Allow me to begin on a high. The kind of high one feels when permitted to walk on a Hong Kong beach once again without fencing preventing your feet from touching sand. The kind of high one revels in when life resumes to near normalcy after claustrophobic pandemic times. And to get you more excited, please read on… “Yes, there are other highs to come!”
NEW MEMBERS Since March, we have had 10 new members join WiPS: Gargi Banerjee, Julia Besnard, Irenee Chan, Liz Hobbs, Sarah Kwong, Jane Lo, Andy Lowe, Marria Qibtia Sikanda Nagra, Kate Wyllie and Neerja Yadav. It’s wonderful to have each one of you join us! To learn more about these talented ladies, please find their profiles in our online Members’ Directory [https://www.hkwips.com/members-directory/].
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.
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.
In 2010, aged in her late fifties, Robyn sold her house in Australia and set off with her laptop on what would become a 10-year global odyssey as a freelance editor. But Robyn was also trying to manage a 40-year drinking habit. Robyn will share how Skinful, a planned funny travel memoir, became a brave and heartfelt account of personal change. She will also speak about finding her publisher and the special challenges that writing a memoir presents.
IMPRINT 21 We have had an impressive collection of submissions sent in for Imprint21. The official deadline is now past, but if anyone has work she would still like to submit, please contact Carol (firstname.lastname@example.org) soon.
PAYMENT OPTIONS We have just added a new feature, PayMe for Business, to our payment options for annual subscriptions, events and copies of Imprint.
On behalf of your WiPS committee, I send you our very best wishes and look forward to many wonderful times ahead.
Now that Imprint20 is finally in orbit, we have, as advertised on various social media platforms, started to offer tasters from among members’ work. We suggest that you consider sharing these on your own social media pages so that we can reach a broader readership.
We took good note of your voices at the launch and are excited to tell you that we will resume the WRITING WORKSHOP around the end of March / early April. It will be led by Rinkoo Ramchandani, one of our two new committee members. The first will be a member-only get-together dedicated to Imprint21 submissions.
Later in April – to give you time to read the title – we will start a new BOOK CLUB. Gillian Kew, who is our other new committee member, will lead this.
Both the workshop and the book club will be held monthly on Zoom. They are free to members and available to non-members at a charge of HKD80 per session.
So that we can better plan for these events, please kindly email us at email@example.com by March 23 if you or your friends are interested in joining either. We will then liaise with you directly to finalize details. Please email whatever your time zone as we may be able to include some overseas members or organize satellite groups for those in the US or Europe.
We greatly look forward to hearing from you.
Finally, please remember the deadline for Imprint21 submissions is 30 April!
IMPRINT 20 WAS OFFICIALLY UNVEILED ON 26 FEBRUARY. As we couldn’t celebrate at the FCC, we launched the issue by Zoom.
Masterminded by new committee member Rinkoo Ramchandani and emceed by our president Suzanne Andrews, the occasion was declared an amazing success and enjoyed by members around the globe. Necessity being the mother of invention, WiPS had produced – in short order – its own mix of virtual wizardry!
“What a soul-lifting, inspiring and FUN launch that was! So honoured to be among such a vibrant, lively and talented group of creative women. Suzanne and team. It was a blast!” — Maureen Tai
For those of you whom distance or other engagements made attendance impossible, here is a small taste of what we enjoyed. These will take you to Susan Lavender’s rehearsal of her readings from four members’ prose pieces:
We also include a link to introduce our artist member Pamela Williams (https://www.pamwilliams.co.uk) who gave us not only the stunning illustration for the cover of Imprint 20 but also invaluable help in graphic design. As Pam lives in London, few members will have met her.
We hope this footage will help kindle your own creativity and urge you to be part of issue 21!
The deadline for the submissions is 30 April 2022. If you haven’t begun work on yours, please start now! This is your anthology and we welcome everyone’s contribution. Visit our website for guidelines.
We will hold an Imprint workshop in late March / early April for anyone needing help with her piece. More about this to follow.
Last weekend, I experienced something magical. No, I didn’t suddenly find the cure for Covid or the secret to World Peace (shame), but I did find that even during what are euphemistically dubbed “difficult times”, it was still possible to have a great time with friends. This was WiPS’ first virtual party, to launch IMPRINT 20 and to celebrate 30 years of this marvellous organization. Rinkoo Ramchandani’s technical wizardry and the hard work of the WiPS team gave us a party to remember as a rip-roaring success that connected WiPS members from across the globe with us all in Hong Kong: 29 spirited women, 8 from 6 different overseas countries!
Jazzy music and a rolling slide show of some early WiPS photos and the present and past Imprint covers opened the party, and we settled down to inspiring remarks from Suzanne Andrews, a champagne toast and then to excerpts from the stunning works of Dimple Shah and Maureen Tai, performed impeccably by Susan Lavender. Mary-Jane Newton and Bhavani Krishnamurthy followed, delighting us with their poems.
It was then time to let loose and have some fun. We launched into The Quiz – a WiPS tradition, reworked for Zoom – having an absolute ball as our competitive ladies’ hands shot up, we danced in our seats, and argued playfully over who got there first, finishing with an uproarious tongue-twister.
