We were very grateful to have Xu Xi drop by, amidst her busy schedule, to talk with us in our December session of Kubrick Poetry. It was a meeting that we had long been looking forward to. Xu Xi started by talking about how she was able to keep writing, early in her career, while holding key positions in the corporate business world. She acknowledges the challenge of being a writer in a very commercialized and business-oriented Hong Kong, and so to overcome these challenges and to completely focus on her writing, she moved away. She shared about her experience doing writing retreats in places like Florida and Norway. She also shared her insights in writing about the Chinese experience using the English language, while praising the works of Maxine Hong Kingston as her source of inspiration.
Then we came to discuss her new book. Xu Xi read excerpts from the stories “Space” and “Lady Day”. We agreed that the stories in this collection have a tendency to allow readers a lot of space to imagine and to fill in the untold stories implied in the narratives. We were also treated to some very vivid accounts of the anecdotes that Xu Xi’s aunt had told her when she was a child, and we learned how those stories have inspired her to write the stories that she writes today.
Throughout our conversation, Xu Xi gave us the impression that the writing of this newest book had been a very enjoyable process for her. The audience was also delighted by her ability to narrate her personal experience so animatedly. This kind of liveliness and attention to details are qualities that really shine in her short story collection.
(photos by Paul Wan)