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5th Hong Kong Literature Festival opens with variety of programmes

"Literary arts" can be fun and are in fact a part of daily life. In addition to interpretation through the publication of books, literary work scan be integrated with other media like performances, recitation or films.

Jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC), the 5th Hong Kong Literature Festival will run from today (July 2) until July 18. The festival offers more than 30 interesting and interactive programmes including a thematic exhibition, literary film shows, symposiums, literature talks, dialogue with creators, interflows, translation workshops, youth literary camp and arts performances.

Speaking at the opening ceremony today (July 2), the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Ms Anissa Wong pointed out that with "New Vision of Literature" as the theme this year, the festival aimed to explore the meaning and function of Hong Kong literary arts in the new era.

"Hong Kong literary arts are characterised by an integration of different cultures and media. They display vitality and a style of modernity with rich substances and a strong local flavour. We hope that the great diversity of activities to be held during the Literature Festival will serve to inspire all of us to explore the meaning and function of Hong Kong literary arts in the new era, and at the same time reposition the way forward and create a new vision of literature," she said.

The Chairman of HKADC, Dr Darwin Chen said that the popularity of internet had given rise to a new opportunity for literary development in Hong Kong and enabled many newly emerging writers to release their works at an extremely low cost thus increasing the number of readers through interactive dialogues.

He added that to arouse the interest of younger generation in literary appreciation, they could be exposed to outstanding literary works in different media and different art forms.

One of the festival highlights is the "Thematic Exhibition - Portraits of Hong Kong Writers", which features more than 160 portraits of Hong Kong's writers, their works, manuscripts, literary supplements and periodicals. Divided into eight sections, the exhibition also features well-known local writers such as Jin Yong, Lo Wai Luen, Liu Yi Chang, Lee Yee, Eileen Chang, Leung Ping Kwan, Chu Pu Sun, Xi Xi and others, with emphasis on their contributions to local literary development.

More than 10 writers and scholars from the Mainland and Hong Kong will host three symposiums to discuss the development of literature under the themes of "Education and Values in Life", "Social Reality and Concern" and "Literary Arts and Life".

There will also be a series of "Literary Talk", a "Dialogue with Creators" and a "Translation Workshop" for writers, academia and artists to share with audiences on literary education, creative evolution, reading, writing and translation techniques.

The "Interflow" sessions, organised by the local arts groups, will have interactive programmes including the "Seminar on Newspaper Supplements and Cultural Education", the "Secondary School Poetry Competition and Multi-media Recitation" and a session entitled "Vision in Multi-media Metropolitan Culture".

Many of the literary works have been adapted into movies. This year, four literary films including, "Father Takes a Bride", "Garden of Repose", "The Splendor of Youth" and "Sunrise", which are based on the works of Eileen Chang, Ba Jin, Zheng Hui, Cao Yu, will be shown at the Hong Kong Space Museum on July 10 and 11. Tickets priced at $30 are available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients.

Another highlight is "Arts Performance" executed by various performing groups. Children's literature, well-known poems and works of writers will be interpreted in drama, music, dance and Cantonese opera, to give a new dimension to literature.

In addition, a three-day youth literary camp will be jointly organised by the LCSD, Radio Television Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Institute of Education to encourage youngsters to learn creative writing and literary works in a relaxed atmosphere through guidance from authors and campsite activities.

Three competitions, the "Literary Performance Competition for Students", "Writing Competition" and the "Postcard Design Competition", were held as the pre-festival activities to encourage youths to try different types of literary writing. The winning pieces will be displayed on the festival's website.

All activities (except the "Youth Literary Camp" and "Literary Film Appreciation") of the Festival are free of charge.

Festival booklets are available at all public libraries, cultural venues of the LCSD and the administration office of HKADC. For more details, see the website: . Enquiries can be made at 2921 2648 (LCSD) or 2820 1017 (HKADC).

Ends/Friday, July 2, 2004
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