Sept 3: Book Launch – Eileen Chang’s The Book of Change

The JMSC’s Project for Public Culture and Hong Kong University Press will co-host a book launch for Eileen Chang’s semi-autobiographical novel The Book of Change《易經》on September 3, 2010.

The book launch also marks the 90th birthday and 15th anniversary of Chang’s death.

Eileen Chang (1920-1995) is now recognized as one of the greatest modern Chinese writers, though she was completely erased from official histories in mainland China.

She was the most popular writer in Japanese-occupied Shanghai during World War II. Her stories focused on human frailties rather than nationalist propaganda.

The Book of Change was written in English, and, like its prequel, The Fall of the Pagoda, depicts Chang’s childhood in Tianjin and Shanghai. An account of life in wartime Hong Kong, it  follows the Japanese invasion, and reveals details of both widespread cowardice and remarkable human resilience.

Eileen Chang arrived in Hong Kong from Shanghai in 1939 and enrolled at the University of Hong Kong. Her childhood in Shanghai was an unhappy one and resulted in her running away from her father and stepmother. Her student life in Hong Kong was a happy interlude but Chang soon found herself stranded by the war. The Japanese occupation of Hong Kong in late 1941 taught her some brutal lessons on the fragile nature of personal attachments.

At the launch, Dr Roland Soong, the executor of Eileen Chang’s estate, will donate a photocopy of the manuscripts of The Book of Change to HKU and share his views on Chang’s writing career. Professor Leo Ou-fan Lee, renowned scholar and cultural critic, will analyse the book.

This September sees the culmination of events marking the 15th anniversary of Chang’s death. They include a mini-exhibition at a gallery on Caine Road in Central Hong Kong and a two-day Eileen Chang International Conference at Hong Kong Baptist University.

The Book of Change can be ordered at: http://www.hkupress.org/book/9789888028207.htm

Date: Friday, September 3, 2010
Time: 12 noon
Venue: 1/F, Main Library, HKU
Language: English

Distinguished guests
Dr. Roland Soong, Executor of Eileen Chang’s estate
Professor Leo Ou-fan Lee, Renowned scholar and cultural critic

For enquiries, please contact: Velentina Ma, Journalism and Media Studies Centre

E-mail: velentinam@hku.hk Tel: 2219-4012/9123-0252

The book launch is also supported by HKU Libraries and Faculty of Arts, HKU. The JMSC’s Project for Public Culture is sponsored by the Azalea (1972) Endowment Fund.