The poets participating in the 2016 Bookworm Literary Festival.

:: Full list of 2016 Bookworm Literary Festival authors ::

Author bios listed alphabetically by surname/pen name. Click on the portraits to go to the author’s standalone page, which comes with its unique permalink and details about the author’s events.

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Richard Blanco official profile

Richard Blanco is the fifth inaugural poet in US history — the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. Born in Madrid to Cuban-exiled parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity and place characterize his body of work. He is the author of the memoirs The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood and For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey; the poetry chapbooks One Today and Boston Strong; and the poetry collections Looking for the Gulf Motel, Directions to the Beach of the Dead, and City of a Hundred Fires.


Dionne Brand

Dionne Brand, who grew up in Trinidad, is a renowned Canadian poet, novelist, filmmaker, educator, and activist. Her latest novel is Love Enough. Her literary honors include the Griffin Poetry Prize (for Ossuaries), the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Trillium Book Award, the Toronto Book Award (for What We Long For), and the 2006 Harbourfront Festival Prize for her contribution to the world of books and writing. She was Toronto’s third Poet Laureate from 2009-12; her poetry collections include Land to Light On, thirsty, and Inventory. Brand is also a prolific author of nonfiction on subjects of gender, race, identity, and the African diaspora.


Matthew Byrne

Matthew Byrne has an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University. He’s been reading poetry for many years in England and now China and has shared the stage with many reknowned poets, including the English Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. He has published a poetry magazine called UNSUNG in his home city of Manchester and he is the founder of Spittoon, a successful Beijing poetry night held every month.



Michael Crummey

Michael Crummey is an award-winning poet, novelist, and short story writer who was born in Buchans, a mining town in Newfoundland’s interior. His debut novel, River Thieves (2001), was a Canadian bestseller and won multiple awards. His latest novel, Sweetland, tells the story of one man’s battle to keep his Newfoundland home. Crummey’s poetry has been described as generous, genuine, rich, and warm, with some form of grace always present to redeem whatever hardships his characters endure. His works have appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies, including twice in the League of Canadian Poets’ annual contest anthology.


Fernando Foglino

Fernando Foglino (b. 1976) is a poet and visual artist who lives and works in Montevideo, Uruguay. In 2004 he published the poetry collection Kate 500 Km, and in 2007 published Vodka. In 2009 he was awarded a scholarship to Berlin for “Clipoemas,” an audiovisual piece, and in 2011 he won second prize in the Grand Prix Paul Cezanne in Paris. In 2013 he published La máquina del Movimiento Contínuo and, the year after, the poetry collection Link. Since 2008, he has been exhibited at solo and group exhibitions in museums around the country and abroad.


Nico Helminger

Nico Helminger (b. 1953) is a novelist, playwright, and poet from Luxembourg who has studied and worked in Berlin, Vienna, and Paris, among other cities. Among his many prizes, he is the recipient of the most important culture award in Luxembourg, the Prix Batty Weber, which he won in 2008. He writes poetry, prose, drama, radio plays, and libretti in Luxembourgish and German. Among his recent works are “zu schwankender zeit und an schwankendem ort” (in volatile times and in a volatile place, 2012), the novel “lëtzebuerger léiwen” (Luxembourgian Lions, 2013), the poetry collection “abrasch” (2013), and the novel Autopsy (2014).


Tammy Ho-Lai Ming 1

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a poet, short story writer, translator, and founding editor of the literary journal Asian Cha, the first online literary journal based in Hong Kong. Her story “Let Her Go” won Third Prize in The Standard-RTHK Short Story Competition 2005, and her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times and the Forward Prize. She is the author of Hula Hooping, a collection of poetry, and the forthcoming short story collection Her Name Upon the Strand. She is currently an assistant professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, where she teaches fiction, poetry and poetics, and modern drama.


Yves Laplace is a well-known novelist, playwright, and essayist in the French-speaking literary circle. He has published fifteen literary works. His latest novel, Hero’s Prairie, was inspired by George Oltramare, a Swiss actor, writer, and politician who was sentenced to death in France in 1950 due to his role in the fascist movement. Laplace won the Alice Rivaz Prize in 2015 and the Swiss Literary Prize in 2016 for this book. Laplace’s dramatic work includes Sarcasm (adapted from The Model Man), and many of his plays been presented in Paris and Geneva. He is also a literary and dramatic critic, a teacher, and referee for amateur football matches.


