Hong Kong Book Fair 2017 - Sara Wheeler, Sophie Hannah and Tim Moore

British writers' events at Hong Kong Book Fair 2017

From Sara Wheeler’s adventure in Antarctic to Tim Moore’s travel riding across Europe on a bicycle, and from Sophie Hannah’s rewriting of Agatha Christie’s legendary detective characters to her poetry work on modern marriage and everyday experiences, the British writers’ events organised by the British Council and the partners during the Hong Kong Book Fair 2017 were well received. Scroll down and view the events by clicking on the videos links below. 

Access All Areas: In conversation with Sara Wheeler

Co-organised by the British Council and Hong Kong Trade Development Council

Date: Friday, 21 July 2017
Time: 19.00 - 20.30
Venue: Room S222-223, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wanchai
Speaker: Sara Wheeler (United Kingdom)
Moderator: Kate Whitehead 
Conducted in English

What’s the point of travel writing? Sara Wheeler talks about the genre – including her heroes and villains – and makes a case for the value of travel writing in the literary canon. Critics like to say that travel writing is dead, now that we’ve been everywhere – and after all we’re not far short of package tours to the moon. But Wheeler disagrees, and will tell you why. She ends her talk with an illustrated jog through an extended trip over many months she made to the Arctic – some years after she had written her bestselling book about the other Pole, Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica.  Wheeler looks forward to taking your questions!  

Click here to watch the event recap online.

Travel Writing Workshop by Sara Wheeler (Cultural July programme)

Co-organised by the British Council, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Hong Kong Trade Development Council

Date: Saturday, 22 July 2017
Time: 15.30- 17.30
Venue: Room N101, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon
Conducted in English

Come with a paper, pen and an open mind! Sara Wheeler will lead a travel writing  workshop exploring place, emotion, personal roots, and how to channel those into writing. 

The Travel Rider: In conversation with Tim Moore   

Co-organised by the British Council and Hong Kong Trade Development Council

Date: Saturday, 22 July 2017
Time: 18.00- 19.30
Venue: Room S222-223, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wanchai
Speaker: Tim Moore (United Kingdom)
Moderator: Antony J. Chan, British Council, Hong Kong
Conducted in English

From a vintage Rolls-Royce to a donkey, British travel writer Tim Moore has explored the full spectrum of transport options in his quest for adventure and a good story. Yet it’s the humble bicycle that has served him best, providing the basis for three of his books – including the most recent, in which he rode down the entire 9,000km length of the former Iron Curtain, on an old East German shopping bike. What is it about this everyman conveyance that lends itself to such grandiose undertakings, and the telling of a good tale? And what is it about Tim Moore that keeps luring him back to the long-distance saddle, in defiance of every voice of reason and the ageing process? 

Click here to watch the event recap online. 

Transcending Boundaries: A panel discussion with Sara Wheeler, Tim Moore and Chip Tsao 

Please note that due to the Tropical Cyclone Signal No. 8, the panel discussion at Hong Kong Book Fair at 11.30am today (23 July) will be cancelled.

Co-organised by the British Council and Hong Kong Trade Development Council

Date: Sunday, 23 July 2017
Time: 11.30 - 13.00
Venue: Room S222-223, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wanchai
Speaker: Sara Wheeler (United Kingdom), Tim Moore (United Kingdom), Chip Tsao (Hong Kong)
Conducted in English

Contemporary travel narratives are more than a way to explore place, otherness, belonging and home. What accounts for their continued appeal? Is there a longing for a nostalgic experience that calls for adventure? Is it a need to discover or escape? Does travel writing express something we rarely see addressed in other forms of writing? Moderated by Chip Tsao, and joined by British travel writers Sara Wheeler and Tim Moore, the panel discussion will help familiarise readers with the various forms of travel literature and explore why contemporary travel writing continues to provoke wide interest across the world.  

Taking on Hercule Poirot: In Conversation with Sophie Hannah

Co-organised by the British Council and Hong Kong Trade Development Council

Date: Monday, 24 July 2017
Time: 19.00 - 20.30
Venue: Room S222-223, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wanchai
Speaker: Sophie Hannah (United Kingdom)
Moderator: Linda Kennedy
Language: English

A conversation with internationally bestselling crime fiction writer Sophie Hannah, Sophie will talk about her brand new Hercule Poirot mysteries Closed Casket and The Monogram Murders, share with the readers the inspiration for and experience of continuing Queen of Crime Agatha Christie's most popular detective character, and shed a light on the art of crime fiction in the modern literary world.

Click here to watch the event recap online.

A poetry night with Sophie Hannah 

Co-organised by the British Council and Hong Kong Writers Circle

Date: Tuesday, 25 July 2017
Time: 19.30 - 20.30
Venue: British Council, Room 401-2, 4/F., 3 Supreme Court Road, Admiralty
Speaker: Sophie Hannah (United Kingdom)
Moderator: SCC Overton
Conducted in English

Poetry reading and conversation with Sophie Hannah: internationally acclaimed novelist and one of Britain's best-loved poets. Sophie will read from her collection ‘Marrying the Ugly Millionaire’ – a droll yet disarming exploration of modern marriage and everyday experiences – and will talk about her life and inspiration when writing in the space between poetry and crime fiction. Sophie will be in conversation with SCC Overton of Hong Kong Writers Circle.

