Interview with poet Kit Fan

the ink cloud reader

Kit Fan is a poet, novelist and critic. He was born and educated in Hong Kong before moving to the UK at 21. Kit Fan’s third collection The Ink Cloud Reader was published by Carcanet in April 2023. He is the author of two books of poems, As Slow As Possible (2018) and Paper Scissors Stone (2011). His debut novel is Diamond Hill (2021). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2022.


1.  What are your discoveries in this process of exchanging ideas with another poet?

Ideas seem too grand and abstract a word.  I didn't see it as the process of exchanging ideas, but rather exchanging feelings, time, geography, and weather.  I have re-discovered the beauty of letter writing, which is about many things, including tuning into a conversation, both anticipatory and retrospective.  The narrative of self-discovery is over-rated in our times.  When I write to a friend, I want to discover anything other than myself.

2.  What are your favourite books (poetry/fiction/non-fiction) written by queer writers?

I love a book not because it's written by someone queer, it's because the book speaks to me.  Here are some books that continue speaking to me after numerous readings:

Geography III by Elizabeth Bishop

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The five Ripley novels by Patricia Highsmith

3. To you personally, what is/are the most difficult emotion(s) to write about, and why?

Honesty in its purest form is the most difficult thing to write about because it doesn't exist in literature.  If you think it has existed all the time, you are fooling yourself.

Hear Kit Fan’s poem, ‘Mother’s Ink’ from Ink Cloud Reader (Carcanet, 2023)