Hong Kong's literary festival adds food and music to its repertoire


Literature lovers will be able to indulge all five senses when the 12th Hong Kong International Literary Festival introduces food and music to its repertoire.

From October 5 to 14, visitors can expect martini evenings, rock'n'roll nights, food seminars and cooking displays, while they worm through their favourite classics.

"We are always trying something new," said festival manager Isabella Lim. "This city loves food and music, so why not incorporate them into the festival?"

Apart from prize-winning authors and poets, this year's festival will also feature food writers, chefs as well as musicians.

The headliners include: Tracy Griffith, author of , who is one of the world's first certified female sushi chefs and a sister of Hollywood actress Melanie Griffith; Fuchsia Dunlop, the fluent Mandarin-speaking English writer who penned , as well as books on the food of Hunan and Sichuan , where she studied professional Chinese cooking; and New York-based Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, who wrote the memoir .

The trio will be the stars of "Three Authors Abroad", one of more than 50 events ranging from poetry readings to comedy shows on the 10-day festival programme.

Although food and music are designated as this year's theme, Lim maintains that the festival will stay true to its literary roots.

"It's getting bigger every year and we always need fresh ideas," she said. "But the main focus will never steer away from good literature and quality writers."

The festival, which has been rated as among the best literary festivals by Travel Wire Asia, has always resonated with Hong Kong's cosmopolitan society, having hosted authors from around the world, such as British writer Tarquin Hall, and Indian essayist Pankaj Mishra.

Lim said next year's theme was likely to be European literature.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Food, music to liven all senses at literary fest