WRITING ACROSS CULTURES 2010 – Report
An Engagement with Ideas about Writing in the Academy and Teaching Writing in Asia
“Writing Across Cultures was like being thrown into a swimming pool of ideas,” wrote one of 90 writers from 19 countries who came to the Asia-Pacific Writing Partnership key 2010 event.
The two-day symposium in early March (2010) was hosted by The City University of Hong Kong and opened a door for writers from the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, India, China and beyond to meet other writers working in leading creative writing programs in Australia, Canada, the UK and USA. It also created a precedent for the establishment of writer exchange programs between attending universities enabling emerging writers to spend time in other writing programs. Papers from the symposium are available HERE.
The symposium was held in conjunction with the Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival so participants could take part in both events or go on to China for the Shanghai Literary Festival or Bookworm’s Literary Festival in Beijing. Everyone who attended Writing Across Cultures was invited to join local writers in Hong Kong at parties celebrating the festival’s 10th birthday.
The event was opened by the head of City’s U’s English Department, Kingsley Bolton. The first day, the keynote speaker was Robin Hemley, Director of the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa. His talk was followed by a roundtable on ‘Teaching Writing in the Academy’ led by ‘provocateurs’ Andrew Cowan (Director of the Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, UK), Catherine Cole (Chair of Creative Writing at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University), Nury Vittachi (who teaches storytelling skills at Hong Kong Polytechnic University), Alex Kuo (Writer-in-Residence & Professor of English at Washington State University) Jon Cook (Professor of English at the University of East Anglia) and Isagani Cruz (distinguished Philippine writer/teacher). Hong Kong writer and poet Leung Ping-Kwan and Indian poet Sharmistha Mohanty also read and spoke about their work.
The second day followed a similar format but focused on ‘Teaching Writing in Asia’. The featured writer-speakers were Marilyn Chin (who teaches poetry in the Master of Fine Arts at San Diego State University), Brian Castro (Chair of Creative Writing, University of Adelaide), Ouyang Yu (research fellow with University of Wollongong), Jose Dalisay (Professor of English and Creative Writing, University of the Philippines), Rukmini Bhaya Nair (Professor of Linguistics & English, Indian Institute of Technology), Dai Fan (Chair of English, Sun Yat-Sen University, China), Kim Cheng Boey (Senior Lecturer, University of Newcastle), Dinah R. Sianturi (De La Salle University, Philippines), Bernice Chauly (writer completing a PhD candidate University of Malaysia), and Hong Kong-based writers Justin Hill and Agnes Lam.
A small group of participants went on to Zhuhai, China, to work with students in a creative writing class conducted (in English) at Sun Yat-Sen University.
The day after the symposium the APWP met for its AGM and elected the 2010-2012 Board. The Partnership’s new Chair is Isagani Cruz. Bios of the new Board members and minutes of the meeting can be viewed on our website.
See our picture gallery for photos of the event.
We gratefully acknowledge the institutions that funded overseas participants to 'Writing Across Cultures', especially the generous assistance of the sympoisum host, The City University of Hong Kong. There's a link below to each of the institutions if you click the logos. The institutions funding writers were:
City University of Hong Kong - Robin Hemley, Marilyn Chin, Alex Kuo, Rukmini Baya Nair, Dai Fan & Jane Camens
De La Salle University (Manila) – Dinah Roma-Sianturi & Genevieve L. Asenjo
Far Eastern University, Manila (Philippines) – Judith (‘Jet’) Batin, Joshua Falsis, Erliza Infante, Elizabeth Olaso & Jamie An Lim
Flinders University (South Australia) – Jeri Kroll
Keio University (Japan) - Kyoko Yoshida
La Trobe University (Australia) – Susan Bradley Smith
Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival – Jose Dalisay
Mascara Literary Review/ Australia Council for the Arts - Maria Freij
Murdoch University (Western Australia) – Emily Sun
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (RMIT) – Catherine Cole
Sekolah Tinggi Bahasa Asing LIA (Jakarta) - Iwan "Bung Kelinci" Sulistiawan
Seoul Foreign School (Korea) - Brent Van Staalduinen
Temple University (Japan) - Mariko Nagai
Thammasat University (Bangkok) – Saneh Thongrin, Suriyan Panlay & Wichaya Pidchamook
The Book Council of Singapore – Regina Kuan
University of British Columbia - Ray Hsu
Universiti Brunei Darussalam (Brunei) - Zefri Ariff
University of Adelaide (South Australia) – Brian Castro
University of East Anglia (UK) – Jon Cook
University of Jammu (Jammu & Kashmir) - Anupama Vohra
University of Malaya (Kuala Lumpur) – Bernice Chauly
University of Western Australia (Perth) – Dennis Haskell & Brenda Walker
University of Wollongong (NSW, Australia) – Ouyang Yu
Writers’ Centre, Norwich (UK) – Andrew Cowan & Jill Dawson
Yunlin University of Science and Technology (Taiwan) - Hui-Ling (Jessie) Huang