IMPRINT Issue 16

Since its inception in 2001, IMPRINT has provided a showcase for WiPS members' work. While many contributors are established authors, illustrators and photographers, for others, IMPRINT provides the opportunity to see their work in print for the first time. This can be an exciting experience, a reassurance that what they have to say is worth being seen or read. Almost fifty WiPS members contributed the best of their efforts to the latest issue of IMPRINT on subjects as diverse as the membership itself. Regardless of where they were born in the world, WiPS members share one thing in common: they live (or have lived) in Hong Kong and have an interest in the written word or the visual image.

On 24 March 2017, WiPS celebrated the launch of the 16th issue of IMPRINT in style in the congenial surroundings of the Hughes and Burton Rooms in the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Central. The anthology once again offers a spirited mix of fiction, poetry, travel writing, essays, commentary and memoir, together with photographs and artwork.

The Members' Directory included at the back is a useful and valuable resource providing credentials and contact information for individuals whose backgrounds and experience span the gamut of publishing expertise.

"Hong Kong Women in Publishing Society has consistently turned out spectacular writing and photography in its annual IMPRINT anthology, but the 16th issue is distinctly special. It begins on a sad note with a lovely tribute to Clare Hollingworth, one of the most decorated foreign correspondents and a steadfast presence at WiPS until her final days at the age of 105. Further into the volume, former WiPS president Cathy Hilborn Feng writes a moving remembrance of meeting Clare for the first time. The other personal narratives, short stories, travel essays, works of poetry, and photographs take place not just in Hong Kong, but in locations around the world. The diversity of the members and their work will appeal to readers from every background. IMPRINT 16 is WiPS at its best."  -- Susan Blumberg-Kason, Good Chinese Wife

 Want your own copy?

Price HK$80.

POP INTO ANY of the following HONG KONG BOOK SHOPS:

  • Bookazine Prince's Building, Shop 326-328, Central

  • Growhouse G/F Baskerville House, 13 Duddell Street / 22 Ice House Street, Central; and G106A-107A, Ground Floor, The Repulse Bay, 109 Repulse Bay Road, Hong Kong

  • Hong Kong Book Centre Ltd 25 Des Voeux Road Central.

  • Swindon Book Co. Ltd 13-15 Lock Road, TST; Chinese University; University of Hong Kong; and Polytechnic University.

OR ... ORDER FROM WiPS: Copies can also be ordered direct from us. For delivery right to your post box contact: wipshk@gmail.com.



Stories for Christmas by WiPS members


Included in Bookazine's Christmas catalogue
and available in all their stores
(the first story is reprinted here)

A Christmas Curry

By Sarah Merrill Mowat

The stairs go on longer than I remember, each step a bit too high, a trail for giants. Roger climbs behind me as I trudge up and up this concrete treadmill, trying to hide my labored breathing. When I dressed for the hike, I wasn't thinking about the view from the rear. Now I wish I'd worn something with built-in support. At least I threw on that blue shirt that brings out my eyes. I'd fussed with my straight blonde hair for ages, and decided to leave it down, more alluring, I thought. In the end it didn't matter because we were all given Santa hats to wear. Apparently they're part of the ritual of the day, but now I'll have hat head. Roger's comes with a beard that he's pushed up above his forehead like a visor. Somehow it suits him, his dark hair curling around the white trim, his neat beard completing the Santa look. There's a group of us hiking, a mob of his mates and a few girlfriends. I'm not sure how I fit in the mix, whether mate or girlfriend. We jostle for space among the crowds out for the Christmas public holiday -- helpers with their church groups, local families armed with umbrellas and transistor radios. I have already forgotten his friends' names. They're clones of each other, all close-shaven beards and tattoos adorning calves or biceps. The girlfriends are slim and sport matching workout clothes. They're not even sweating. I drag my sleeve across my forehead. Maybe I shouldn't have come.

                "Have you hiked Dragon's Back before?" Roger asks, not even winded.

                "Of course," I reply, not mentioning that it was only once, and I'd vowed never to return. It was summer the last time I came, and someone else's mad idea. I was drenched with sweat and out of water when I'd reached the top and considered calling in a rescue helicopter. There was no way I'd make it back to the road. They'd have marked the spot to remember me: "Here was last seen the valiant figure of Samantha, who gave her life to inspiring young minds in the classroom, but lost hers wandering in this wilderness at the age of 32." A cautionary tale to rival anything I assigned to my students.

                But today is much cooler and white flowers reminiscent of camellias speckle the bushes beside the path. Black kites circle silently on invisible currents overhead.

                "I hope I didn't mess up your plans," Roger says.

                "Plans?" I must have missed something, lost as I was in drafting my own eulogy.

                "For today."

               I'd planned to spend the day alone and wallow in an over-sized vat of self-pity filled with chocolate and washed down with Christmas cheer. This morning I'd almost called to cancel, looking at myself in my ancient workout gear and wondering why I had turned down my parents' offer to fly me home for the holidays. I'd reasoned that if I couldn't pay for my flights, I shouldn't go. But then Christmas dawned and I woke to an empty refrigerator and the sound of fighting from next door, and I longed for my mother's coffee cake for breakfast. Why had Roger even invited me? He'd sold it as "a hike with friends followed by an alternative Christmas dinner". Was it a date? I'd first met him at a pub quiz night when we were out with mutual friends. He seemed to know all the answers and was surprisingly hip for a software engineer.

                "Nearly there," he says. We're the last of the group to make it and we push through the throng of other hikers until we reach his friends in their Santa hats. In the distance, a handful of container ships glide through the South China Sea in a procession of goods and power.

One of his friends pulls a handful of candy canes from his backpack and another produces a bag of oranges. Roger and I are the only ones who take the candy. I unwrap the straight end of the candy, then tap it against his before popping it in my mouth. This is my kind of hiking.

"That looks fun," I say, pointing at a group of people, oversized backpacks stacked behind them, perched below us in a dip in the hill.

                "Paragliding?" He chuckles. "I'm game if you are." He reaches out and gently pulls a leaf from my hair.

                Maybe this is a date after all.

                The last part of the hike is more crowded and shorter than I remember, maybe because I am not out-of-my-mind with heat stroke. Roger takes the lead and I gladly follow his very muscular form. He must be from the new breed of techies. From the trail, Shek O beach seems far away but before I know it we are descending through a grove of slender bamboo and waiting for the bus to carry us to the village.

                They've booked a restaurant for lunch, the Thai Chinese one they say, as if everyone's familiar with it and it doesn't need a proper name. We squeeze in around the large round table, perching on the ubiquitous plastic stools of Asia. They order without looking at the menu, each shouting out their favorite dish. Salt and pepper squid, chili prawns, duck red curry, choi sum with garlic. Roger starts filling tumblers with cold Tsingtao, the big bottles emptying quickly. His knee is pressed against mine, and after a while I relax and lean into him. When the food starts to arrive, he spoons each dish onto my plate, not even asking if I like it. I eat everything, wielding the twisted squid like a weapon, challenging him to a duel. The duck curry is so spicy that my eyelashes are sweating but I devour it anyway. He laughs then leans in to kiss me and I no longer notice my burning tongue or his friends crowded so close around us. We lift our glasses and make a toast to the hike, new friends, Hong Kong, and a duck curry for Christmas dinner.