• Faye Bradley

10 Minutes with…Lindsay Varty, Writer

An interview with Lindsay Varty, British/Macanese writer, professional rugby player and founder of Sunset Survivors

Name: Lindsay Varty | Occupation: Writer, Professional Rugby Player & Author of Sunset Survivors | Location: Hong Kong | Known for: Sunset Survivors, written works for CNN, SCMP, Hong Kong Free Press & more

Hong Kong is home to an abundance of talent, spanning across different career paths from journalists to restauranteurs. This week, we got up and personal with Lindsay Varty, a professional rugby player and author of Sunset Survivors.

Image courtesy of Lindsay Varty

A Little Background…

t’s not everyday that you come across a full-time professional rugby player, journalist for CNN and SCMP (to name a few), and author of a personal project-turned bestselling book—all in one person. The British-Macanese author, Lindsay Varty, fulfills all the roles, with a proud Hong Kong upbringing. She lives and breathes Hong Kong and is fascinated by its deep-rooted culture and history, on the lookout for some of the most inspiring old-school traditions which keep the city’s identity alive.

Lindsay’s parents always wanted their children to grow up and discover the most authentic version of the city by meeting the people and learning about the captivating traditions the city continues to withhold—and Sunset Survivors is a tribute to that wish. Lindsay’s childhood led her to grow a passion for meeting the people behind the lesser-known traditions, particularly talent kept by the elderly—she then began her three-year research and writing project into the stories behind the faces.

Varty’s work has been featured on CNN, The Guardian and in the Hong Kong Museum of History. She was a featured author in the recent Hong Kong International Literary Festival. She now gives talks and walking tours on the theme of her book in an effort to keep Hong Kong culture and educate locals on the fine, long-standing traditions that made the city what it is now, and thus, to not let it fade out before it’s too late.

Image courtesy of Gary Jones

About Sunset Survivors

Deemed as a self-proclaimed “coffee table book”, Sunset Survivors is much more than aesthetics. Founded and written by Lindsay Varty (and photographed by Gary Jones), the hardcover book takes you on a journey into the intriguing stories behind Hong Kong’s traditional tradesmen and women through beautiful imagery and in-depth interviews. Readers will learn some of the best-kept traditions of the city, from fortune telling to face threading, and celebrate Hong Kong’s cultural diversity in its most unique, untouched form.

Image courtesy of Gary Jones

The Questions

1) What inspired you to write Sunset Survivors?

Growing up in HK, I always loved going to small traditional stalls rather than big ones. As I got older, many of them disappeared, so I wanted to document them and their stories before they were gone forever.

2) How do you spend your weekends?

Outdoors as much as possible: hiking, paddleboarding, or just on my roof!

3) What’s your most loved Hong Kong tradition?

Yum cha with friends and family or maybe lai see at Chinese New Year!

4) What’s your favourite Hong Kong snack?

Wah mui (dried preserved plum) or egg waffles.

Image courtesy of Lindsay Varty

5) Could you tell me a bit about your “walking tours” and “booking talks”?

I take people to visit some of the Sunset Survivors from my book—that way they can hear the stories first hand and learn about these industries too—maybe help them out a bit too if they see something they like! I also give talks to schools and societies about Hong Kong culture and identity.

6) Pet peeve?

People that refuse to try new food. Give it a go! You may love it!

7) What is your current state of mind?

Anxious but hopeful. (Deadly virus in the air)

8) What is something you would like to learn, but not yet had time for?

I bought a guitar with every intention of learning. I’m so bad though!

9) What is your motto?

No scars, no stories.

10) What is something that every person should do when in Hong Kong?

Forget the main roads and walk through the back streets to see the real Hong Kong.

Image courtesy of Lindsay Varty

Follow Lindsay on Instagram @lindsvhk

Follow Sunset Survivors on Instagram @sunsetsurvivors