Cha Writing Workshop Series

In partnership with the Hong Kong Poetry Festival Foundation (香港詩歌節基金會), we have started the Cha Writing Workshop Series, organised by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming and Eddie Tay. The series, which aims to provide workshops for local school children, as well as economically and socially disadvantaged groups, is also supported by the English Departments at The Chinese University of Hong Kong 香港中文大學 and Hong Kong Baptist University 香港浸會大學. It features workshops conducted by writers, translators and educators affiliated with Cha, who may also give talks on literature, language, writing, craft, and more.
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We are starting modestly, with plans for one or two workshops to be held at the end of every month (beginning from January 2018). If there is demand for this, we plan to expand and take this directly to local schools, and to venues in various parts of Hong Kong.
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We are starting small, but we are nonetheless dreaming big. The contributors and editors at Cha do dream a lot. We start the Cha Writing Workshop Series because we want to make a difference. We’re interested in building a platform where readers and writers can gather, and where the love of literary and creative arts can find safe haven.
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If you would like to suggest an idea, contact our mentors, or simply to talk to us about the Cha Writing Workshop Series, please write to Eddie Tay (eddie@asiancha.com) and/or Tammy Ho (t@asiancha.com).
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Click here to see a list of past and future workshops. And click here to read about our past workshops.
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(Header image: Hong Kong Lucida)
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Our Workshop Mentors_Cha.
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Tammy Ho Lai-Ming copyTammy Ho Lai-Ming is the founding co-editor of Cha, the vice president of PEN Hong Kong, the English editor of Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine, and an associate professor at Hong Kong Baptist University with books forthcoming from Delere Press, Math Paper Press, Palgrave and Springer. She is also an editor of the academic journals Victorian Network and Hong Kong Studies and has edited or co-edited eight volumes of poetry, fiction and essays, including Desde Hong Kong (2014), Quixotica: Poems East of La Mancha (2016), We, Now, Here, There, Together (2017), and Twin Cities (2017). In 2015-2016, she co-directed the Hong Kong Budding Poets Award Programme (in collaboration with the Education Bureau and the Academy of Gifted Education). Tammy’s translations have been published in World Literature TodayChinese Literature TodayDrunken Boat and Pathlight and by the Chinese University Press. She is a winner of the Young Artist Award in Literary Arts, presented by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, and her first poetry collection is Hula Hooping (2015). Visit her website for more information. (Photograph by Sha’ianne Molas Lawas)
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Tammy: At Hong Kong Baptist University, I teach drama, poetics, and fiction. I have run poetry workshops for college-level students in Hong Kong and younger students in Macau. I am interested in leading poetry and/or translation workshops for all age groups, and particularly for learners who are often overlooked by other projects or programmes.
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Henrik Hoeg is a Danish poet living in Hong Kong. He has published his poetry in numerous places including Cha, Magma, TimeOut and more. His first book, Irreverent Poems for Pretentious People was an awardee of the Proverse Prize 2015, and published the following year. He has taught poetry workshops at several international schools as well as the Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education. He also runs and emcees Peel Street Poetry, Hong Kong’s largest poetry open mic.
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Henrik: I’m happy to teach any age, but will probably resonate most with older kids.
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Antony Huen has published poems, book reviews, and essays in Cha, The Shanghai Literary ReviewEborakon, and elsewhere. He is one of Eyewear Publishing’s The Best New British and Irish Poets in 2017, and represented the anthology at the Cúirt International Festival of Literature. As a PhD researcher at the University of York, he investigates contemporary autobiographical and biographical poetry in relation to visual art. He has six years of teaching experience, and has taught creative writing, modern and contemporary literature, and academic research skills to secondary school and university students in both Hong Kong and the UK. 
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Antony: I have years of experience in designing courses, teaching, and running workshops. Teaching at the Chinese University of Hong Kong for three years, I designed and taught a creative writing course, and taught a wide range of academic writing courses. Now studying at the University of York, I teach a modern literature module, serve as a senior tutor at the Writing Centre, and run academic research workshops for prospective university students. Given my experience, I would be interested in teaching secondary school and college students in Hong Kong. Having taught IELTS preparation courses to adults for a year, I am also confident in teaching members of the public as well. 
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Canadian poet Akin Jeje lives in Hong Kong. His first full-length poetry collection, Smoked Pearl: Poems of Hong Kong and Beyond, was long-listed for the 2009 International Proverse Prize, and published by Proverse Hong Kong in 2010. His most recent publications, “Reach” and “Wasted”, were in the special #WRITERSRESIST edition of Hong Kong’s Voice and Verse Poetry Magazine in 2017. He is currently at work on another full-length poetry collection tentatively entitled Never Land. Jeje is a regular performer at Hong Kong’s Poetry OutLoud Hong Kong, one of the previous MCs of  Peel Street Poetry, and now one of its three directors.

