Books aren't boring

By Karly Cox

Pop along to this month's reading festival, where words will be brought to life

By Karly Cox |

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This year marks the third Hong Kong International Young Readers Festival, a celebration of books, authors, and the joy reading brings. Targeting everyone from first-year primary school students to early teens, the festival attracts authors of children's and young adult books. It offers students an opportunity to learn from them.

This year, authors include Morris Gleitzman, an Australian writer known for tackling difficult subjects with humour; Alan Gibbons, a British author twice shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal; Singaporean daughter-and-mother team, Lesley-Anne Tan and Monica Lim, who co-wrote a comic-book-style adventure; and Hongkongers, including writer and journalist Reenita Malhotra Hora and poet Jennifer Wong.

There will be more than simple meet-and-greets or book-signing events. The festival will include a series of talks and workshops on writing skills. (Don't worry, you can pick up copies of the authors' books and get them signed, too!)

Here are our top picks from the festival.

Fiction Fantasia

When: March 16, 11.30am
Where: Cyberport
Cost: HK$150

Alan Gibbons has made a name for himself with his fantasy stories, winning a "book I couldn't put down" award for Shadow of the Minotaur, a book inspired by the classic Greek legend. He'll explain how to develop plot and character in your own stories. Get ready to start writing!

How I Got My Mom a Life & a Man

When: March 16, 5pm
Where: Cyberport
Cost: HK$60 (HK$120 for adults)

RTHK radio host Reenita Malhotra Hora discusses the concepts, events and people that inspired her first YA novel, Operation Mom. Perhaps her experiences will give you ideas on how to convert your seeds of ideas into full-blown stories.

Becoming a Writer - panel discussion

When: March 15, 2pm
Where: Cyberport
Cost: free

Chinese International School student Anna Ginsburg, Singaporean student Lesley-Anne Tan and Jennifer Wong will share their experiences of being published at a young age, and of finding inspiration after your work has appeared in bookshops.

City of Myths

When: March 21, 4.30pm
Where: Hong Kong Central Library
Cost: $150

Poet Jennifer Wong wants to help you see the poetry in everyday scenes. Hong Kong has lots of myths, and a rich and varied culture, all of which can inspire your writing.

Imagination in Daily Life

When: March 16 & 17, 4.30pm
Where: Hong Kong Central Library
Cost: HK$180

Morris Gleitzman has written about everything from world war two and cancer, to football and step-parents. There are stories in every aspect of life, and Gleitzman has ways of helping you find them, write about them and share them.

Blasting through Writer's Block

When: March 13, 4.30pm
Where: Hong Kong Central Library
Cost: HK$150

Ever been writing something for school and felt as if your brain has just stopped? Everyone gets writer's block, even professionals who can only pay their bills if they get words on the page. Australian fantasy writer Kate Forsyth will reveal some tricks that will come in handy the next time you're lost for words.

All events can be booked at For more info, visit:

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