Andy McGuire

Andy McGuire is from Grand Bend and currently resides in Toronto. He is pursuing an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph. McGuire’s poems have appeared in Riddle Fence, Hazlitt, and The Walrus. He presents his debut poetry collection, Country Club. A lyrical wilderness of power, wealth, leisure, and desire, the poems of Country Club freewheel across state lines with panache and flagrant feeling. In this bold collection, all passions — even unpleasant ones — stare down the barrel of a world in which freedom is the 51st state, and love is the 11th province.


Isolda Morillo

Isolda Morillo is a journalist based in Beijing. Over the past ten years, she has reported on civil society, ethnic conflicts, the environment, the arts, film, etc. Born in Peru, she has lived and studied fine arts and film in the US, France, Cuba, Spain, and China. Prior to becoming a full-time journalist, she independently directed and produced documentary films on HIV/AIDS, poverty alleviation, the environment, and Tibet. She has published many short stories in various magazines in Peru, as well as poetry in Chinese on web-based magazines. Her latest short story written in Chinese, “Ideal Lover,” will be soon published by Dan Du (One Way Street Magazine).


Mariko Nagai 2

Mariko Nagai is a poet and author born in Tokyo and raised in Europe and America. She has received the Pushcart Prize in both poetry and fiction. Her collection of poems, Histories of Bodies, won the Benjamin Saltman Prize from Red Hen Press, and her first collection of stories, Georgic: Stories, won the 2009 G.S. Sharat Chandra Fiction Prize from BkMk Press. Her other books include the poetry collection Instructions for the Living and novel Dust of Eden, and the forthcoming Irradiated Cities, which won the 2015 Les Figues Press NOS Book Contest. She is an Associate Professor of creative writing and Japanese literature at Temple University, and also serves as Co-Regional Advisor of SCBWI Japan.

Mindaugas Nastaravicius thumbnail

Mindaugas Nastaravicius is a Lithuanian poet and playwright. His poetry collection Stained Eyes received the Zigmas Gele prize for best literary debut. In 2014 he published his second poetry collection, Mo, which was selected one of the “top five poetry books of the year” and listed as one of the “twelve most creative books of the year” by the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore. He has worked with four Lithuanian theaters to stage four of his plays: The Dormitory of Poultry, The Other School, Democracy, and Your Suit Does Not Fit Me. In 2015, Nastaravicius was awarded the Golden Stage Cross, the most prestigious Lithuanian theater prize.


Kabu Okai-Davies thumbnail

Kabu Okai-Davies is an Australian writer from Ghana. He is the author of two poetry collections, The Long Road to Africa and Symphony of Words, and two collections of short stories. He recently published Curfew’s Children, a childhood memoir set in Ghana, and completed a novel, In Another Man’s Name, set in Newark, New Jersey. Okai-Davies is the founder of African Globe TheatreWorks in Newark, where he was a producer from 1992-2005. He has been a Playwright-In-Residence at the Street Theatre in Canberra and producer at the National Multicultural Festival, and currently manages the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre.


Undine Radzeviciute

Undinė Radzevičiūtė (b. 1967) graduated from the Vilnius Academy of Arts, where she studied art history, theory, and criticism. She worked for ten years as a creative director for international advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett. Her first short novel was published in 2003. Fishes and Dragons, her fourth and biggest book so far, won the European Union Literature Prize 2015. Two of her earlier novels have been translated into Russian, and one into Estonian.



Ragg, Edward

Edward Ragg is a poet and wine professional living in Beijing. He won the 2012 Cinnamon Press Poetry Award and his first collection of poetry is A Force That Takes (Cinnamon Press, 2013). His second collection of poetry, Holding Unfailing, will appear in 2017. His “Mutton Fat Jade” and “Punctuation Points” were both prize-winning poems, respectively, at the 2009 and 2014 Troubadour International Poetry Prizes. Ragg is an associate professor at Tsinghua University and co-founder, with Fongyee Walker, of Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting.


Lambert Schlecter thumbnail

Lambert Schlechter (b. 1941) is a Luxembourg author who has published some 25 books. His work includes poetry, novels, short stories, and essays. Since 2006, he has been working on a greater prose project under the general title “Le Murmure du monde”: a collection of literary, philosophical, and autobiographical fragments. Schlechter studied philosophy and literature in Paris and Nancy before teaching philosophy, French language, and literature at the Lycée Classique in Echternach. He was vice president of the Luxembourg section of Amnesty International, Luxembourg, and representative in the International Service for Human Rights in Geneva.

