PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 March, 2007, 12:00am

Shamini Flint, based in Singapore, worked as a corporate lawyer but quit her job to be home with her children. That was when she began to write. She started with a thriller, Partners In Crime, and later branched out into books for children, which reflect her experience of a childhood in tropical Southeast Asia. Flint promotes environmental awareness with her 'Endangered Animal' series - Jungle Blues (2005) and Panda Packs Her Bags (2006). The books in the 'Sasha in Asia' series feature the writer's four-year-old daughter. Flint, who started Sunbear Publishing in 2004, encourages ethical consumerism.

Michelle Garnaut, an Australian born in Melbourne, is a trained chef and restaurateur with a culinary career spanning 25 years across continents. In 1989, she opened M at the Fringe in Hong Kong, which became a pioneer of standalone fine-dining restaurants. Ten years later she again led the way in Shanghai with M on the Bund, long before other fine-dining establishments came into the picture. In 2002, Garnaut launched the popular Live at the Glamour Bar, a stage for up-and-coming musical talents, and Incidental Sunday, a forum for cultural exchange that includes discussions, readings and performances. Garnaut has received many awards, including Entrepreneur of the Year in the 2003 International Woman of Influence Awards.

Morris Gleitzman has converted many children into avid readers. He worked as a paperboy, department store Santa Claus and chicken defroster before becoming a scriptwriter of TV's The Norman Gunston Show. He wrote feature film screenplays and films for TV, including The Other Facts of Life (1987), from which his first book was developed. His subsequent book, Two Weeks With The Queen (1989), was an international best-seller. He has written more than 20 books since; Doubting Thomas is his latest title. Gleitzman is also a columnist and has written regularly for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Romesh Gunesekera was born in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, and he grew up there and in the Philippines before moving to Britain in 1971. His first novel, Reef (1994), was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and for the Guardian Fiction Prize. Before that, his first collection of stories, Monkfish Moon (1992), was named a New York Times Notable Book for 1993. In 1998, Gunesekera received the inaugural BBC Asia Award for Achievement in Writing & Literature for his novel The Sandglass. In 2004, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His latest book, The Match (2006), is a psychological thriller.

Charles Foran is an award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster and a committee member of the Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival. His books include Carolan's Farewell, Kitchen Music, Butterfly Lovers, House on Fire and the non-fictional works Sketches in Winter: A Beijing Postscript, The Story of My Life (So Far) and The Last House of Ulster: A Family in Belfast, which was nominated for a Governor-General's Award and won the QSpell Award. Butterfly Lovers won the QSpell and Kitchen Music was a finalist for the Books in Canada First Novel Award. He has made radio documentaries for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and lives in Peterborough, Ontario.

Peter Gordon is founder of, founder and editor of The Asian Review of Books, publisher at Chameleon Press, a director of the Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival and chairman of the Russian Interest Group, Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce.

Alice Greenway lived the itinerant life of a foreign correspondent's child, moving from Thailand to Israel to Hong Kong to the US. She studied Chinese history at Yale University and returned to Hong Kong in 1986 as a journalist for the South China Morning Post. Her debut novel, White Ghost Girls (2006), is set in Hong Kong during the Vietnam War and tackles subjects such as war, communism and the end of innocence. The novel was long-listed for the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction. Greenway lives in Scotland.

Guo Xiaolu was born in a fishing village in southern China in 1973, and went to Beijing to study at the Film Academy. She is a writer and filmmaker. Her first novel to appear in the west, Village of Stone, won critical acclaim as an important export from China's younger literary scene. The semi-autobiography contrasts her childhood in a fishing village with a less trying but purposeless existence working in a video store in the Chinese capital. Her new book, A Concise English-Chinese Dictionary for Lovers, also has an autobiographical slant. The protagonist is a Chinese girl who moves to Britain without knowing the language so begins to write her own dictionary of love. Guo lives in London.

