6 – 12 March 2023. When I took on the role of festival manager at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival in September 2022, little did I realise what an enriching, yet challenging life experience it would be.

In six fast and furious short months, our small team – working always in collaboration with a vast network of similarly-minded book lovers and readers – pulled together a literary extravaganza for the first fully in-person literary festival in Hong Kong since the pandemic started. The stars were fully aligned as we played host to literary luminaries, children’s authors, historians, journalists, essayists, poets and illustrators: Shehan Karunatilaka, Emily St John Mandel, Pico Iyer, Dung Kai Cheung, Wong Yi, Jonathan Kaufman, Candy Gourlay, David A. Robertson, Christopher Cheng and Petr Horacek, to name but a few. Our ambitious programme unfolded on the same week as the Young Readers Festival, making it a literary celebration to remember for everyone involved: speakers, moderators, sponsors, partners, volunteers and of course, our wonderful audiences. Highlights included moderating two sessions (one with Pico Iyer, and another with Pico, Emily St John Mandel and Jim Hildebrandt) as family and friends sat in the audience, and working with the most tenacious, committed and passionate team of book lovers on the planet.

Posted in Poetry

Imprint 21

Published by Women in Publishing Society Hong Kong.

Poetry, vignettes and visual art for adult readers. In this edition of the annual anthology of creative works by women in Hong Kong are poems (“Her Song”), musings (“We Used to Be Here”), photography (“Temple Wishes and Temple Joss”) and drawings (“Covid Mandala”).

Copies are available at local bookstores in Hong Kong.


1 March 2023. I had the pleasure of being part of a panel moderated by Dr Anitha Devi Pillai with fellow author Babitha Justin and generously hosted by the National Reading Movement of Singapore about our short stories that appear in the teen anthology, Tapestry of Colours, Vol. 1 (published by Marshall Cavendish). Grateful for the opportunity to talk about a very personal incident during my year-long exchange in Tokyo, Japan over 30 years ago, and to Dr Anitha Devi Pillai for giving my voice a space in her wonderful anthology. Click here to watch the panel discussion in its entirety.


2 – 5 February 2023. I was invited to attend the Global Association of Literary Festivals’ conference and Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai, UAE as the representative from the Hong Kong International Literary Festival. It was an eye-opening experience, a wonderful opportunity to learn from an incredible cast of experienced, passionate and dedicated festival directors from all over the world. I was also able to meet and listen to some of my favourite authors and poets in the flesh!


12 November 2022. Following on from a reading in KL on 29 October 2022 organised by Sharon Bakar of Readings KL, I had the privilege of being in conversation with Malaysian literary novelist, Preeta Samarasan at an event in our hometown of Ipoh, generously hosted by Peter Bucher and The Sharpened Word, a local literary organization. Moderated by Aida Nazeri and Dr. Paul GnanaSelvam, our conversation took place in a gorgeously restored heritage building on 22 Hale Street. I revisited my prose poem, Life We Can No Longer See, first published by online literary journal, Cha in 2019 while Preeta shared her latest riveting work, Tale of the Dreamer’s Son, published by World Editions in 2022.

The conversation was particularly memorable as it was attended by our respective parents, our secondary school English teacher, and was our first literary appearance in our beloved childhood town. The local press teaser can be found here.


1 July 2022. SCBWI announced the results of the Ann Whitford Paul – Writer’s Digest Manuscript Award 2022 for the most promising picture book writers and my unpublished picture book manuscript, The Magic in Ming’s Hands, received an honorable mention – out of nearly 900 submissions – from the respected picture book doyenne herself! The announcement, together with a brief description of my manuscript, as well as those of the winners, can be found here.


12 May 2022. The results of the annual UK WriteMentor Novel and Picture Book Awards for unagented and unpublished writers were announced in a live ceremony. Imagine the shock when judges Clare Wallace and Lydia Silver chose – out of over 1,000 entries – my picture book text, The Magic in Ming’s Hands and Aoife Doyle’s novel, The Music Weaver’s Call as the winners! I feel such immense gratitude to Stuart White, the founder of WriteMentor, and his team as well as the kidlit writerly community for inspiring, encouraging and supporting kidlit creators everywhere. The replay of the awards ceremony can be seen on YouTube here. It was worth staying up until 2 a.m. for!

Stories That Stay With Us

Looking for a book that will make you unintentionally snort out your breakfast? Clutch your chest in despair? Keep you up into the wee hours of the morning? Change your mind, teach you something new, make you remember something you’d forgotten? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

I have always loved children’s books: when I was a child myself and more recently, when I had children of my own. Living in Hong Kong however, has meant we don’t have access to the same wide and varied range of English language books as you’d find in North American or European bookshops. In particular, I find myself constantly despairing at the lack of diverse reads and translated world literature in local bestseller and popular book lists. This sorry state of affairs prompted me to start a book review blog in 2018.

On Stories That Stay With Us, my two children and I regularly post our honest reviews of English language children’s books that we have read, individually or together, and loved. We cover all genres – classic and contemporary, wordless and wordful, quirky and contemplative, prose and poetry, graphic novels and chapter books. We try to be as inclusive, eclectic and wide-ranging as possible as our goal is to recommend age-appropriate, non-mainstream storybooks to all readers: children, parents, educators and librarians alike. Our reviews are also driven by my own personal ambition, to read and review as many well-written, authentic and thoughtful books about and set in Asian cultures as possible, books where Asia is not just a setting or a plot device or a tourist attraction. Asia is a place where people live, and love, and are happy, not just a place that everyone wants to escape from.

Most importantly, the stories we blog about must be so compelling that they affect us, provoke a reaction from us in some way, and remain with us, like the memories of the worst and best days of our lives.

Above are some of the books we’ve previously reviewed. You can click on the links on the covers to read the the full reviews.

The universe of children’s book is vast and we know there are still many, many books out there that we have not yet discovered, that we need to read and rave about, so if you know of a book that we haven’t reviewed but we should, please do get in touch. If you’d like to sign up for notifications of new posts on our book review blog, you can sign up here.

Read, read, and keep reading. There is no better way to become yourself.