Three of the distinguished literary artists from the Hong Kong International Literary Festival this month were on campus to speak to our students.
They were Chinese science fiction writer Chen Qiufan (Stanley), Canadian multidisciplinary Métis artist Moe Clark, and Australian Djapu writer Melanie Mununggur-Williams (scroll down for their profiles).
The Festival brings to Hong Kong some of the world’s best storytellers every year, providing an opportunity for students to meet them.
Chen Qiufan, also known as Stanley Chan, is a Chinese science fiction writer, columnist and scriptwriter. Born in 1981, Chen published his first story at the age of sixteen and has been consistently hailed as one of China’s leading modern science fiction writers since then. Chen’s short stories have won Taiwan’s Dragon Fantasy Award and China’s Galaxy and Nebula Awards, as well as the Best Short Form Award for the 2012 Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards for his short story The Fish of Lijiang. His works have been published in Fantasy & Science Fiction, MIT Technology Review, Invisible Planets, Interzone, and Lightspeed, as well as influential Chinese science fiction magazine Science Fiction World.
Originally published in 2013 in Chinese, Chen’s multi-award-winning debut novel The Waste Tide was recently released in English, translated by Hugo Award-winner Ken Liu, and is being translated to Spanish, German, Russian, Japanese and more. The Waste Tide tackles metaphysical ideas, alienation and the advent of technology, combining realism and allegory to present the duality of humans and machines.
Moe Clark is a Canadian multidisciplinary Métis artist, spoken word poet, educator, artistic producer and more. Her poems are layered sonic masterpieces, using tonal and lyrical resonances to enthrall audiences. Clark facilitates spoken word, written and looping pedal workshops for both youth and professionals, teaching in schools and Aboriginal communities. She has gone as far north as Iqaluit to offer intergenerational storytelling exchanges and as far south as Brazil to collaborate inter-culturally with the Tembe people. Focusing on accessibility and inclusivity, Clark encourages active dialogue, collaborative creation and performance.
As a performer and public speaker, Clark has appeared at multiple venues to present creative works transcending both borders and disciplines. She performed as Poet of Honour for the 2014 Canaian Festival of Spoken Word and for the Canadian Olympic Team at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London. She has also collaborated on numerous artistic projects, including directing the 10th Annual Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Montreal, Bird Messengers theatre performance with Émilie Monnet, and Back to Where My Heart Belongs Cree language songwriting project with Joseph Naytowhow and Cheryl L’Hirondelle. Clark incorporates gospel, soul, folk and spoken word to her poetry performances, making any session entertaining, alluring and riveting.
Melanie Mununggurr-Williams is a Djapu writer from Yirrkala in East Arnhem Land in Australia, and a proud wife and mother of two young children. She is a poet and the 2018 Australian Poetry Slam Champion for her poem I Run, becoming the first Aboriginal person to win the title. Over the past decade, Melanie has worked with families, young adults and children involved with juvenile justice and the department of children and families. More recently, she also works as a mentor for young Indigenous women in local school programs across the Northern Territory.
Mununggurr-Williams’s writing frequently focuses on themes of family, place and her identity as an Aboriginal woman. As a mother to a child with autism, she also uses her poetry to advocate for raising autism awareness. Her writing has won the 2018 Darwin Poetry Cup, and her short story Grey has been published in Anita Heiss’s Anthology Growing up Aboriginal in Australia. Her first poetry book will be published in 2020.