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HKU Life Story Prize 2022

HKU Life Story Prize 2022

"Tell us a Story in These Special Times to a Special One"

As Hong Kong and the world have been fighting the epidemic and you’re studying at home again, yes again, we want to hear your own stories, your personal stories, on overcoming any difficulties or finding surprises or mixed-up emotions you’re feeling, in These Special Times to a Special One.

You may include and share the confusion for you or your family and friends; or any aspirations in your life; or any contradictory feelings you may have to the person or people who have meant a lot to you, perhaps sharing the same household or located in another part of the world. 

You may also write an optimistic view of the pandemic situation, and explore how we might live differently and better, or how we can learn from this experience, using imagination, lateral thinking, insight and empathy.


Category A:  Secondary 1-3/ Grade 7-9

Category B: Secondary 4-6/ Grade 10-12 

The Selection Committee will be chaired by Dr Page Richards, Chair of Creating Writing & Theatre, HKU Department of English.


1. Essay Awards:

 - Winners can present their pieces at the HKU Black Box. It is a home to creative writers and the arts in Hong Kong where students join together and forge a life-long community of writers. 

- Winning pieces will be published at websites on HKU Academy for the Talented (the Academy), HKU GUILD and SLYCE: A Journal of Multilingual Creative Arts

2. HKU Scholarships – Winners can attend HKU summer programmes organised by the Academy.

3. Coaching on Creative writing - Winners will have the privilege to attend a Creative Writing Lab, guided by the Director and/or graduates of the HKU Creative Writing programme or the HKU Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. 

Writing guidelines for submitting your personal stories

1. Length

Your personal story may be any length, short or long. Each student can submit one personal story that will up to 1000 words.  We encourage various formats, including, memoir, poems, or documentary.

2. Font

Please be sure to submit your personal story in 12-font, whether Times New Roman, Cambria, Arial or any other non-cursive and clear font.

3. Line Spacing

Please be sure to submit your written work with either 1.5 line spacing, or double spacing. Also make sure that your pages are numbered at the top or bottom.

4. Multi-Media Options

You may also choose to submit a personal story that is multi-media: for instance, your written work along with a companion video/documentary not longer than 3 minutes.

5. Title for your Personal Story

Be sure to discover a title for your personal story, before sending to us. Your personal story has a “name” just as you do! 

6. Submission Deadline

All entries must be submitted by April 30, 2022 and results announcement will be made in summer 2022.

Submit your application:


Jointly organised by the HKU Academy for the Talented and the HKU Guild, the competition attracted close to 70 impressive entries in 2020. The young writers were asked to submit stories on the theme of fear and hope. The best will be published in SLYCE, a prestigious international journal of creative writing overseen by HKU, which has been around for 20-plus years and was previously known as Yuan Yang.

At the outset, Dr Richards gave an online masterclass for those intending to take part in the competition. The aim was to offer insights and comments designed to inspire the young writers to challenge themselves and expand their reach in terms of both discovery and surprise in telling their stories.

Eight secondary school students share their personal stories to win the HKU Life Story Prize at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). At a time when much of the world was in lockdown, they shared their hopes, fears and experiences in heartfelt personal tales reflecting both courage and some justifiable concerns. Congratulations to the eight awardees and they are acknowledged in the SCMP Young Post. Below are their winning stories. 



"Know how it feels like when you’re finally reaching the final level of a video game, but you accidentally hit the wrong button and have to start all over again?"

Lockdown Diaries", Oscar Au, St. Paul's Co-educational College



"Although vestiges of winter were present in this spring,

It carried the promise of summery days.

brrring, brrring

“Do you have enough masks? I could give you a box if you don't.”

Hope disguised herself as a phone call.

Streams of sunlight filled the room 

with a sugary golden hue."

"Irises Will Bloom", Andrea Chan, St. Paul's Convent School (Secondary Section)



"In this time of Coronavirus, I need my phone more than any other time in my life. Without it, I couldn’t chat with my friends through WhatsApp. I’d lose all their contact numbers since I didn’t back them up. I would be disconnected from the virtual world of social media. Am I relying too much on technology to keep the bond with my friends?"

“A Night Without My Phone”, Cheung Si Ya Elinor, St. Paul's Convent School



"My heart pounded as I boarded a public bus without a mask. My face burnt red and I lost my train of thought as I tried to come up with a solution. I had ideas trapped in my head with no feasible way to bring them to life. Strangely, in a time when people are weary of their stocks of surgical masks, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a kind hearted man pulled out a mask from his reserves and gave it to me without a word, resuming his bus activity of playing Candy Crush."

A Small Inch Of Hope”, Gabrielle Gadi, ELCHK Lutheran Academy



"Reality feels like a strange dilemma in these times, caught between being more hectic than ever and radio silence. The places I’m so familiar with that were once brimming with color and action are now vacant and lonely. The streets may feel empty, but the city is still filled with life nonetheless. Even when motion in life seems still, life is still in motion. A black and white motion picture, maybe, but my flowers are blooming nicely, and I think this movie will turn out the way it always was going to end."

Still Motion is Still Motion”, Lois Lam, St. Mary's Canossian College



"Today I headed back to school to pick up textbooks for home learning—it was only then did I realise that this danger was very real. If there’s anything good about this pandemic that had robbed me of my spirits and school life, it is that I will get to see my sister again."

Apprehension”, Elizabeth Li, Marymount Secondary School



"I won’t permit you to hurt my family anymore. I refuse to let you hurt us, and no longer will you hold power over us. Whatever it takes, I will hold us together, and as this pandemic enters its dying throes, we will stand strong, united."

“To my parent’s captors”, Agatha Tsang, St. Paul's Convent School (Secondary Section)



"Every minute, every second I am reminded of the pain, the anguish, the suffering. I’m not invincible, I can’t endure it forever. But soon enough, rays of a bright future will shine through the thick clouds of today. Under the gloomy clouds, wait for young strays of light. Even the emotionless cloud will weep one day. Endurance. Tolerance. For now, we have no other choice, do we?"

“Above the Summit of Solitude”, Yau Yeuk Laam Ariel, The Hong Kong Chinese Christian Churches Union Logos Academy