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2021 IWW Literary Festival: Humanity and the Planet

IWW Literary Festival 2021 Humanity and the Planet

We are living in an age when human activity is the dominant influence on the climate and the environment. This year's annual Literary Festival hosted by the International Writers' Workshop (IWW)  focuses on "Humanity and the Planet." Our festival events explore the various ways that writing can help us to re-imagine our actions in relation to life beyond humanity.

Our special guests include this year's Writers-in-Residence who will share their work and insights into these environmental issues. Please click this link to see their bio notes.

An archival e-booklet with the guest writers' selected works and the event highlights of the 2021 Literary Festival is now available! Please click here for the booklet.


Opening Conversation

  • Time: 19:30 - 21:00
  • Moderator: Mr. James Shea (Associate Director of IWW)
  • Panelists
    Cristina Sánchez-Andrade   x        Dr. Dorothy Tse
    (Spanish Fiction Writer)                                                    (Fiction Writer, Department of Humanities and Creative Writing)
    Gabriel Payares                       x        Mr. James Shea
    (Venezuelan Fiction Writer)                                            (Poet, Department of Humanities and Creative Writing)
    Anna Tolkacheva                    x        Dr. Jason Polley
    (Russian Poet)                                                                    (Poet, Department of English Language and Literature)
    Gili Haimovich                        x         Dr. Tammy Ho
    (Israeli Poet)                                                                         (Poet, Department of English Language and Literature)
    Vladimir Poleganov              x         Dr. Patrick Holland
    (Bulgarian Fiction Writer)                                                (Fiction Writer, Department of Humanities and Creative Writing)

  • HKBU writers will engage IWW's Writers-in-Residence in conversation and we will hear excerpts of work by each IWW writer.


Literary Reading

  • Time: 17:00 - 18:30
  • Moderator: Mr. David McKirdy (Poet)
  • Readers:
      Cristina Sánchez-Andrade
      Anna Tolkacheva
      Gili Haimovich
      Vladimir Poleganov
  • Listen to four international writers as they share their work. The writers will be joining us from Spain, Russia, Israel, and Bulgaria.

Panel Discussion on "What Literature Can Do in Surviving the Anthropocene"

  • Time: 20:00 - 21:30
  • Moderator: Dr. Catherine Hardie (Department of Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies)
  • Panelists:
      Gabriel Payares
      Gili Haimovich
      Ernest Ip, Chief Editor of Hong Kong journal Sample
  • This panel discussion explores the role of literature in understanding and living through the Anthropocene. How can writers help us to endure what we're doing to ourselves and the planet?

19 MARCH 2021 (FRIDAY)

Writing Workshop "Journey Back to the Seed" 

  • Time: 15:30 - 17:00
  • Workshop Instructor:  Cristina Sánchez-Andrade
  • To find interesting themes and characters, you don't have to look far. No matter what your experiences are, you can turn them into a magnificent literary text. You just have to know how to listen to your inner voice, let the underground river flow: imagination has no bones. From everyday life or from the abysses of childhood come the most valuable treasures, and often the characters that work best are those that the writer has had closest at hand: parents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts and uncles. For this workshop, the student will be asked to submit a 200-word self-portrait in advance according to three anticipated models (Borges, Éduard Levé and Cervantes). 

Panel Discussion on "A Brief Time on Earth: Writing Short Stories & Making Short Films"

  • Time: 20:00 - 21:30
  • Moderator: Dr. Tammy Ho (Poet, Department of English Language and Literature)
  • Panelists:
      Gabriel Payares
      Anna Tolkacheva
  • Join Venezuelan fiction writer Gabriel Payares and Russian new media poet Anna Tolkacheva as they discuss their use of short forms in fiction and video. What can a short story or short film do that a longer work cannot? Humans have lived on earth for only 1% of the planet's entire lifetime. Can shorter art forms offer any insights into humanity’s relatively brief existence on earth?


Writing Workshop "The Languages of the Non-Human" 

  • Time: 17:00 - 18:30
  • Workshop Instructor: Vladimir Poleganov
  • How do we give voice in fiction to viewpoints that are radically different from our own? What sort of descriptions can help us illuminate a character that is non-human? What does Nature's language look like in fiction? Can we write from an animal’s point of view? Can an entire world (a city, a planet) be a character in a story? The Bulgarian fiction writer will share his views on language in fiction writing.

Register Now

For inquiries, please contact or 3411-2510 or 3411-7173.

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