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March 5, 2009

The Reader

Last week, The Reader graced the red carpet, conjured images of illicit affairs and brought forth rambling, slightly cringe-worthy acceptance speeches (or if you were stateside, displays of emotional brilliance). This week, The Reader implies only one thing, the ninth annual Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival. Featuring literary luminaries, local talent, political voices and emerging writers in a series of lunches, cocktail parties, performances, seminars and debates, the programme of events is so dramatic, it rivals any red carpet power play (watch out Jen and Angelina). So, whether you’re a tried and true dedicated English major, an aspiring journalist, an angst filled poet, or just want to expand your cultural horizons beyond the illustrious drama on E!, it’s time to bring out your inner “reader” and sign up for this year’s literary festival…

Opening Night Drinks and Asia Literary Review Launch – To kick start the festival, put on your literary-chic best and come and mingle with visiting writers, publishers and fellow literature enthusiasts. Have a tipple or three to toast the festival issue and launch of Asia Literary Review featuring exciting new writers, photography, travel writing and memoirs. This is set to make Sunday night the new Saturday night out! (Sunday, March 8, 6:00pm, Fringe Club Rooftop, Complimentary)

Not A Muse: Poetry to Seduce the Senses – Celebrate the launch of Not a Muse with a riveting ensemble of poets hailing from all corners of the globe. They’ll be performing their vivacious poetry on stage, bringing their art to life. Enjoy an evening of multi-sensory entertainment, where live poetry will blend with the passion of jazz and the beauty of art. Ticket price includes a copy of Not A Muse. (Sunday, March 8, Fringe Theatre, 7-8:30pm, HK$380,

Dim Sum & Then Some Presents The Scandal of the Season – Come and join us for a literary lunch that will be sure to tickle your mind and your taste buds. Hear tantalizing 18th-century gossip about authors and aristocracy from Sophie Gee, the renowned Princeton professor and author of The Scandal of the Season, a historic tale of seduction, betrayal and intrigue, while enjoying a gourmet feast. Good food, salacious gossip and great company…that’s what Wednesday afternoons are all about! (Wednesday, March 11, 12:30pm, The Press Room, HK$420)

Armchair Traveller – After a few glasses of bubbly your imagination is often prone to getting carried away. Well this time, your daydreaming mind will have a helping hand. Sip champagne and imagine diving in the Galapagos or journeying to another time in history with Julia Whitty, author of The Fragile Edge, and Sophie Gee as they share fascinating anecdotes with Stephen McCarty. This promises to be an evening full of entertainment with boisterously charming raconteurs. (Wednesday, March 11, 5:00pm, M at the Fringe, HK$420)

The Science of Enlightenment – Feel like your energy is low and your Qi is in need of a bit of rebalancing? Why not attend a discussion with Dr. Susan Jamieson, author of, Light in Life, Medical to Mystical, which draws on wisdom from both ancient traditions and cutting edge science to help you see yourself in a new light and optimize your skills and potential. (Thursday, March 12, 2:00pm, Fringe Theatre HK$200,

China and Obama’s America: The Inaugural Great Financial Times Debate – You watched the US presidential debates with fervent dedication. Now it’s time for a little heated action on our own soil. The Financial Times presents a cross-fire on how the new US Democratic administration combined with the global economic downturn will impact political, economic, and trade relations with China, with pundits Simon Schama, Richard McGregor, Jonathan Fenby and Lifen Zhang, moderated by the FT’s Asia editor David Pilling. Lunch included. (Friday, March 13, 12:30pm, The Four Seasons, Grand Ballroom, HK$450)

M Literary Lunch: Free Food for Millionaires – If you liked Slumdog Millionaire, you’ll love Min Jin Lee‘s Free Food for Millionaires, an immigrant story rich with class struggles and rugged individualism. Tuck into lunch at M at the Fringe followed by a conversation with the author in which she will reveal more colour on the book’s love and betrayals, illicit sex, shocking unfaithfulness, and unexpected turns of the heart. (Saturday, March 14, 12:30pm, M at the Fringe, HK$288)

Wine, Words and Wisdom – Wine pairing is taking on a whole new meaning at next Saturday’s Wine, Words and Wisdom dinner. Each course of your meal will feature a specially chosen wine and an equally fitting anecdote presented by an outstanding author. Hear from Canadian Novelist Charles Foran, Nam Le author of fictional short story compilation The Boat, Irish poet and painter John O’Sullivan, and Janice Lee author of highly acclaimed new novel The Piano Teacher, while you enjoy sustainable seafood and some excellent vintages from Essential Fine Wines. (Saturday, March 14, 7:30pm, DotCod, HK$800)

Travel & Leisure Southeast Asia Presents Fine Fiction – Always thought you would be the one to write your generation’s literary masterpiece? Now is your chance to find out how it’s done. Speak to two acclaimed writers and hear their tales of struggle and paths to eventual success over Sunday morning coffee and pastries in The Pawn’s cosy Living Room. Nam Le and Filipino novelist Miguel Syjuco, author of Ilustrado, discuss what makes an award-winning book along with the trials of the writing and publishing process in conversation with Stephen McCarty. (Sunday, March 15, 10:00am, The Pawn Living Room, HK$250)

It may not be the Kodak Theatre but this festival will be filled with just as much high intensity drama, gripping storylines and larger than life characters. . . all from the comforts of Central!

The Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival
March 8-18, 2009

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