Bringing the World of Literature to Hong Kong: The International Literary Festival

Reading Time: 3 minutesThis year the Hong Kong International Literary Festival (HKILF) and the Young Readers Festival (YRF) will be held at the same time to create one big megafest of reading! While schools are abuzz with author visits, you’ll be able to head out to your own talks, panels and guided walks with local and international authors, or take your children along to some of the public family events.

Events for Adults

Weds 8 March

Sri Lankan author, Shehan Karunatilaka, winner of the Booker Prize 2022, will talk about his highly- acclaimed historical-ghostly-whodunit, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, his catapult to rock-stardom and how life has changed since winning the prize.

Fri 10 March

Award-winning essayist and novelist, Pico Iyer, discusses his latest luminous offering, The Half Known Life, where he takes readers on a thought-provoking, insightful, and ultimately hopeful, journey through competing ideas of paradise, from Iran to Australia, Sri Lanka to Jerusalem.

Sat 11 March

The author of Kingdom of Characters, Jing Tsu, will discuss her highly- acclaimed historical non-fiction work about how the drive and passion of Chinese visionaries helped modernise the Chinese language over the last century. The book was long-listed for the Baillie Gifford prize 2022.

Sun 12 March

Acclaimed and best-selling essayist and writer, Emily St. John Mandel, will share the inspirations for her beguiling, luminous speculative fiction novels, including her latest, Sea of Tranquility. She’ll also share her experience of seeing her novel, Station Eleven, adapted for the small screen.

Sun 12 March

Join Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and writer, Jonathan Kaufman, as he talks about his well-researched and highly readable novel, The Last Kings of Shanghai, which tells the epic, multigenerational story of two rival dynasties – the Sassoons and the Kadoories. Eve

Events for Older Teens and Young Adults

Sat 11 March

Daphne Lee (Bright Landscapes) explores ghostly themes with Malaysian fantasy writer Zen Cho (Black Water Sister), American novelist Violet Kupersmith (Build Your House Around My Body) and Japanese children’s author Sachiko Kashiwaba (Temple Alley Summer).

Sat 11 March

Canadian writer David A Robertson (The Theory of Crows), Filipino British children’s author Candy Gourlay (Bone Talk), and Malaysian novelist Preeta Samarasan (Tale of the Dreamer’s Son) converse with Dr. Jason Eng Hun Lee (Beds in the East) about reconciliations with historical wrongdoings of humanity.

Sat 11 March

Join Hong Kong teens and bookstagrammers Ema Poposka (IG: emabookclub) and Amelia Tan (IG: readsbyamelia) as they chat with young adult writer Axie Oh (The Girl Who
Fell Beneath the Sea)
and debut adult writer Sue Lynn Tan (The Daughter of the Moon Goddess) about their novels inspired by folklore and fantasy.

Events for the Family

Sat 11 March

Prolific Japanese author, Sachiko Kashiwaba, will discuss her award- winning fantasy novel, Temple Alley Summer, with her translator, Avery Udagawa. They’ll describe how writers work with translators, and Sachiko san will share why everyone – adults included – should read Japanese children’s literature.

Sat 11 March

Join Lindsay Varty, author of the best selling book, Sunset Survivors, on an exclusive walking tour through the streets of Hong Kong. Along the way, Lindsay recounts intriguing stories about the lives of craftsmen, market workers and gangsters, and how they have seen their lives and businesses change.

Sun 12 March

Record two-time prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal winner Emily Gravett will read 10 Dogs. Participating children will then be given paper, templates, felt tips and coloured pencils to design their own dog. Emily will round off with a reading of 10 Cats. For Ages 3-6. Must be accompanied by a parent.

This year’s programme will run from 6-12 March 2023 at venues across the city. Visit for details.

Young Readers Festival (YRF)

Authors Visiting Schools
Emily Gravett, Petr Horacek, David A. Robertson, Zeno Sworder, Jaimal Yogis, Candy Gourlay, Christopher Cheng, Ritu Hemanani, Lindsay Varty, Bhakti Mathur, Erica Lyons, Rachel Ip, Sarah Suk, Sophia Hotung, Zeno Sworder, Oliver Phommavanh, Charmian Woodhouse, Vivian Truong, Axie Oh, Christina Matula, Katie & Kevin Tsang, Weng Wai Chan, Maureen Tai, Sachiko Kashiwaba & Avery Fischer Udagawa, Michelle Fung, Paul

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Stay up-to-date with all the latest news, views and giveaways in Hong Kong