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Hong Kong International Literary Festival 2021: The Rebound Edition

5 November 2021 - 15 November 2021


The Hong Kong International Literary Festival (HKILF) announces the full programme for their 21st Festival entitled the ‘Rebound’ edition. The hybrid Festival will offer 75 live, livestreamed and virtual events featuring a wide range of international and local Hong Kong authors and speakers. The main Festival Weekend will take place from 11 to 14 November, with concurrent live and hybrid events at Asia Society, The Fringe Club, and Tai Kwun.

Tickets are now on sale to the public and full event details are available on the HKILF website.

Entitled The Rebound Edition, the programme highlights themes of resilience, recovery, wellness and mental health that have become critically relevant in today’s world, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. This year’s Festival aims to celebrate the many ways people have been thriving during these difficult times, whilst also acknowledging the challenging toll they have taken. The Festival illustration has been designed by Hong Kong artist Don Mak to reflect the power of reading to provide comfort, companionship, escape and stimulation, which is explored in myriad ways by the Festival’s authors and speakers.

Of 75 events on offer, more than 50 can be attended in-person and over half can be viewed online.
Virtual and partner events from 5-10 November range from wine tasting with Master of Wine Jeannie Cho Lee and walking tours of WWII sites led by Philip Cracknell, to online talks showcasing contemporary Asian fiction on 6-7 November.

During the main Festival Weekend (11-14 November), members of the public are invited to hear from a diverse range of international and local authors. Headline fiction authors include Amor Towles, Paula Hawkins, Damon Galgut, Xiaolu Guo, Caryl Phillips, Gianrico Carofiglio, Naoise Dolan and Kit Fan. The Festival will also spotlight Asian fiction from South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and more, as well as new writing from Hong Kong. Non-fiction highlights include Wildland: The Making of America’s Fury by Evan Osnos, Heavy Light – A journey through madness, mania and healing by Horatio Clare, Empireland: How Imperialism has Shaped Modern Britain by Sathnam Sanghera, and Italian journalist Francesca Borri livestreaming from Afghanistan.

Featured books and speakers will explore themes such as mental health, living in quarantine or lockdown and work-life balance, as well as celebrations of food, wine, humour, the natural world, history and heritage. More Than a Label: This is Our Story is a new book from local mental health charity Mind HK which hopes to influence the public’s perception towards people with diagnosable mental health conditions. Kate Whitehead moderates a panel of local experts who weigh up the impacts of Hong Kong’s 21 day quarantine requirement on mental health,  Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley present their timely book that track the history and future of quarantine around the globe. The FT’s Chief Features Writer Henry Mance discusses his book, How to Love Animals in a Human Shaped World with Jill Robinson, Founder and CEO of Moon Bear rehabilitation organisation, Animals Asia, and Adam Francis introduces his Field Guide to the Snakes of Hong Kong. Alternative approaches to storytelling are represented by SCMP cartoonist Harry Harrison and comedian Vivek Mahbubani as they discuss building a career out of making people laugh, and the creators behind four of Hong Kong’s most popular podcasts with #impact Podcast host Regina Larko, Cissy Radford (In the Changing Room), Emergy Fung (Awkward Turtle At Work) and the team of KELY Support Group (This Hong Kong Life).

In addition to an online Festival Pass, Venue Passes make it easy to spend a day experiencing a day experiencing a full range of events at one of the festival’s main venues. This year’s edition will include twenty events free of charge, and ticketed online events costing HK$50 and live events from HK$100 to HK$150, with workshops and walking tours priced separately, offering a range of options for all
book lovers.


The Hong Kong International Literary Festival (HKILF) inspires the joy of reading by bringing the world’s writers and stories to Hong Kong’s diverse communities. A dynamic year-round programme and an annual festival in November offer dialogue, entertainment and perspective, while the Young Readers Festival in the spring motivates young people to engage with all aspects of the written word, improving English language skills and nurturing an informed global outlook.

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