A short break while screening slides of the artwork in this year’s Imprint was followed with Carol Dyer discussing our new-look Imprint, thanking everyone involved in its production and reminding us to get our orders in! She then gave us the deadline for Imprint 21 (April 30 in case you want to start scribbling) and asked the fiction writers and artists to step forward and share their talent (again, time to sharpen those nibs)!
Susan Lavender returned to the stage to thrill us once more with an energetic performance of Jennifer Eagleton’s sparkling piece on life with corona – never has a virus sounded so attractive! Demonstrating her acting prowess, Susan quickly changed tack to move us with part of Sarah Merrill Mowat’s evocative story, also about Covid. Shikha Lamba and Elizabeth Vongsaravanh completed this section with their poignantly lovely verse. We had laughed, cried (well, I had) and we were about to cry some more as the party was coming to an end – but not before our Quiz winners were announced. After a nail-biting tie-breaker, Jennifer Eagleton triumphed, with Sarah Brennan hard on her heels, and runner up prizes for Robyn Flemming, Ritu Hemnani and Sue Dockstader.
We finished with a poll on future activities and on the highest of notes, as Sarah Brennan gave a moving vote of thanks, and we toasted the success of IMPRINT 20 and this amazing group of talented women.
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Our next steps: thank you for your feedback on what events you’d like to see more of in 2022. We’ve heard you! And we’re excited to announce that we will be re-launching the writing workshop. In addition, we will arrange a book club again! We’ve also started planning a couple of other events including an author talk as well as smaller discussion groups.
We do need a little more time to iron out some of these details, so stay tuned for more information in the next few weeks! And while face to face is always a wonderful way to connect with each other, we were very excited to have our overseas members participate in the Imprint launch by Zoom and hope to see more of you in the coming virtual events as well. And to our Hong Kong friends, we know you’re not able to go out much right now, so we will do our best to offer some fun distractions to you.
By now our local members should have received their copy of Imprint20 in the post; overseas members will probably still need to wait a while. We are sad to have had to resort to mailing out the anthology again but having deferred this year’s launch twice, we could wait no longer. Social distancing rules could remain as they are for many weeks.
For those of you requiring more copies of Imprint20, please kindly email [firstname.lastname@example.org] with the number of copies you need. We will keep you informed as to how these will be collected or posted, with postage paid by the member in this case.
We hope when Imprintdid/does arrive, it was/will be a pleasant surprise and that it will provide you with much enjoyable reading!
Imprint20 Zoom Launch Party We are thrilled to announce that we will hold an Imprint20 launch party by Zoom on Saturday, 26 February at 3pm Hong Kong time – chosen so that our early birds and night owls overseas can join us. A flyer will be sent to you shortly and the Zoom link will be emailed before the event. We’re all dressing up – so on the day we will be face to face, mask-less and joyous!
New Committee Members We are delighted also to announce that Gillian Kew and Rinkoo Ramchandani have recently joined us on the committee. We’re so excited to have you with us, Gillian and Rinkoo, and of course welcome your expertise and enthusiasm!
2022 Membership Renewal Thank you to those of you who have renewed your membership for this year. The deadline for renewal is 28 February, so please attend to this if you have not emailed us yet. All Showcase, Directory and Women at Work contributions are dependent on membership, so, regretfully, if membership is not renewed, these will be removed from our website.
Upcoming events for 2022 In-person occasions remain difficult to arrange, so this year we are scheduling Zoom events to encourage networking, learning and sharing. After our Imprintlaunch, we plan to have a post-ImprintZoom event to share stories we’ve enjoyed from our latest anthology, to comment on the new look of Imprint20 and to discuss the next issue.
It is also our intention to establish at least one sub-group, which may be a critique group, book club or similar. This group will have regular Zoom events and one member will be asked to co-ordinate this.
We also plan to offer online courses of interest to you all.
We are excited to see as many of you as possible on Saturday, 26 February for our first Zoom of the year. Finally, we can celebrate our beloved anthology!
Very best wishes on behalf of the committee, Suzanne
The enchanting and sometimes chilly days of autumn are upon us and now of course, it’s almost time for Santa and his helpers to drop in on some of your little ones. Being magical and all, his sleigh will most certainly make it to the homes of all believers!
Hopefully, this will be the final Christmas with travel restrictions, prohibiting families being together. Your WiPS family is here though! Would you like to join us for Christmas drinks onFriday, 17 December 2021? We would so love to see you. Further details regarding venue and time will be confirmed as soon as we find the perfect spot.
Imprint20 goes to print this month as a fabulous 20th issue! Your patience has been most appreciated. Despite the best of intentions, we are unable to distribute the anthology before Christmas; however, our festive ImprintLaunch Party is booked at the FCC for Friday, 14 January 2022. We will email you more details on this in due course. Please do put this date in your diary.
The deadline for submissions for Imprint21 is 30 April 2022 , with our next launch scheduled for late October. We encourage you to start writing!
It was so nice to have members here and abroad join our Zoom gatherings. The intimacy of a group Zoom really was very special. Thank you to all of you who were able to make it. The next Zoom will be for all of you in USA, especially the West Coasters who won’t have to rise at 5am this time!
How splendid to be mingling together once again, soon. Of course, your proof of vaccination is a must. To be out and about with so many countries unable to afford this luxury, is yet another reason to be grateful. To those overseas members, we hope you too are able to socialise safely over the Christmas holiday period.