Kit Fan is a poet, novelist and critic. He was born and educated in Hong Kong before moving to the UK at 21. His debut novel is Diamond Hill (2021). His first book of poems, Paper Scissors Stone (2011), won the inaugural HKU International Poetry Prize. As Slow As Possible (2018) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and one of the Irish Times Books of the Year. His third poetry collection The Ink Cloud Reader (2023) is shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize for Best Collection.
Twice shortlisted for the Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize and the TLS Mick Imlah Poetry Prize, he has won Northern Writers Awards for Fiction and Poetry, the Times Stephen Spender Poetry Translation Prize, and POETRY Editors’ Prize for Reviewing. In 2023, he was shortlisted for the Alpine Fellowship and the Moth Poetry Prize judged by the Nobel Laureate Louise Glück.
He was a Visiting Scholar at the The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon in 2023.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2022.
He was appointed a Non-Executive Director of the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) in 2023.
'A moving, lyrically potent collection charting the interconnected impacts of political and personal fracture...This is a book of pin-sharp, dazzlingly original images...creating a painfully raw yet deeply affecting poetic universe.' The Guardian
'Kit Fan as technician is a poet of courage. He experiments with various structures in The Ink Cloud Reader, neither afraid to break rules nor to keep in touch with tradition.' The Guardian, Carol Rumen's Poem of the Week
'A bold and mature collection...that offers something new with each turn of the page... Lucidly and elegantly, Fan uses metaphors of reading and writing to explore some of the most elemental themes of the human condition: love, loss, politics, place, and literature itself... Fan’s attention to the physical properties of ink and the book is reflected in his virtuosity in form; no two poems look the same.' Asian Review of Books
'A marvel of language and form. It looks towards the past and the future, excavating both memory and a crystallised loss that is not yet realised... The use of form in this collection is magnificent - each poem varies with imaginative and visual delight. The Ink Cloud Reader bleeds brilliance through every page.' Poetry London
'What makes Fan's collection so compelling [is] the way in which his habitual posture keeps being interrogated.... Even as he deconstructs it, Fan remains committed to lyric's status as a threshold space in which sufferings can be recollected, endured and compared.' The Poetry Review
'From an unnamed illness to referencing Hong Kong’s decade of protest and crackdown to depictions of queer sexuality, [Fan] transforms everyday loss and violence into something sublime.' The Straits Times
'The "ink cloud" that lends the book its title is not a cloud of ink, but rather a reflection of the clouds in ink... Fan's collection fulfils an elegiac function for a disappearing Hong Kong... It stands both as part of and separate from the works of other writers affiliated with Hong Kong in the UK. To Fan, poetry arrives aware of its many limitations, of its inability to capture the totality of the world's beauty and suffering. Fan's collection stands as a testament to the necessity of resisting such futility.' Quarterly Literary Review Singapore
'The Ink Cloud Reader [delves] into vocational anxiety, collective wounds, supportive love, and the cycle of mortality in his usually poignant expressions and a more versatile range of forms. The unified, life-affirming collection often delivers the soothing experience of an insightful, witty, and understanding mind'. Cha
In his disquieting third collection The Ink Cloud Reader, Kit Fan takes enormous risks linguistically, formally and visually to process the news of a sudden illness and the threat of mortality, set against the larger chaos of his beloved city Hong Kong and our broken planet. These shape-shifting poems are persistently sensitive to anxiety, and to beauty, questioning the turbulent climate of our time while celebrating the power of ink – of reading and writing.
'In The Ink Cloud Reader, Kit Fan's moving, wise and fluid poems grapple with the forces "converting loss to some form / of chaos". The book's vivid portrait of a marriage, quickened by sickness and the threat of separation, presents love as a play of shadow and light. Fan gets stranger, more daring, with each successive book: he is an essential poet, and one I will always return to.' Sarah Howe
'The compressed narratives in The Ink Cloud Reader demonstrate both lyric intensity and a remarkable dramatic reach. In this impressive third collection, Kit Fan's restless, explorative, compositional impulse is evident from first to last [...] The poems in this collection - personal, political, edgy, sometimes provocative - have a unifying voice both intriguing and wholly original.' David Harsent
'Kit Fan's poems are a kind of lyric vortex: imagistic fictions that wrap themselves around a hard, lyrical, personal centre, something like the complexity of a seed. This collection holds at its core the tension of what to say and how to say it, gloriously in celebration of ambivalence, and questioning.' Rachael Allen
Winner of the inaugural Hong Kong University International Poetry Prize
'Do you know what it was like here? You wouldn't believe the glamour. We had our own film studio, redbrick houses for the stars, even Jackie Chan. Now look at us - the Hollywood of the Orient will soon be gone altogether.'
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© Kit Fan 2023