Monday the 27th of February 2023

I was invited to present at Hon Wah College and when I walked in I was impressed by the size of their auditorium and more so when it began to fill up. It was the students’ first such gathering in three years, and mine too and I had an audience of 500 students.

Hon Wah College Hall

I started my presentation by showing the students where I got my inspiration for The Boat Race from after which we discussed writing techniques.

The Hall filling up

The Presentation

It was a real shame that my presentation at Hon Wah College was days before the mask rule changed. What a difference it has made to be able to see people’s faces. One smile can brighten up anybody’s day.

We talked about writing skills and what is needed to craft a good story. Showing your characters emotions is an important tool in writing. Show don’t tell being the manta most writers abide by. I had examples to give them for good endings and cliffhangers from my book The Boat Race.

Q&A time

There were some interesting questions by the students during Q&A. The first was why I chose to become an author when I had majored in Chemistry. Answering this question made me realise how fortunate I have been to be able to pursue my writing career as for many who are in full time jobs it is just a dream. It is not always easy to give time to your creative side and explore it but at a certain stage in my life I was able to do just that and I have not looked back.

I was asked if I would consider writing other books other than story books such as non-fiction books and travel guides. I told them that I already do. On my website I often write about my travel. I have written different genres for the HKWC anthology including horror and am currently working on an adult fiction.

The most interesting question that every author must be asked at some point in their career is what they would do if if they got writer’s block. For most writers this is a regular occurrence. What I personally do is I remember that it is temporary and I walk away. I do something completely different, go for a walk, meet my friends, have an adventure and when I am back with a fresh mind, ideas will flow. I also have a notebook to jot down ideas and if I am really stuck that is what I turn to.

Book display in the library

Book signing in the library

With Vice Principal Caroline Wong

My parting thoughts

Principal Kwan Wing Bun and Vice Principal Caroline Wong were extremely respectful and appreciative. I was awarded the school flag on stage. Stella and Cherry made my visit seamless and I had interesting discussions with them regarding English lessons at school. It was heartwarming to see the hall full of students after what we have been through in the last few years. The students were excited to hear about the animals and watch the Africa video.

One of my themes for the presentation was to show the students that the recent award winning authors have something in common. English is not their first language. Some write in English and some get their work translated.

As Chinua Achebe, the renowned Nigerian author says:

•Non native writers are expanding the frontiers of English. Shaping and growing the language to describe their cultures, making valuable lasting contributions to literature.

•Without these pioneers English would be far less rich, diverse and colourful.

My message to the students was that they should not let language limit their ability to tell a story.

The students questions were well thought of and I came away wishing I could converse with them for longer and hear their thoughts about writing.

I would like to thank HKWC for organising my visit and Hon Wah College for inviting me to their school and I look forward to seeing them again for future workshops and smaller interactive gatherings.