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Hong Kong Literature Festival opens with variety of programmes

"Literary arts" can be found in every impact of our daily life. The Sixth Hong Kong Literature Festival opens today (June 30) with a wide range of lively activities including an exhibition tracing the development of Hong Kong's literary publishing, sale of interesting literary books, symposiums, interactive programmes with renowned writers, translation talks, interpretation of literature with live performances of dance, drama , music and literary film shows.

Jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Hong Kong Development Council to promote reading and local literature, the festival will run from today (June 30) to July 16 with more than 40 interactive literary activities and most of them at the Hong Kong Central Library.

The theme of this year's festival is "Living the Literary Life" to encourage people to enjoy reading and writing in everyday life.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Chairman of the Committee on Libraries, Professor John Leong Chi-yan pointed out that the value of literature was not just about its practical benefits of enlightening our minds and stimulating our creativity or its nurturing functions of development our artistic disposition and nourishing our souls.

He said that literature originated in life and was closely related to our daily experience. As such, literary appreciation could enhance our understanding and knowledge of life while literary creation cultivated our sensitivity and reflection towards it.

Far from being restricted to the form of written work, literary creation existed everywhere, he added.

The festival features a wide range of activities targeted at revealing the multiplicity of literature from different aspects of life. "Diet in Literature Writing Competition" encourages entrants to extract creative ideas from their dining experience while the eight sessions of "Dialogue with Creators" provide a relaxing environment for participants to discuss with various talents on slang culture, media language, advertisement, popular lyrics, Chinese and English Literature, net literature, couplet and riddle and columns in newspapers.

The Chairman of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, Mr Ma Fung-kwok said the inspiration of most literary works came from life itself, and paradoxically people brought classic and contemporary works to life through readings and discussions of literary texts.

"Literary appreciation is a life-enriching experience that expands our horizon of knowledge, inspires our thinking and lets our imagination run wild."

Prizes were also presented today to the winners of the three pre-festival competitions: "Literary Book cover Design Competition", "Literary Performance Competition for Students” and the "Diet in Literature Writing Competition".

One of the festival highlights is the “Thematic Exhibition on Hong Kong Literary Publishing and Literary Book Fair” held from today to July 12 at the Hong Kong Central Library showcasing the development and achievements of Hong Kong literary publishing.

The exhibits include Jin Yong's first editions of "Legend of the Condor Heroes" and "The Smiling Proud Wanderer" and the first edition of many literature magazines as well as manuscripts of various authors. Also on display and on sale at the book fair is a range of literary collections from 17 local publishers and book stores.

Not to be missed are the talks on literary translation featuring on "Chinese Translation of English Poetry" held on July 2; “Three Topics on Literary Translation: Should or should not, Can or cannot, good or not good" held on July 9 and "Translation of Hong Kong Literature (from Chinese to English)" on July 16. With everyday life examples, the speakers will discuss vividly in Cantonese and English the basic technique in translation. All sessions are held from 2.30pm to 4.30pm at the Activity Room 1 of Hong Kong Central Library.

A series of six "Literary Talks will also be held with more than 10 authors of the set reference texts and books in the secondary school curriculum of Chinese language and Literature to share with students and teachers their experiences and insights on creative writing.

Writers and scholars including Professor Yip Wai-lim from the United States, Professor Wong Wan-chi from Singapore, Professor Chen Zi-shan from Shanghai, Dr Wong Leung-wo, Professor Chung Ling and Professor Cheng Pei-kai from Hong Kong will share their views in the symposiums entitled "Hong Kong Literature: Local and Cross-Cultural Consciousness".

There are also activities to cultivate interest in reading and developing thinking skills in the younger generation. A "Children’s Literature Reading Camp", a "Workshop for appreciation and Recitation of Literary Works for Children” will be held.

Another highlight for the family to enjoy is arts performances from various performing groups. Children's literature, poems and other works of writers will be interpreted in drama, music, dance and Cantonese opera, with innovative ideas to give a new dimension to literature.

To support the festival, the Hong Kong Film Archive has also organised "The Sword and the Sabre: a Jin Yong Novel on film" screening four films (Cantonese and Mandarin versions) adapted from Jin Yong’s famous novel.

All activities, except the film shows and "Children's Literature Reading Camp" 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 website:

Enquiries can be made at 2921 2662 (LCSD) or 2820 1032 (HKADC).

Ends/Friday, June 30, 2006

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