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April/ May 2024: Karen Cheung

The author Karen CheungKaren Cheung is a writer from Hong Kong. She is the author of The Impossible City: A Hong Kong Memoir (Random House, 2022). Her writing has appeared in the New York TimesForeign PolicyNew StatesmanThe RumpusEvergreen Review, and elsewhere. She is currently a part-time lecturer of creative writing at Hong Kong Baptist University, and was formerly Associate Editor at Asia Art Archive. She received her MA in Creative Writing (New Prose Narratives) from Royal Holloway, University of London.


This month we're delighted to feature Karen Cheung, who will also be joining us on May 8th for our event on 'Writing Hong Kong'. Karen's work explores girlhood, psychogeography, and political trauma. Her memoir The Impossible City was longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, and was featured as one of the best books of the year in 2022 in both the Washington Post and The Economist.

The front cover of Karen Cheung's book The Impossible City: A Hong Kong MemoirThe Impossible City unapologetically provokes, critiques, celebrates and uplifts the many lived realities of Hongkongers as they navigate the city’s gradual and abrupt shifts over the last two decades.

- Shui-yin Sharon Yam, in The Hong Kong Review of Books

There's a fascinating conversation with Karen on the NüVoices podcast, where you can hear more about The Impossible City and other aspects of her life and work.

Karen also writes fiction, and we're very happy to be able to feature her story 'Island Person', first published in The Oxonian Review in August 2023. You can read the story here.

Every autumn, Sze took a trip to the island to prove she was still capable of being alone.

The island was a thirty-minute ferry ride from the central business district, low houses dotting swampy hills that overlooked large bodies of water. The residents of the island were expats who could not adjust to the city’s suffocating apartments after a childhood climbing cypress trees in Florida. There were more blonde children on the island than anywhere else in the city. But Sze loved the island. It made her feel like she had left Hong Kong.

Finally, we're honoured that Karen has agreed to be one of the judges for our inaugural Bai Meigui Creative Writing Competition, which is open exclusively to writers based in the UK, who have familial roots in and/or have previously lived in Hong Kong. Find out more on our Competition page!