratitude owed to our very generous publishing and event sponsors for simultaneously helping reduce our publishing costs and kindly providing quiz and lucky draw prizes for the launch itself. So, a big shout out please to Dentons, bowers.com, Lok Man Rare Books, Bamboa, Blacksmith Books, Bookazine and The Lion Rock Press. The biggest thank you though is reserved for all WiPS members past, present and never to be forgotten. WiPS is all of you.

Women in Publishing on RTHK Radio 3
On Friday, 5 April, radio producer and presenter Andrew Dembina introduced WiPS on the morning show Brunch as well as showcasing Imprint 22. WiPS members Rinkoo Ramchandani, Natalie Wong and Bhakti Mathur are to be thanked for successfully flying the proverbial banner 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 spoke about WiPS in a broader context to the show’s listeners.

“It was a great experience sharing an excerpt from my short story ‘Jumbo’ on the radio. Reading aloud was a little daunting at first, but I managed to shake off my nerves with  encouragement from my fellow WiPS members. I feel so grateful to be invited, and I hope to continue my writing journey with our wonderful WiPS community.” Natalie Wong

“A magical moment to represent WiPS, a community that has nurtured the poet in me and nudged me to go deep within myself. Reading my Imprint poem on RTHK felt as though I had come full circle, on a difficult journey. It ‘healed’ me. Thank you WiPS for this incredible opportunity.” Bhakti Mathur

Long-stitch Bookbinding
Lesley Hobbs writes: “As the owner of a rather impressive collection (read far too many!) of Moleskine notebooks, I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity of making my own. Under the inspiring (and patient) tutelage of Senseless Art proprietor Rachel PSmith, my three fellow bookbinding students and I all walked out with two handcrafted leather notebooks after a 3-hour laughter-filled Saturday afternoon, 13 April. You can’t tell from the accompanying photos, but it seems I’m a natural at hammering down accurately on pin headed nails. There’s possibly a story in there somewhere and I have just the notebook in which to jot down my ideas…”

Book Club Outreach
Running a book club during Covid had its downside: members missed the intimacy of meeting face to face. However, Zoom offered the opportunity for overseas members to take part, and that bore happy fruit in mid-April as Gillian Kew met UK-member Karen Moyse in Karen’s hometown of Cheltenham Spa for lunch and a chat! They discussed books and WiPS (of course), and discovered many things they had in common, including Hyson Green where Gillian worked as a student nurse and wrote about in Imprint 22! Parallel paths decades ago finally converged in 2024, thanks to WiPS and the international reach of Zoom! Our May book is Born a Crime by Trevor Noah and we meet via Zoom on May 27. Please join us!

See our WiPS website for more details of all WiPS past events.

AND FINALLY…

New Members
A warm welcome to our eight new or returning members who have joined since January 2024: Katharine BeutnerLisa GlasgowNirmala NagarajanMarie Ngom, Jayne RussellShivani Sarwal, Candice Deleveaux Turnquest and Michelle Vickers.

April 22nd, 2024|

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!

April 7th, 2024|

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.

March 9th, 2024|

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.

February 29th, 2024|

WiPS Newsletter (January 2024)

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

 

January 26th, 2024|
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