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LITERATURE IN THE WORST/BEST OF TIME – Hong Kong Voices

HOMI © Goethe-Institut Hongkong

IV. Hong Kong Voices

Following our series of online discussions between authors from Hong Kong and Minsk on their respective experiences with writing in times of uncertainty, we would now like to turn our focus on some concrete examples of literary prose published in Hong Kong over the last couple of years. This time the encounter will take place between three local authors and two German newcomers to the city who turned from coincidental readers into devoted translators. Kathrin Bode and Joern Grundmann both came to Hong Kong in late 2019, just in time to witness some of the major developments that left the place greatly altered. Shortly after they first met in spring of 2021, they decided to embark on the project of translating a volume of short stories dealing with these events and their previous social developments from Chinese and Cantonese into German. Now, about half a later, they are inviting three among the authors they are currently translating, Dorothy Tse, Lee Chi Leung and Darren Lo, to read from their work here at the Goethe-Institute. Their readings in Cantonese will be accompanied by Bode’s and Grundmann’s German translations, followed by a discussion between authors and translators in English. Moreover, an English working translation will be made available for those who do neither speak Cantonese or German.
 

Date: 16.12.2021 (Thu)
Time: 7PM (HKT)
Venue: Library, Goethe-Institut Hongkong
Speakers: Dorothy Tse, Lee Chi Leung and Darren Lo
Moderator: Kathrin Bode, Joern Grundmann
Languages: English
Registration: Please register on or before 14.12.2021.

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About the speakers:

Dorothy Tse ©Dorothy Tse Dorothy Tse (謝曉虹) is the author of four short-story collections in Chinese, including So Black (2003, 2005) and Ghost in the Umbrella (2020), and has garnered attention in English since the 2014 publication of her collection Snow and Shadow (translated by Nicky Harman; longlisted for 2015 Best Translated Book Award). Her literary prizes also include Taiwan’s Unitas New Fiction Writers’ Award and the Hong Kong Award for Creativity Writing in Chinese.

Dorothy has been granted residencies at Art Omi, The Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing, University of Iowa’s International Writing Program and Vermont Studio Center and with translator Natascha Bruce, Tse was a winner of the 2019 Words Without Borders Poems in Translation Prize. A co-founder of Hong Kong’s literary magazine, Fleurs des Lettres, she teaches creative writing at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Her first novel Owlish published in Chinese in 2020. The English version (tr by Natascha Bruce), received a PEN Heim award and will be published in 2023 by Graywolf in the USA and by Fitzcarraldo in the UK. The German version (tr by Marc Hermann) is forthcoming in 2022 by Büchergilde.


Lee Chi Leung © Lee Chi Leung LEE Chi-Leung (李智良) is a fiction and non-fiction writer. His writings are known to disrupt genre boundaries, and are marked by a hyper-consciousness of the visceral and affective experience of capitalistic urban existence. Titles under his name includes:

- Porcelain (《白瓷》)
- A Room Without Myself (《房間》), winner of Hong Kong Book Prize and the Hong Kong Biennial Awards for Chinese Literature
- The Grass is Bluer by the Sea (《海邊草更藍》)
- Days We Cross (《渡日若渡海》)

LEE received his BA and MPhil degrees in comparative literature from The University of Hong Kong, and had worked as free-lance contributor, editor, thesis ghost writer and translator. In recent years he has been teaching creative writing, film and literature-related courses in local universities and writing workshops for youth and adult in the community. He has a portrait of Clarice Lispector on the bookshelf and her Complete Stories next to his pillow, when he can’t write he takes his camera out for a long walk in the city. He considers writing as an experimental space for a new language and aesthetic experience that will allow us to find each other again.

Darren Lo © Darren Lo Darren Lo (盧卓倫) started to write when he was in primary school. After finishing school, he worked for four years in various jobs before entering University. He graduated from Baptist University in 2020, having gained a bachelor’s in social work. Presently, he is working as a social worker in a Christian NGO here in Hong Kong. He never stopped writing and published in various magazines. His first collection of short stories «Ye Hai» was published in 2020 by Spicy Fish Publishing House. Recently he was part of a joint event with the artists So Wing Po and Lau Hok Shing, organized by the House of Hong Kong Literature. The event was moderated by fellow writer Tang Siu Wa.


 

ModeratorS:

Kathrin Bode © Kathrin Bode Kathrin Bode studied the Chinese language in Bonn, Germany and Wuhan, Hubei-province. She has previously worked as a German teacher in the Universities of Bonn and Cologne as well as from 2015 to 2019 at University of Foreign Studies in Tianjin. In 2020 she started teaching at Baptist University in Hong Kong. She has translated short stories of the Chinese writer Ye Shengtao and Zhou Daxin from Chinese into German. Recently she translated poems by Lin Bai. She is presently working on a collection of short stories from Feng Jicai. Having come across writers from Hong Kong only a short time ago, she is very much intrigued by the dynamic and creativity of this circle. With this event and the translation of writers from Hong Kong she hopes to make Hong Kong Literature known to a broader German speaking audience.




Joern Peter Grundmann © Joern Peter Grundmann Joern Peter Grundmann holds a B.A. degree in Asian Studies from the University of Bonn, an M.A. from the Department of Chinese Literature at National Taiwan University, as well as a Ph.D. in Chinese Studies from the University of Edinburgh. He currently works as a postdoctoral research-fellow at the Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology, HKBU. His field of research comprises early Chinese philology as well as pre-imperial intellectual and conceptual history. Despite his focus on the beginnings of the Chinese intellectual tradition he has recently re-discovered his initial interest in contemporary sinophone literature. Together with Kathrin Bode, he currently works on a volume of most recent short stories from Hong Kong in German translation. His first literary translations, a selection of four episodes from Dorothy Tses novella City in flux of the bygone (逝水流城) are bound to appear in the seventy-first issue of Hefte für Ostasiatische Literatur .


 
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