23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait David McKirdy

David McKirdy

David McKirdy was born in 1956 in Scotland and grew up in Hong Kong, where his father worked at the Hong Kong & Whampoa Dock Company. He arrived in England for the first time as a twenty-year-old and stayed for five years before deciding to permanently move to Hong Kong. He received an honors degree in the humanities from the Open Learning Institute (now the Open University of Hong Kong) and was one of the directors of the Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival.

His debut was the poetry collection »Accidental Occidental« (2005), which was given a publishing grant from the Hong Kong Art’s Development Council prior to publication and in which McKirdy weaves his impressions of people and places into a vivid linguistic tapestry. At the same time, he addresses the overarching themes of life, love, and death in his poetic texts. The dense landscape of his chosen hometown in all its rich traditions and mystery is also a recurring motif in his poetry: »Mine is a city of bird-song, cicadas and bamboo wind-chimes, abandoned hamlets high on mountain passes and a story under every stone. In the midst of the metropolis we find hidden shrines shrouded in incense, fortune-tellers, apothecar[ies], acupuncturists and ancient crones under freeway flyovers who will for a small fee beat paper effigies of your enemies with a wooden shoe.« McKirdy’s début was awarded a prize from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and was followed by the poetry collection »Ancestral Worship« (2014), an homage to Hong Kong as a city of immigrants. Several texts illuminate the relationship between the colonizers and the colonized in British Hong Kong during the 1960s and 1970s, a time of inequality and injustice. Other poems reflect the changes that happened in the society in the late 1960s, when the teenage McKirdy experienced an era of political and social awakening. »›Ancestral Worship‹ pays tribute to the power of memory, to overcome loss, grief, and the ability of words to remember and revive, whether the shadow of a cherished city, or the silhouette of deceased loved ones.« (»The Asian Review of Books«)

Together with Peter Gordon, McKirdy edited the anthology »Eight Hong Kong Poets« (2015), a volume of works in English by well-known poets such as Leung Ping-Kwan, Shirley Geoklin Lim, and Eddie Tay as well as new voices in poetry such as Jennifer Wong and Tammy Ho Lai-ming. He is also the co-editor of the anthology »Quixotica. Poems East of La Mancha« (2016) and one of the organizers of the group Poetry OutLoud Hong Kong. He was Editor at Large for the classic and vintage car and motorcycle magazine »Rewind Magazine« (Singapore), is a curator and curator and chief judge of the Motor Cycle class for the Bi-annual Cartier Travel with Style Concourse d’Elegance, held each time in a different city in India, and runs a restoration workshop for classic cars in Hong Kong.


Accidental Occidental
Hongkong, 2005
Ancestral Worship
Hongkong, 2014
Eight Hong Kong Poets
[Hg. mit Peter Gordon]
Hongkong, 2015
Poems East of La Mancha
Hongkong, 2016