The Script Road – Macau Literary Festival returns to its original March date


The Script Road – Macau Literary Festival returns to its original March date

Press Release


From March 8 to 17, Casa Garden will host the 13th edition of The Script Road – Macau Literary Festival. This is a return of the event to spring, after a forced move to fall during the pandemic years. The highlight of this edition of The Script Road will be the celebration of the poetry of Li Bai and Luís de Camões. Among the guests, Chinese author Dong Xi, winner of the 11th Mao Dun Prize for Literature, and American novelist Chang-era Lee, finalist of the Pulitzer Prize, are the most notable names. In an event that also marks the 50th anniversary of the Portuguese Carnation Revolution of 1974, writer and journalist João Céu e Silva, author and illustrator Fido Nesti and guitarist Marta Pereira da Costa are among the representatives from the Portuguese-speaking world.


“We’ve always felt that it makes the most sense to hold the Macau Literary Festival in March, as it’s the time of year when the events calendar is not so packed. That’s why, at the first opportunity, and after several editions held in October and November due to the pandemic, we decided to return the festival to its original date,” says Ricardo Pinto, director of The Script Road.


This year’s edition of the Macau Literary Festival, and the previous one, held just five months ago, have in common the celebration of the fifth centenary of the birth of poet Luís de Camões. Casa Garden, located nearby the poet’s famous grotto, will be visited by Kenneth David Jackson, professor at Yale University and author of several Camonian studies. Brazilian illustrator Fido Nesti will also evoke the work of Camões through his adaptation of the epic poem ‘Os Lusíadas’ for children.


Another great name of universal poetry will be remembered at the opening event of the festival. The life and work of Li Bai is the subject of a photography exhibition by Xu Peiwu, a Chinese artist who over the last decade has traveled the same paths where the poet walked more than a thousand years ago, recording the landscapes that inspired him as he wandered through vast and scattered regions of China. They are images “of enormous beauty and density, which allow us to contemplate a naked and captivating China”, says João Miguel Barros, the exhibition’s curator. At the opening session, publisher Carlos Morais José will also present the book ‘Li Bai – A Via do Imortal’, by António Izidro.


The first weekend of the festival, from March 8 to 10, will host the presentation of several other works. San San, one of the most awarded young Chinese writers, will present her anthology of short stories ‘Late Spring’, which was among the strongest candidates for the 2023 Literary Prize from Douban, China’s online social network with a large footprint in literary circles. American James Zimmerman, a lawyer who has lived in the Chinese capital for more than 25 years, is coming to Macau to present ‘The Peking Express’, an investigative work that tells the story of the Great Railway Robbery of 1923, an event that set the course for China’s two-decade civil war. And New Zealand-born author Ian Gill, who is the child of his parents’ war-time romance in a prison camp in Hong Kong, will discuss his book ‘Searching for Billie’, a journalist’s quest to understand his mother’s past that leads him to discover a vanishing China.


Another notable guest to hear speak will be Ma Ka Fai, Hong Kong writer and filmmaker, professor of creative writing at City University and author of dozens of bestselling books of essays. ‘Once upon a time in Hong Kong’ is his debut novel.


The 50th anniversary of the Portuguese April 25 democratic Revolution will also be commemorated during the first days of the festival. João Céu e Silva will present to the Macau public his work ‘The General who started April 25 two months before the captains’ –the never-before-told story of how General António Spínola brought down the old regime.


An exhibition on the 50-year career of photographer António Mil-Homens – who began his journey with photography precisely on April 25, 1974, when he covered some of the most significant episodes of the revolution – will take place during the week at the Portuguese Bookshop Gallery, before the panels return to Casa Garden for the second weekend of the Festival.


Macau cuisine will be the central theme of the sessions on Friday, March 15. Authors Graça Pacheco Jorge and Annabel Jackson, both of whom have publications on this topic, will be joined by Professor Barrie Sherwood, from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, for a discussion on the current state of Macanese gastronomy and related cultural identity issues. ‘The Macanese Pro-Wrestler’s Cookbook’, written by Prof. Sherwood will be presented to local audiences at the session.


The program of Saturday March 16 will be dominated by women’s writing, featuring a proposed dialogue combining writers from Macau, Hong Kong, and Mainland China. ‘The Girl Who Dreamed: A Hong Kong Memoir of Triumph Against the Odds’, by Sonia Leung, has been described as an important milestone in the literature of the neighboring city, as never before have the first-person experiences of poor immigrants from the Mainland, who arrived in Hong Kong in the 1980s, been narrated in such detail from the perspective of a young woman.


The penultimate day the festival will also welcome two big names in this year’s program. Dong Xi, who in addition to the 2023 Mao Dun Literature Prize has also been awarded the Lu Xun Prize, will share his vast experience in the world of creative writing with several Macau authors. “As one of today’s most representative writers, Dong Xi is recognized for his unusual ability to tell stories in his own narrative language,” said Yao Jingming, deputy director of The Script Road – Macau Literary Festival.


Chang-rae Lee, an American writer of Korean origin, and himself a creative writing teacher at Stanford University in California, will be presenting his latest novel, ‘My Year Abroad’, which is partly set in Macau. His writing often explores themes such as immigration, assimilation, Korean history, the experience of Asian-Americans, and dystopian America. Among several other distinctions, the author was awarded the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Prize for first fiction for his novel ‘Native Speaker’.


Saturday’s program comes to an end with a concert by Marta Pereira da Costa, widely acclaimed as one of the most virtuoso Portuguese guitar players of her generation. In Macau, she will be backed on stage by João José Pita. Other performances will be promoted in collaboration with Bookand, an independent local bookstore and café.


Traditionally, the last day of the festival is largely reserved for visual arts publications – and this year will be no exception. Local photographer João Miguel Barros and Halftone association will reveal their most recent productions in Casa Garden. Additionally, Portuguese academic Duarte Drumond Braga will be presenting his study of Camilo Pessanha’s ‘China and Macau’, recently released in Portugal. And Peter Rose, an American lawyer turned author, is launching his first novel, ‘The Good War of Consul Reeves’, which is set against the backdrop of the Pacific War in Macau and the efforts of the lonely British diplomat to help the fight against the Japanese. The novel was published by Blacksmith Books, a prolific publishing house based in Hong Kong.


As in previous years, the Macau Literary Festival has the support of the Macau Government, through the Cultural Development Fund, as well as several other public and private institutions in the region. The Orient Foundation is once again hosting the event in Casa Garden. In addition to the official program, the festival guests will also visit local schools and associations.


The event’s detailed program will be released to the media in the coming days.


For more information, please contact:

Aska Cheong: +853 6622 3215

Kathine Cheong: +853 6688 2821 |