Book lover revels in spreading the gospel of the printed word

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 February, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 February, 2004, 12:00am

As managing director of online bookseller and co-organiser of the Hong Kong Literary Festival, Elaine Leung wants to ignite her passion for the printed word in others.

Three years ago Ms Leung's love of books led her to accept an invitation from the literary festival's co-founders, Nury Vittachi and Jane Camens, to come on board and assist in expanding and promoting the festival.

The organisers hoped she could add another dimension to the programme.

'I contribute more to the business side of the festival,' she explains.

'I am known to publishers worldwide via Paddyfield, which also brings me into contact with many authors both around the region and internationally.

'All the festival's organisers complement each other nicely in what we are able to contribute.'

As the mother of two boys aged 12 and nine, Ms Leung is particularly enthusiastic about the introduction of activities for young children as part of the festival's programme.

'A couple of years ago we started a programme whereby authors would visit schools and read and speak to children,' she says.

'This then expanded and was held in the City Hall Library, and then moved to the new Central Library.

'Authors are people who should have contact with readers.

'They provide the who, where, why and when behind all the wonderful novels and stories we become so engrossed in.

'And meeting and discussing their work, what influences their writing and other elements of their work, must be understood by others if we are to continue and encourage what in recent years has been a veritable explosion in Asian authors.'

Ms Leung waxes lyrical about all there is on store for festival audiences this year.

'My main priority at the moment is obviously guaranteeing everything is in place for this year's festival,' she says.

'I hope to see many Hongkongers attending what we have planned for them this year.'

The Hong Kong Literary Festival runs from March 8 to 14