Akin: As a long-time educator, I am open to teaching secondary school students as well as primary students how to express themselves through creative writing. Specifically, I would like to host workshops where students can create performance and spoken word poetry, for them to be able to embody their works, and to understand creative writing and poetry in English as fun and creative vehicles for self-expression. In fact, I have run poetry seminars for secondary school students, and teach simple poetry to both my own primary school students as well as other students in the city, and welcome the opportunity to do so with Cha.

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[READ Jason’s reflections on his Cha workshops here.]

Jason Y. Ng is a bestselling author, news columnist, and adjunct law professor at the University of Hong Kong. He is the President of PEN Hong Kong, the local chapter of PEN International which promotes literature and defends the freedom of expression around the world. For years, Ng has been an outspoken advocate for the rights of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, writing extensively about the challenges they face and working with support groups including Enrich Hong Kong, Help for Domestic Workers, the Wimler Foundation and Pathfinders Hong Kong. For more, visit www.jasonyng.com.

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Collier Nogues poetry collections are The Ground I Stand On Is Not My Ground (Drunken Boat, 2015) and On the Other Side, Blue (Four Way, 2011). Her work has been supported by fellowships and grants from the MacDowell Colony, the Ucross Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, and Lingnan University. She teaches creative writing in the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s MA Programme in Literary Studies, and is a PhD Fellow at the University of Hong Kong. Collier has designed and led Education Bureau workshops for Hong Kong English teachers, and has led creative writing workshops for Hong Kong primary and secondary students and for adults in the United States. She also edits poetry for Juked and curates Ragged Claws, Hong Kong’s English-medium poetry craft talk series.
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Collier: Often, schools treat creative writing in English as something that only students who are already fluent in the language can or should do. On the contrary, I’ve found that creative writing, particularly poetry and storytelling, can help students develop a sense of ownership of English that they don’t always gain from their grammar and reading lessons. I enjoy working with all ages, from primary students to adults, and I am particularly glad to work with students in Band 2 and 3 schools and other people who are infrequently served by Education Bureau programming and other initiatives. 
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Originally from Ireland, Michael O’Sullivan is an Associate Professor teaching at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is also an editor of Hong Kong Studies, the first academic journal devoted entirely to Hong Kong. Michael has published 10 books, the most recent being Academic Barbarism, Universities and Inequality, and he has two new books coming out in 2018—all mainly written in an academic style on philosophy, literary studies and education studies. He has also published poems in Cha, Desde Hong Kong: Poets in Conversation with Octavio Paz, Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine, Quixotica: Poems East of La Mancha, Asian Signature and a personal essay in PEN Hong Kong’s anthology, Hong Kong 20/20: Reflections on a Borrowed Place. His new work tries to combine creative writing and archival research in looking at collective memory. 
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Michael: I taught at Christian Action in Hong Kong as a volunteer for about a year—mainly teaching asylum seekers—and I’d be very interested in providing workshops for underprivileged groups in Hong Kong and for students in Band 2 and Band 3 schools. I could offer to do workshops on basic English skills, email-writing, reading, writing and communication skills, CV-writing, research skills, essay-writing and also on creative writing and life-writing. I have taught these skills in the US, the UK and in Japan where I was a writing co-ordinator for 2-3 years. 
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Jason S Polley is associate professor of English at Hong Kong Baptist University. His research interests include post-WWII comics, postmodern literature, Anglo-Indian fiction, Hong Kong Studies, and creative nonfiction. He has published on women in Banville, slum ideology in District 9, race in The Greenlanders, official narratives in Watchmen, and “everyday justice” in Smiley, Franzen, and DeLillo. Aside from a handful of Hong Kong-published playful experimental poems about power, promise, and protest, he has two creative nonfiction books: a collection of India travel-narratives-in-verse titled Refrain and a Hong Kong drug-underworld-novella-in-verse titled Cemetery Miss You. He is co-editor of the forthcoming volume Cultural Conflict in Hong Kong: Angles on a Coherent Imaginary (Palgrave 2018), which contains his chapter on contemporary identity politics in Hong Kong as discursively reviewed through auteur director Wong Kar Wai’s early work. 
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Jason: My teaching career began almost two decades ago in primary school ESL classrooms both in Guangzhou and Hong Kong. I’d like to return to local early primary milieux. I hope to integrate the wordplay and jocoseriousness and care of verse and comics into local students’ early learning—and thinking and (self-)reflection. 
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kr.pngKate Shanghai 2014.jpg[READ Kate’s reflection(s) on her Cha workshop(s) here.]

