Laura Zander

Transnational Island in an Asian Sea – Afterness and the City of Hong Kong 

In 2010, writer Xu Xi led a group of authors, teachers and students from all over the world to establish a Master of Fine Arts program in writing at the City University of Hong Kong. One of the very few MFA programs in Asia at that time, the MFA’s final act was to publish Afterness: Literature From the New Transnational Asia – a collection of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction published in 2016. The collection spans the six years of the program as well as 35 cities across the globe: Hong Kong to Manila to Perth to San Francisco to New York to Stockholm, not to mention countless unnamed places in between. I will examine this collection in its capacity to present and negotiate various forms of transnationalism as well as its incorporation of the distinct presence of Hong Kong, an island often caught between cultures and governments as much as historical eras. Surrounded by salt water, the city of Hong Kong appears almost tantamount to cultural contact, world trade and global relations but also a variety of conflicts that arise from such a position as transnational contact zone.