OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
She holds an MA in Literature from the University of Hong Kong and a diploma in Arts Management from City University, London, UK. A published editor and writer, she loves to read, has a strong track record in arts management in the UK, in Singapore and Hong Kong, and a keen interest in cultural leadership and arts spaces.
Julia teaches and researches in the area of nineteenth-century English literature and culture. Her special interests are in popular fiction and China-related travel writing, in the Victorian era and beyond. Julia was a Director of the Asian Literary Prize and is currently on the management team of the Arts Faculty, with responsibilities for Teaching and Learning.
She leads the FT’s Asia Pacific commercial operations in Hong Kong where she has an extensive network of personal and professional contacts. She is a former senior correspondent for the FT and a keen supporter of the arts and literary events in Hong Kong.
She is a UK pharmacy graduate qualified to practise in both UK and Hong Kong. Prior to relocating back to Hong Kong in 1994, Winnie worked in various managerial roles in retail pharmacy until establishing her own business in London. She has been involved in community service in London (Standing Joint Committee, Barnet Local Pharmaceutical Committee) and Hong Kong (Honorary Secretary of the Pharmaceutical Society of Hong Kong, Dispensing Practice Standards Subcommittee (Chair), Cub Scout Leader (32nd Silver Jubilee District).
Qualified as a barrister-at-law in the UK (1985) and Hong Kong (1986), Christine worked in litigation, corporate and commercial law in London, Hong Kong and Tokyo before relocating to Hong Kong in 1994.
Simon Westcott grew up in London, and after 15 years in Melbourne now calls Hong Kong home. Educated at Oxford and in the US, he was Co-Founder of Mr & Mrs Smith Asia Pacific and former global publisher and director of Lonely Planet group where he achieved pivotal success in taking the business online.
He is recent Chairman of Australia’s premier contemporary theatre company, Malthouse Theatre, and a past board member of contemporary dance company, Chunky Move and the Castlemaine State Festival. He has also sat on the board of advocacy group Get Up! and is an alumnus of the Williamson Community Leadership Program in Victoria. He is currently a founding member of the revived PEN Hong Kong Executive Committee and has recently joined the Board of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival.
Simon’s adventures over the past few years have included travelling to Sikkim, Cambodia, Singapore, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Argentina, the United States, Austria, France, Spain, Switzerland and of course the United Kingdom.
A. C Grayling is the Master of the New College of the Humanities, London, and its Professor of Philosophy, and the author is over thirty books of philosophy, biography, history of ideas, and essays. He is a columnist for Prospect magazine, and was for a number of years a columnist on the Guardian and Times. He has contributed to many leading newspapers in the UK, US and Australia, and to BBC radios 4, 3, 2 and the World Service, for which he did the annual ‘Exchanges at the Frontier’ series; and he has often appeared on television. He has twice been a judge on the Booker Prize, in 2015 serving as the Chair of the judging panel. He is a Vice President of the British Humanist Association, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature., Cambridge University, UK; PhD (Comparative Literature) University of Warwick, UK.
Otto Heim is an Associate Professor in the School of English at the University of Hong Kong, where he teaches literature. Originally from Switzerland, he has lived in Hong Kong since 2001. With a long-standing interest in postcolonial literature, his research focuses primarily on writing from the Pacific region, or Oceania, particularly in poetry and the theatre. He is especially interested in the role of literature in shaping the life of communities and forging connections between the local and the global. He has organized several interdisciplinary conferences at HKU, most recently the international conference on Island Cities and Urban Archipelagos in March 2016.
When not working his day job as special needs literacy specialist he runs Peel Street Poetry, a weekly open mic night. His poetry has appeared in numerous publications including Time Out Magazine, East Lit and Sound & Rhyme. For his contribution the local poetry scene he won the 2015 HKELD Heart Award and was named their Artist of the Month for September. In 2016 he published his first collection of poetry entitled ‘Irreverent Poetry for Pretentious People’ which won a supplementary award in the Proverse Prize (2015).
Jo Lusby is the managing director of Penguin China and General Manager of Penguin North Asia. Before joining Penguin China, she was editor-in-chief of English language magazines and custom publishing at Swiss publishing group Ringier for five years. She has lived in China for the past fourteen years.
Jennie Orchard, with strong links to the non-profit world and to women’s organisations. She was formerly the inaugural Development Director for Room to Read Australasia, raising millions of dollars to fund literacy initiatives and promote gender equality through education for children in ten developing countries in Asia and Africa. She currently divides her time between Sydney and Hong Kong and continues to be involved in a range of non-profit commitments.
James Shea is the author of two poetry collections, The Lost Novel and Star in the Eye. Star in the Eye was selected for the Fence Modern Poets Series and included in the Poetry Society of America’s New American Poets series. His poems have appeared in various anthologies including The New Census: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry and Isn’t It Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger American Poets. A former Fulbright Scholar in Hong Kong, he is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Humanities and Creative Writing at Hong Kong Baptist University.
Jeffrey Wasserstrom is the author of five books, including China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (2010 and 2013 editions) and Eight Juxtapositions: China through Imperfect Analogies from Mark Twain to Manchukuo, published this year as a Penguin Special. He has edited or co-edited several other books, including The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China, also just out in 2016. He is a frequent contributor to newspapers (The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, etc.), magazines (e.g., TIME), and literary reviews (The Times Literary Supplement, Asian Review of Books, and Los Angeles Review of Books, for which he serves as an advising editor). He is Chancellor’s Professor of History at the University of California at Irvine, where he also serves as Historical Writing Mentor for the Literary Journalism Program and holds a courtesy appointment in the Law School. He has been visiting Hong Kong regularly since 1987 and is a past participant in the HKILF.
Kate Whitehead holds a BA in Literature (Warwick University) and a Masters in Literature (Sussex University). The author of two Hong Kong crime books – After Suzie and Hong Kong Murders – she was on staff at the Hong Kong Standard and the South China Morning Post and then as editor of Cathay Pacific’s inflight magazine Discovery. She is now a freelance journalist and over the last three years has written for many international media outlets, including Acumen, BBC Travel, CNN, Forbes, Publishing Perspectives, Time, Travel & Leisure and Women’s Wear Daily. She also writes for local publications, chiefly the SCMP. www.hongkongkate.com
Xu Xi 許素細 is author of eleven books, including the novel That Man In Our Lives (C&R Press, September 2016) and Interruptions (Hong Kong University Museum & Art Gallery, September 2016), a collaborative ekphrastic essay collection in conversation with photography by David Clarke. She is also editor of four anthologies of Hong Kong literature in English. Forthcoming books include a memoir Elegy for HK (Penguin China/Australia, 2017) and Insignificance: Stories of Hong Kong (Signal 8 Press, 2018). She is co-founder, with Robin Hemley, of Authors at Large offering international writing retreats and workshops. A Chinese-Indonesian Hong Kong native and U.S. citizen, she currently lives between New York and Hong Kong. Follow her @xuxiwriter on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn.