Global Stories, a collection of 25 nonfiction pieces written by students of the Master of Journalism Literary Journalism course since it was first offered in the Autumn semester of 2001, was published on June 16 by the JMSC.
The book was edited by Gene Mustain, the JMSC’s outgoing Director of Reporting and Writing Programme, who taught this class. It is distributed by HKU Press.
The title points to the fact that the students often wrote about chapters from their personal lives that involved dramatic events in different corners of the globe.
An excerpt from the back cover states: “This book is going to take you to remote regions and crowded cities. It will take you very near Ground Zero in New York City, on the day two hijacked airliners caused two great skyscrapers to collapse and killed many people. It will take you to weddings and funerals and to parties and death museums.
“It will take you into courtrooms, barrooms and emergency rooms. You will meet a model and a murderer and doctors and druggies. It will take you into a boxing ring, a football match and a rock concert. It will put you on a white-knuckle plane ride and in a bus about to fall off a cliff. It will show you how to fight brush fires, search for tigers, cram for an exam and adapt to cultures where no one has ever met anyone like you before.
“Along the way, you will experience love, joy, hope, grief, pain and despair, like the characters in the stories, including many of the authors who chose to write from the first-person point of view. This book is about emotions and ideas; it is about humans and their condition; it is about the life around us.”
Mustain said that editing the book was a difficult task due to the high calibre of writing he had to choose between.
“I know you expect me to say that it was hard for me to read more than a decade’s worth of work and make the selections for this book,” he said. “But I am going to say it anyway. It was.”
“I am saying it out of respect for the people I am disappointing, including some who at one point thought they were going to be in it, but whose places were taken by class members who came along later,” he continued.
“But we had to make choices and I did not make them lightly. It was not by design, but the 25 pieces we have here end up reflecting that unique diversity we have at the JMSC.
“They also do one more thing. They show that in terms of extended digressive narrative non-fiction, our class is world-class, university division.”
It’s hoped that the book will be used as a teaching tool in universities across the world.
The book is available now in book stores in Hong Kong.