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Renowned UK Authors to Feature at Hong Kong Book Fair

July 5, 2017 Exhibitions No Comments Email Email

The 28th edition of the HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair will be held from 19 to 25 July at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). With the support of the British Council, the English Reading and Creative Writing Seminar Series will return, featuring three British authors: bestselling crime fiction writer Sophie Hannah, and travel writers Sara Wheeler and Tim Moore.

– Sophie Hannah: Recreating the Poirot classic

Ms Hannah started as a poetry writer, publishing her first poetry collection, The Hero and the Girl Next Door, in 1995. While fascinated with crime fiction since childhood, the writer did not publish her first crime novel, Little Face, until 2006. The book, about a mother who discovered her baby had been replaced, was well-received, selling more than 100,000 copies. She has since continued writing crime stories, with The Carrier winning Crime Thriller of the Year at the Specsavers National Book Awards in 2013. Two of her crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, were adapted for UK television as parts of the Case Sensitive series.

More recently, the bestselling author embarked on a challenge of writing a new series of Hercule Poirot novels at the request of the family and estate of Agatha Christie, the late world-renowned crime novelist who produced the original, popular Poirot murder mysteries, including the well-known Murder on the Orient Express, which has been adapted into several films. A Christie fan since her childhood, Ms Hannah published her first Hercule Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders, in 2014, which became a bestseller in more than 15 countries. In September 2016, her second Poirot novel, Closed Casket, was published and became an instant Sunday Times top 10 bestseller. Ms Hannah has been commissioned to write two more Poirot novels and is working on ideas for the next one, which will be published in September 2018. Ms Hannah is published in 32 languages and 51 territories.

– Sara Wheeler: Breaking myths about polar regions

Ms Wheeler, who studied Classics and Modern Languages at university, is enthusiastic about travelling, especially to remote places. In 1992, she published her first travel book about the Greek island of Evia, followed by another about Chile. In 1994, she visited the polar regions for the first time, spending seven months in Antarctica with scientists from the United States National Science Foundation. The experiences are recorded in her book Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica, which also reviewed past literature about the South Pole. The critically acclaimed work won rave reviews, including from the Daily Telegraph, which said: “I do not think there will ever be a better book on the Antarctic.”

Ms Wheeler subsequently visited the North Pole and published The Magnetic North: Travels in the Arctic, which earned her a Banff Adventure Travel Prize. In addition to travelogues, she also writes biographies, one of which is about Apsley Cherry-Garrard, a British explorer who visited the Antarctica as early as 1912. The author’s more recent work, O My America!: Second Acts in a New World, records the lives of six British women who travelled to America in the first half of the 19th century.

– Tim Moore: Alternative travels

Mr Moore’s journeys also thrill readers worldwide. His book Do Not Pass Go, published in 2002, tells the story of London by following the British Monopoly to traverse London’s streets, stations and landmarks from Old Kent Road to Mayfair.

Mr Moore loves travelling by bicycle. In 2014, he assembled a wooden-wheeled bicycle with century-old parts and rode the 3,200-kilometre route of the notorious 1914 Giro d’Italia bicycle race. The experience was documented in his book Gironimo!: Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy, in which the tough journey sounded full of fun.

Born during the Cold War period, Mr Moore was tremendously interested in the post-Berlin Wall world in his younger days. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he started cycling through the regions behind the Iron Curtain. He wrote about his journeys of over 10,000-kilometre in his book The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold.

In addition to hosting individual seminars, Mr Moore and Ms Wheeler will also have discussions with famous local literary critic Chip Tsao and share their insights in travelling and writing.

– Mark O’Neill to launch book on most influential foreigner in Qing China

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) has also invited Hong Kong-based journalist and writer Mark O’Neill to host a seminar at the Hong Kong Book Fair. Born in the United Kingdom, Mr O’Neill has lived in Hong Kong for nearly 40 years. Fluent in Putonghua with a vast knowledge of Chinese culture, he has worked as a correspondent for the South China Morning Post in Beijing and Shanghai. After launching his book on imperial palaces at last year’s Book Fair, Mr O’Neill will release his latest book, Ireland’s Imperial Mandarin: How Sir Robert Hart Became the Most Influential Foreigner in Qing China, at this year’s fair. The extensively-documented book details the life of Sir Robert Hart, who served a 48-year tenure as inspector general of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service during the Qing Dynasty, including how he was trusted by the Qing government and how he connected China with overseas countries. During the seminar, the author will share his writing experience.

Readers are welcome to visit the Hong Kong Book Fair website ( for more details and to sign up for the free seminars.

More English books at English Avenue

Apart from the seminar series, the English Avenue at this year’s Hong Kong Book Fair is expected to feature more than 30 publishers and booksellers, including Metrobooks, the Commercial Press (Hong Kong) and Popular Holdings, bringing readers a wide selection of English books. An exhibitor from Peru will also showcase the world’s smallest book, which is only 0.8 inches long.

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