I know in the past many writers have been dismayed by Hong Kong’s literary scene, or lack of, as in literary journals, readings, events. Have things changed?
I can’t speak for the Chinese-language literary scene, but it’s true that the English-language literary community is very small. Aesthetically there is a lack of diversity. I don’t know if it’s the linguistic situation or the ever-looming financial/business culture, but lately I’ve been wondering if the lack in the literary arts has also to do with the city’s struggle with identity; I recently attended a lecture where the speaker pointed out that historically HK was never given the chance to shape its own sense of identity. And if you think about places where the arts flourish, or even the inception of American literature, it usually coincides with a strong sense of self-identity. Much of the literary scene also seems to be expat, which I suppose makes logical sense, but HK has such an interesting relationship with the English language, I find myself wishing for a more heterogeneous mix of writers. I do sense, though, that the literary arts is burgeoning–there’s even a new MFA program this year–which means every literary person here has the chance to be a part of the conversation in shaping Hong Kong’s literary identity. So it’s a really exciting opportunity for birthing those journals, readings, events