In 2017, Kate Rogers poetry collection, Out of Place (Aeolus House–Quattro Books), has debuted in Toronto, Hong Kong and at the 2017 Singapore Writers Festival. Kate was shortlisted for the 2017 Montreal International Poetry Prize. Her poetry is forthcoming in Catherines, the Great (Oolichan) and has appeared in Twin Cities: An Anthology of Twin Cinema from Singapore and Hong Kong (Landmark Books, 2017); Juniper; OfZoos; The Guardian; Asia Literary Review; Cha; Morel; The Goose: a journal of Arts, Environment and Culture; Kyoto Journal and Asiatic: An International Journal of Asian Literatures, Cultures and Englishes. She lectures in literature and media studies at the Community College of City University.

Kate: I’ve spent eleven years developing language through literature with creative writing courses which reflect the diversity of Asian writers in English. At the Community College of City University students from many cultural backgrounds often connect with poetry for the first time through our literature courses. I would like to foster creative self-expression for youth from communities seeking a voice in Hong Kong.

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Ilaria Maria Sala is an award winning writer and journalist, with a long experience as an author of narrative non-fiction—in book form and for magazine and newspaper articles. Her writing has appeared in English on the New York Times, ChinaFiles, Quartz, and the Guardian, and many other publications. She has also been writing in French (Le Monde), in Italian (La Stampa, Una Città), and Spanish (El Periodico, EFE). She has taught various writing workshops, in Italy and Hong Kong (at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong), on feature writing and journaling (Udine Far East Festival and other literary events). Her books are collections of long features about Asia, popular religion, and everyday life.

Ilaria: I would be interested in teaching ALL levels and everyone.

dividerChris Song_Cha.pngChris Song.jpgChris Song was born in Guangdong China and is now based in Hong Kong. He is the Executive Director of the International Poetry Nights in Hong Kong, Editor-in-Chief of Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine《聲韻詩刊》, and Associate Series-editor of the Association of Stories in Macao (ASM). He was poet/translator in residence at Bundanon NSW (2010-2011). In 2013, he won Nosside International Poetry Prize (Italy), Extraordinary Mention. Chris has published two books of poems and twenty-some books of poetry translation. He currently works at the Centre for Humanities Research of Lingnan University as Assistant Editor of Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese, and is completing his part-time PhD in Translation Studies at the same university.

Chris: I am interested in leading Chinese-English poetry translation workshops for college-level students, especially for those who feel less confident in translating literary texts.

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Eddie Tay is a poet, street photographer and literature professor at the Department of English, Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he teaches courses on reading and writing poetry, children’s literature, autoethnography, photography and social media. He is the author of four volumes of poetry. His first, remnants (2001), consists of renditions of mythic and colonial history of Malaya as well as an homage to the Tang Dynasty poets Li Bai, Du Fu and Li He. His second volume, A Lover’s Soliloquy (2005), extends his interests in Tang Dynasty poetry through renditions of the poetry of Li Shang-yin. The volume is also about the modern cities of Hong Kong and Singapore. His third, The Mental Life of Cities, is a winner of the 2012 Singapore Literature Prize. In it, he experiments with bilingual (English-Chinese) poetry. His most recent collection is Dreaming Cities (2016), featuring his street photography and poetry. He is the Reviews Editor of Cha. He has conducted photography and creative writing workshops for primary and secondary school students, and has collaborated with NGOs such as the Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education. He has also conducted workshops for teachers on behalf of the Education Bureau.
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Eddie: While I could teach primary school students as well, I prefer to conduct workshops that combine street photography and creative writing elements for upper secondary students or adults.

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lhw.pngLian-Hee Wee.jpgLian-Hee Wee is (co-)author or (co-)editor of eight books and numerous research articles. His most notable publications include the monograph Phonological Tone (Cambridge University Press, to appear) and the journal article “Tone Assignment in Hong Kong English” published in Language (2016). Lian-Hee’s work unravels patterns in Chinese languages as well as Asian varieties of English such as those spoken in Singapore and Hong Kong. He taught at the Department of Chinese Studies at the National University of Singapore and is now Professor of Linguistics at the Hong Kong Baptist University. He is the founding director of Bilingual Improv Brigade which is probably the world’s first Chinese-English bilingual Improv Comedy Group. He dabbles with music, poetry, and animal activism.

Lian-Hee: I focus on finding the natural and authentic voice of the individual for expressive speech and writing. This can be done through creative activities that include improvisation and theatrical games. I can run workshops in English, Cantonese and Putonghua.

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Marco Yan is a Hong Kong-born poet, whose works recently appeared in Diode Poetry Journal, the Adroit Journal, Louisville Review and more. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the University of Hong Kong and a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry from New York University. Visit Marco’s website for more information.

Marco: When it comes to leading workshops, I particularly enjoy guiding writers to generate raw materials for potential poems, understand prosody and the use of structure and form, and edit and revise their current works. I am willing to teach any age groups, but I do have more experience teaching high-school and college students. 

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