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This article is taken from PN Review 269, Volume 49 Number 3, January - February 2023.

The Hong Kong Moment
A Diasporic Poetics within the British Poetics
Antony Huen
‘Life here is transitory’ – Kit Fan


In 2010, Sarah Howe won an Eric Gregory Award for her pamphlet A Certain Chinese Encyclopedia. Five years later, her book Loop of Jade (2015) became the first debut collection to win the T.S. Eliot Prize. The back cover explained that Howe was ‘born in Hong Kong in 1983 to an English father and Chinese mother, and moved to England as a child’. Following Howe, more poets with Hong Kong and Chinese heritage and who are often introduced as such have had their books published by leading British publishers and have continued to achieve critical recognition and success in competitions. Mary Jean Chan (b. 1990) and Kit Fan (b. 1979), in particular, have won multiple awards. In 2017 Chan became the youngest to be shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, and their collection Flèche (2019) won the Costa Book Award for Poetry. Fan has won two Northern Writer’s Awards for his collection As Slow As Possible (2018) and a manuscript of his 2021 novel Diamond Hill. Today the British literary scene is marked by the presence of a group of poets from or connected to Hong Kong. The following puts together a selection of the awards and recognitions given to the poets with Hong Kong heritage who are now (or were once) based in the UK:

  • 2010 – Sarah Howe won an Eric Gregory Award for her pamphlet A Certain Chinese Encyclopedia (tall lighthouse, 2009).

  • 2014 – Jennifer Wong was given the ...


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