Peter Moss (left) with author Simon Winchester
Peter Moss is the author of five novels and an autobiographical trilogy described by Jan Morris (Pax Brittanica) as “a marvellous achievement, both as a personal and a historical document”.
He lives and writes in both Hong Kong and Malaysia and has also earned praise for his screenplays, non-fiction works and poems. His novels include The Singing Tree (“A little gem”—New York Times) and The Age of Elephants (“A graceful, elaborate and dizzying tale of innocents yearning for home”—Kirkus Reviews).
Moss regards himself as a by-product of the British Empire in its final death throes. Born into an Anglo-Indian railway community in 1935, he left India shortly before Independence in 1947 and spent the next decade acquiring an English education, a foundation in journalism and a restless desire to get to grips with the rest of the world.
Travelling overland by bus from London to Delhi, then on by train to Calcutta and by ship to Penang, he arrived in Malaya just after that country gained its own freedom in 1957. There he witnessed and wrote about the closing years of the Malayan Emergency.
In 1965, shortly after Malaya's metamorphosis into Malaysia, he moved to Hong Kong, where he spent the next 30 years in the last epoch of colonial administration. For 14 of those years he was in charge of the publicity division of the government's information services, engineering social changes through community education campaigns, for which he was awarded an M.B.E.
In 1995 he moved to the southern extremity of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, where he became an ill-adapted incumbent amidst staggering scenery that made a beautiful backdrop to an otherwise empty life.
In 1997 he returned to Hong Kong to observe its reversion to Chinese sovereignty, and he has been fortunate to remain there ever since, still earning his living as a writer. Since 2011 he has also maintained a home in Malaysia.