Thursday 03 July 2014


UK writers Peter Suart and Susan Barker to share creative journeys with the Hong Kong community

As the long-standing partner of the HKTDC Hong Kong Book Fair and UK’s international organisation of cultural relations, the British Council will be bringing two UK writers, Peter Suart and Susan Barker, to the show’s 25th edition for a series of dialogues to highlight the UK’s diverse culture, creativity and innovation to the audiences in Hong Kong.

(1) Buried Treasure in Children’s Literature – A Dialogue with Peter Suart

Date: 19 July 2014 (Saturday)
Time:11.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. 
Venue: Meeting Room S222-223, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wan Chai
Moderator: May Fung Mei-wah (Independent art and culture worker and Chair, Art & Culture Outreach)
Language: English
Remarks: Suitable for adult and teenage readers

Having lived his life in Hong Kong and in England, Peter Suart works as an illustrator, writer, musician, theatrical performer, and speaker. As the illustrator of the Tik and Tok books, Peter will discuss the idea of presenting philosophical ideas in a way designed to be approachable by children, and stimulating to adults, which is also a tradition in British children books. During his dialogue with May Fung Mei-wah, Peter will also share his experience as a multi-disciplinary artist.

(2) The Incarnations - Writing between East and West

Date: 20 July 2014 (Sunday)
Time:11.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.
Venue: Meeting Room S426-7, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wan Chai 
Moderator: Juliana Liu (BBC News Hong Kong Correspondent)
Language: English

British novelist Susan Barker will introduce her new novel The Incarnations, which moves between modern and imperial-era China. The novel features a taxi driver in contemporary Beijing and interwoven with tales from the Tang Dynasty, the invasion of Genghis Khan, the Ming Dynasty, the Opium War, and the Cultural Revolution. Barker will talk about moving from the UK to Beijing in 2007 to research and write the novel, as well as the challenges of writing from other cultural perspectives.

Mugwump —Peter Suart on books, illustration and memory

While in Hong Kong, Peter Suart will also engage in a series of community programmes to showcase his works in a diverse range of art forms to the Hong Kong public and creative community, with content drawing on many fields of enquiry: history, science, religion, and human story. Peter describes himself with the word ‘mugwump’, which comes from a Native American Algonquian word, meaning an independent person with no political or ideological affiliation. The word signifies Peter being a person whose mind is independent and deeply curious takes pleasure in working in different fields, seeing connections and differences across disparate areas of endeavour. Details of the events are as follows:

(1) Rosebud: memory and visual language in a Hong Kong childhood

Date: 20 July 2014 (Sunday)
Time: 1.30 p.m. - 3.00 p.m. 
Venue: 4/F, Comix Home Base, 7 Mallory Street, Wan Chai
Language: Cantonese, with English
Remarks: Suitable for adults and teenagers.

The objects we encounter when very young play a large role in shaping our visual vocabulary and our taste in colour and form. This taste can be developed or over-ridden in adulthood, but it often remains potent, particularly in the life of a visual artist. A doll, a bicycle, an ornament can become talismanic in a most mysterious way, as does the Rosebud sledge in the film Citizen Kane. These are the sensory impressions that shaped us as we emerged from the self-world of the infant into the distinguished self and world of the child.

In this slide talk Peter Suart will look at objects, images and people from his childhood in Hong Kong in the 60s and 70s -  coloured children's building blocks and a blind musician in the Botanical Gardens - and relate stories associated with them. For this event, Suart has especially created illustrations of these objects.

(2) The Book Beautiful - Peter Suart's Work for The Folio Society

Date: 20 July 2014 (Sunday)
Time: 4.30 p.m. – 6.00 p.m. 
Venue: The Bookshop, Room H303, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central
Language: English

Peter Suart has illustrated many books for The Folio Society, a UK publisher best known for publishing books with exceptional typography, illustrations, paper and bindings. In this sharing session, Peter will reveal the workings of this unique organisation, show slides of his work, discuss the process of illustrating a book and his insights on nurturing creativity, and will look at some of the ideas in these famous books.

The above events are free of charge. For details and registration, please visit

Notes to Editor

About Peter Suart

Peter Suart has lived his life in Hong Kong and in England, working as an illustrator, writer, musician, theatrical performer, and speaker. His illustrated Tik and Tok books, philosophical adventures for children and adults, are published by MCCM in Hong Kong, and he illustrates classic fiction for the Folio Society in London, recent titles including Gulliver's Travels and Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The Hong Kong musical ensemble 'the box', which Suart and Kung Chi Shing formed in 1987, will be presenting a new music theatre work in the near future. Suart's seventh one-man theatre performance is now in preparation.

About Susan Barker

Susan Barker grew up in east London. She studied philosophy at the University of Leeds and creative writing at the University of Manchester. She is the author of the novels Sayonara Bar (2005) and The Orientalist and the Ghost (2008), both published by Doubleday (UK) and longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. Her third novel The Incarnations (Doubleday, July 2014) is about a taxi driver in contemporary Beijing and interwoven with tales from the Tang Dynasty, the invasion of Genghis Khan, the Ming Dynasty, the Opium War, and the Cultural Revolution. 

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. 

We work in more than 100 countries and our 7,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the Arts and delivering education and society programmes. In Hong Kong, we have been doing this since 1948, giving people opportunities to learn, share and connect worldwide.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publically-funded grant-in-aid provides less than 25 per cent of our turnover, which last year was £781m. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.