'Pioneer' writer Xu Xi and Irish master Colm Toibin among stars at literary festival

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 August, 2012, 4:35am

Booklovers will be able to indulge themselves when the Hong Kong International Literary Festival begins in October. For the highlight of the city's literary calendar, the organisers hosted a preview of the programme at Bistro 1979 restaurant.

The literary stars at last Thursday's luncheon included Xu Xi, who The New York Times hailed as a "pioneer writer from Asia in English", and English novelist Justin Hill, who has been thrice nominated for the Man Booker Prize.

Readers will have several opportunities to have an audience with Hill during the festival. He'll be hosting multiple talks and a wine dinner, where he'll share details of his soon-to-be-released trilogy.

The nine-day festival, which comprises more than 50 events, will run from October 5 to 14. It will bring together the likes of acclaimed Irish writer and poet Colm Toibin, Narcopolis author Jeet Thayil, as well as Izzeldin Abuelaish, who penned I Shall Not Hate and set up the Daughters for Life Foundation, earning him a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2010.

Fans of poetry slam will get to see a performance by Luka Lesson, an Australian national poetry champion, and readings by playwright Simon Wu and Financial Times columnist Heather McGregor, better known as Mrs Moneypenny.

Founded in 2001, the festival celebrates English-language writing with a focus on Asian connections. Tickets are available at