LOVE: A Reading
jointly organised by
Cha and Bleak House Books
Date: Friday 17 September 2021
Time: 7:30 pm
Venue: Bleak House Books
Speakers: Oliver Farry, Ting Guo,
Heidi Huang, Jason S Polley,
Ilaria Maria Sala, Michael O’Sullivan,
Chris Song, & Lian-Hee Wee
Moderator: Tammy Lai-Ming Ho

Bleak House Books, established in 2017

What is love? It might be two bodies entwined, two hands enclasped. It might be being pushed in a chair through city traffic, by an indulgent parent or a dutiful child. It might be hanging around that little longer than need be when a friend is out of sorts or has taken a call telling them something they don’t want to hear. Or it might simply be a walk home through your neighbourhood late at night alone, your cheeks reddened by a few pints, enough to make you realise you wouldn’t ever want to live anywhere else.

Love carries many flavours—the banal, the spectacular, the sacred, the profane, the official, the illicit. It pushes us to do things we might not otherwise go through with, for better or worse. It can leave you a-tingle and can sicken you to your maw. Its objects are the obvious and the unexpected, man and beast, earthly and heavenly, inanimate and geographic.

Love might be fleeting or deceptive, or last only as long as the lover or loved is with us. But love for some people is immortal, just as fame and notoriety are for others. Its elegance is always roughly hewn, a rushed, it’ll-do job, patched together in the haste to make the most of the moment. And yet its lustre remains undimmed, at once mundane and familiar, and a mystery to others. Love is all.

Bleak House Books and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal jointly presented LOVE: A Reading. Please click the link below to learn about the eight featured readers and their selected text(s).

Introduction by Tammy Lai-Ming Ho [Short speech]

Oliver Farry [Bio & Reading material]
Ting Guo [Bio & Reading material]
Heidi Huang [Bio & Reading material]
Michael O’Sullivan [Bio & Reading material]
Jason S Polley [Bio & Reading material]
Ilaria Maria Sala [Bio & Reading material]
Chris Song [Bio & Reading material]
Lian-Hee Wee [Bio & Reading material]

I Don’t Have a Poem to Read:
My Personal Reply to Our Lovely Readers, Here and Afar—an excerpt


If there’s one thing Hong Kong has taught me during the few years I’ve lived and had the bookshop here, it is that I now know what is possible. What’s possible that is good, and what’s possible that is bad. I would like to think that this bookshop represents the former—that is, the possible of what is good. 

Even though I might be the person people think of when they think of Bleak House Books, I am not the sole reason the bookshop is what it is today. What you see here tonight and what we have all seen happen since I announced that Bleak House Books would be closing—the messages, the crowds, the tears—is a reflection of something very human and very fundamental. Some might call it love. Some might call it defiance. Some might call it art. But whatever it is exactly it is something that we created and nurtured together, as family, as friends, as a community. And it is good. We all know that, in our minds and in our hearts. And no one can ever take that away from us. No one. 

  • The full video of the event is HERE.
  • What did some people say about Bleak House Books? Click HERE to read some responses.
  • Some photographs from the evening can be found HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Bleak House Books, Friday 17 September 2021