Scot Slaby

Scot Slaby is a poet, author, and educator who teaches at Shanghai American School. His first chapbook, The Cards We’ve Drawn, won the 2013 Bright Hill Press National At Hand Chapbook Competition, and his second work, Bugs Us All, is a collaboration with artist Walter Gurbo, forthcoming in Summer 2016 from Entasis Press in Washington, D.C.  His poems have appeared most recently in Arcana: The Tarot Poetry AnthologyThe Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics Including Odd and Invented FormsUnsplendid, and elsewhere in print and online. 


Su Cici

Su Cici (苏瓷瓷) is a much-anthologized poet and short story writer whose work has appeared in literary journals across the country. She has won the Chinese Writers’ Association’s Literary Newcomer Prize, the Spring Literature Prize, and the Changjiang Literature & Art Prize. She is the author of The Ninth Night, a collection of short stories, and One’s Hospital, a collection of essays. Su’s eclectic work experience includes five years in a mental institution; she has also been a nurse, a propaganda officer, a go-go dancer, a hotel clerk, and a newspaper editor.


Anthony Tao

Anthony Tao is a writer and editor living in Beijing. He is co-founder and chief editor of Beijing Cream, a news/society/culture blog. He has organized poetry and fiction events around town, and his own poetry has appeared in publications such as Prairie Schooner, Borderlands, Kartika Review, Cottonwood, and Open Road Review, plus an anthology of China writing called While We’re Here. His poem about baijiu, “Things That Taste Like Purple,” was a finalist at Literary Death Match – Beijing. He is currently co-captain of Big Brother, one of China’s premier Ultimate Frisbee club teams, and a coordinator of the Bookworm Literary Festival.


Photo by Chris Peken

Philip Wilcox, the current Australian Poetry Slam National Champion and two-time NSW Poetry Slam Champion, is an award-winning poet who hosts and co-organizes Three Poets Speak, a Sydney showcase of the finest spoken word artists from around Australia. He has featured in major events such as the Sydney Writers Festival, Wollongong Writers Festival, and Newtown Festival, where he performed for a crowd of more than 8,000. He recently headlined the Melbourne event Voices in the Attic. He is also a playwright, having co-written and directed Thursday, one of the most successful productions of the 2013 Sydney Fringe Comedy Festival.


Nicholas YB Wong

Nicholas YB Wong (MFA, the City University of Hong Kong) is the author of the poetry collections Cities of Sameness and, most recently, Crevasse, which has been praised as “a book of action” (Jericho Brown) and “deft and radically inventive… blows a hole right through our expectation of what contemporary poetry is supposed to look and to sound like” (Ravi Shankar). Wong was a finalist for the New Letters Poetry Award and a semifinalist for the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. He is on the editorial board of the literary journals Drunken Boat and Mead: Magazine of Literature and Libations. Corgis are his favorite human breed.


Yang Li

Yang Li, a Sichuan-born poet, is considered one of the most prominent members of China’s avant-garde poetry movement. In the 1980s he was one of the founding members of the hugely influential “Fei Fei” poetry project, often translated as the “ Not-Not” movement. Yang has run a few independent poetry magazines, including Fei Fei until the mid-90s, and is currently editor-in-chief of Erasers, an independent yearly literary magazine. He also writes novels, short stories, and essays. Among his print publications is Canlan (trans. Splendor), a 623-page tell-all chronicle of the avant-garde poetry scene in China during the closing decades of the last century.


Yi Sha

Yi Sha (real name Wu Wenjian) is one of the most influential poets in China, having been described as the Chinese Allen Ginsberg and “the greatest avant-garde in China.” He has produced more than twenty collections of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including the well-known poetry collections Starve The Poet! (available in English), The Train Crosses the Yellow River, Corner of the World, and Ecstasy. In addition, he and his wife have co-translated more than eighty foreign poets into Chinese. Born in Chengdu in 1966, Yi Sha attended university in Beijing and now teaches in the Chinese Department of Xi’an Foreign Languages University.



  • Tickets for BLF 2019 Events

    Due to high demand, we cannot take reservations over the phone or email; please purchase your tickets at The Bookworm Sanlitun or online via Yoopay (click ‘ticket’ on the events page).