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23 February 2022

Inaugural Wasafiri Essay Prize Awarded to Antony Huen

Wasafiri is excited to announce that the inaugural Wasafiri Essay Prize for Early Career Researchers has been awarded to Antony Huen for his astute, important, and creatively engaged article ‘The “old Hong Kong” and “a Gold-sifting Bird”: Hong Kong and Chinese Ekphrasis in Contemporary British Poetry’.   The Prize aims to discover, encourage, and award innovative critical essays of an exemplary standard, which constitute the most exciting academic work happening today from anywhere in the world and across international contemporary literature. In his winning article, which the judging panel called ‘engaging and innovative’, Huen makes ‘important interventions’ in the field.  The essay defines two entangled, geographically-specific kinds of ekphrasis: namely, Hong Kong ekphrasis and Chinese ekphrasis, as emerging literary traditions in contemporary British poetry. Through closely-engaged analyses of work by poets Sarah Howe, Mary Jean Chan, Sean Wai Keung, Jennifer Wong, Kit Fan, and Jennifer Lee Tsai, this essay enriches and complicates our understanding of the close connections between contemporary British poetry, cultural memory, and diaspora.  Antony Huen is a Research Assistant Professor at Hong Kong Metropolitan University, researching contemporary poetry and poetics, digital humanities, and Hong Kong literature in English. He is published in The Dark Horse, Early Popular Visual Culture, Hong Kong Review of Books, The Oxonian Review, and Poetry Wales, and is writing a poetry chapbook. On winning the prize, he said:  

I am thrilled to be awarded the Wasafiri Essay Prize. The idea of writing about poets with Hong Kong heritage had been at the back of my mind but it was only when I saw the call for submissions that I became determined to run with it. The piece grew out of my investment in ekphrasis and growing preoccupation with the future of Hong Kong. I owe the final form of the essay to the feedback and encouragement from the editor Emily Mercer and the reviewers. 

Huen is awarded a £250 cash prize, a mentoring conversation with a member of Wasafiri’s world-class editorial board, a Wasafiri subscription, and publication. His essay is available to read in Wasafiri 109, in the magazine or online.  

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