Click here to watch the event recap online. 

An Afternoon with Sophie Hannah on contemporary crime fiction (Cultural July programme)

Co-organised by the British Council, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Hong Kong Trade Development Council

Date: Wednesday, 26 July 2017
Time: 14.30 - 15.30
Venue: Room N101, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon
Speaker: Sophie Hannah (United Kingdom)
Conducted in English

What makes a crime novel successful? Critically acclaimed as ‘the Queen of modern crime fiction’, Sophie Hannah will take the audience on an imaginative journey from the British ‘Golden Age’ to the contemporary world of crime fiction. Sophie will also share snippets from her new Hercule Poirot mysteries and discuss what makes great crime fiction.

About the writers

Sara Wheeler

Sara Wheeler is a prize-winning non-fiction writer. Her books include the international bestseller Terra Incognita, which tells the story of a seven-month journey in Antarctica. The Daily Telegraph reviewer wrote of it, ‘I do not think there will ever be a better book written about the Antarctic.’ Other books include The Magnetic North: Notes from the Arctic Circle (winner of the Banff Adventure Travel Prize), and Access All Areas: Selected Writings, 1990-2010. Sara is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Contributing Editor of The Literary Review and a Trustee of The London Library. She contributes to a wide range of publications in the UK and US and broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio.

Sophie Hannah

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling crime fiction writer. Her crime novels have been translated into 34 languages and published in 51 countries. Her psychological thriller The Carrier won the Specsavers National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year in 2013. In 2014 and 2016, Sophie published The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket, the first new Hercule Poirot mysteries since Agatha Christie's death, both of which were national and international bestsellers. Sophie’s novels The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives have been adapted for television as Case Sensitive, starring Olivia Williams and Darren Boyd. Sophie is also a bestselling poet who has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE and A-level throughout the UK.  Sophie is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. She lives in Cambridge with her husband, two children and dog.

Tim Moore

Tim Moore is the author of nine travelogues, two of which have been serialised for BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week, and was named Travel Writer of the Year at the 2004 UK Press Awards. He has walked 500 miles across Spain with only a donkey for company (Spanish Steps), roamed the continent from Liverpool to Lisbon to track down the Eurovision contestants who suffered the entertainment world's prime humiliation (Nul Points), sort-of conquered the Tour de France on a diet of ProPlus (caffeine tablets) and rosé wine (French Revolutions), and ridden the 3,200km route of the notorious 1914 Giro d’Italia, handicapped by a century-old, wooden-wheeled bicycle and an unbelievably daft period outfit (Gironimo!).  Most recently, in defiance of the ageing process and every pleading dictate of basic reason, he undertook a cycling odyssey more ambitious – and more silly – than both of those combined, riding 8,500km from the Arctic to the Black Sea on an East German shopping bike. Somehow, he still lives in London.   

About the moderators

Linda Kennedy

Linda Kennedy is a broadcaster and columnist. In Asia since 2009, she has presented cultural perspectives for BBC TV, radio and online, hosted panel discussions and interviewed leading figures for TVB, and written many columns, from ‘Pink Parking Spaces for Women – really, China?’ to ‘How Many Calories in a Goosestep?’ – the People’s Liberation Army’s new online workout.  

Kate Whitehead

Kate Whitehead is a Hong Kong-based journalist, and holds a BA in Literature (Warwick University) and an MA in Literature (Sussex University). The author of two Hong Kong crime books - After Suzie and Hong Kong Murders - she was on staff at the South China Morning Post and then editor of Cathay Pacific's inflight magazine Discovery. She is now a freelance journalist, and over the last three years has reported from North Korea, Myanmar, China, Peru, Ecuador and Antarctica as well as covering local stories.

SCC Overton

SCC Overton is chair of the Hong Kong Writers Circle, where he oversees the group's activities and supports the editors of the annual anthology. He has edited several previous collections himself. He also produces the HKWC podcast, where he interviews authors and publishers from the Hong Kong literary scene. He writes science fiction and – more recently – produces video essays and other content for YouTube. He has lived in Hong Kong since 2008.

About the co-organiser

Hong Kong Writer Circle


For almost 25 years, the Hong Kong Writers Circle has been a stalwart of Hong Kong’s literary scene, creating an environment in which writers develop their skills and hone their craft, while increasing their knowledge of the publishing industry with the support of the peers. Our members come from all corners of the globe and range from published professionals to the aspiring amateur. Our aim is to provide a career path for developing writers through our workshops, our critique groups, our annual anthologies and our network.


The British Council and Hong Kong Writers Circle co-produced a special podcast series for Hong Kong Book Fair 2017. Listen to the podcasts and get a taste of the terrain of the writing life through the lens of the UK writers HERE

See also

External links