[Book Talk] Indelible City; Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong

This book talk for Indelible City; Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong (Riverhead Books, Text Publishing 2022) explores a new attempt to craft a history for Hong Kong centring local voices. It describes how the book uses archival research and recently released oral history accounts from the 1980s and 1990s to restore the voices of the Unofficials (the Unofficial Members of Exco and Legco), and thus revisits the 1982-1984 negotiation of the Joint Declaration from a Hong Kong perspective. The talk also explores the media creation of the King of Kowloon as an icon symbolising Hong Kong identity. It will introduce research investigating the mechanics of icon creation by showing how both Anglophone and Sinophone Hong Kong newspapers represented the King of Kowloon across three separate decades. It will also investigate the differing depictions in Anglophone and Sinophone public spheres, as well as using autoethnographic self-reflective practice to interrogate the narrator’s roles as a Hong Kong author, researcher and journalist.

Louisa Lim is the author of Indelible City; Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong, published by Riverhead books. Her first book The People’s Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited (Oxford University Press, 2014), was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. She covered China and Hong Kong for a decade as a correspondent for the BBC and NPR and has written for The New York Times and The Guardian. Raised in Hong Kong, she lives in Australia with her two children and is now a Senior Lecturer at The University of Melbourne.

This is a hybrid event.

Light refreshment at 3:30pm for a 4pm start. Indelible City; Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong (RRP 34.99) is available for purchase at the book launch. Buy a copy and have it signed by Louisa Lim!

‘The best book about the indelible city to date. Irresistibly real and emotionally authentic, it shines with a shimmering light rarely seen in political narrative. A truly extraordinary elegy.’ – Ai Weiwei

‘I read Louisa Lim’s book slowly, haunted by memories and stymied by sorrow. An archaeological dig into the disappearing present, her fascinating and heartbreaking account reveals an indelible history hidden in plain sight, and a future that Hong Kong’s unique sensibility promises even as the world’s most powerful autocracy strives to erase it.’ – Geremie Barmé, editor of China Heritage

The ANU China Seminar Series is supported by the Australian Centre on China in the World at ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.


Louisa Lim

Dates & times

Thursday, 2 June 2022

3.30pm - 5.30pm


Seminar Rooms, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU

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