Baby Halder was born and raised in Murshidabad, in West Bengal. Abandoned by her mother at seven, she was married off at 12. After her husband attacked her with a rock for speaking to another man, she walked out with her three children and took a train to Delhi, where she started work as a cleaner. She worked in the home of Professor Prabodh Kumar, grandson of Prem Chand, a giant in the Hindi literary world. The professor noticed Halder's interest in his books and encouraged her to write. Last year, Halder completed a memoir, A Life Less Ordinary, in Hindi and Bengali, which became a best-seller in both languages. She lives in Delhi and is writing her second book.

Susanna Hoe was born in England and has lived in Kenya, Switzerland, Italy, Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong. Her first book was Lady in the Chamber (1971), a novel about the House of Commons. During her 10 years in Hong Kong, Hoe developed an interest in the relationship between western women and China. Her five books about women in the region include The Private Life of Old Hong Kong: Western Women in the British Colony, 1841-1941 and Watching the Flag Come Down: An Englishwoman in Hong Kong, 1987-97. She is working on a series of books under the banner 'Of Islands and Women', Madeira (2004) and Crete (2005) being part of the set. Hoe lives in Oxford, England.

Jam Ismail is a performance poet, and describes herself as a Hong Kong returnee who has 'kindergartened in Calcutta, B.A.'d in Pokfulam Road, studied in Edmonton, taught literature in Burnaby, sabbatical'd in Marble Arch, wintered in Valhalla, dyked across the Pacific, photographed 'Atlantis', and gardened in Kitsilano'. Her works include Sexions (1984), From Diction Air (1989), From Scared Texts (1991), Translit- (1997) and Perch (2001).

Alan Jefferies, an Australian born poet and children's author, has lived in Hong Kong since 1998. He has published five books of poems, but is probably best known for his children's book, The Crocodile Who Wanted to be Famous (2004), which is based on the life of Hong Kong's celebrity crocodile Pui Pui. Jefferies has published five books of poetry, his most recent being Homage and other poems (2006).

Susan Jung is the food and wine editor for the South China Morning Post. Born in California to a family of food lovers, Jung began to cook for herself when she left home for the University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in English literature. She pursued her love of cooking in San Francisco, New York and then Hong Kong. She helped open a wholesale bakery and two restaurants. She joined the Post full-time on handover day - July 1, 1997.

Daniel Hall is the author of the poetry collections Hermit with Landscape and Strange Relation. The former was included in the Yale Series of Younger Poets and the latter in the National Poetry Series in 1996. Hall has received awards and fellowships from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Whiting Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 1992-93 he spent a year in Asia on the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship. He is writer-in-residence at Amherst College in the US.

Viki Holmes began writing in Cardiff, Wales, as part of the Happy Demon poetry collective. Her work has been published in Wales, England, Tasmania and Hong Kong. Holmes' poetry has appeared in the anthologies The Pterodactyl's Wing: Welsh World Poetry and Seren Selections. She was twice a finalist in the John Tripp Awards for Spoken Poetry, and was runner-up in Hong Kong's inaugural Poetry Slam. A student of English literature, the Welsh language and Middle Egyptian, she teaches English in a Buddhist kindergarten. Her writing focuses on desire, music and memory.

Uzodinma Iweala was born to Nigerian parents in Washington DC in 1982. He entered Harvard University, where he was a Mellon Mays Scholar and recipient of several prizes for writing. Beasts of No Nation, his outstanding debut novel, was published shortly after he graduated from university in 2004. The book has been translated into eight languages, won four major 'first fiction' awards in the US, and in Britain it was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the James Tate Black Memorial Prize. Iweala is working on a non-fiction book about the impact of HIV/Aids in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ed Jocelyn moved to England from Australia at the age of five. After obtaining a PhD in history, he went on to work for a variety of newspapers and magazines in Beijing. Together with Andrew McEwan, he embarked on a project to preserve and record the personal oral histories of the survivors of the Long March. They set off from Yudu, Jiangxi, on October 16, 2002 to retrace the rugged route of the historic event of the 1930s. Their journey took 384 days, and The Long March was published in 2005.

MARYSIA JUSZCZAKIEWICZ gained a degree in Mandarin at Durham University, England, before working at a variety of publishers. She now runs a Hong Kong-based literary agency, Creative Work, representing many top-selling writers in China.

Madhur Jaffrey (See page1, Review)