Thompson Rivers University

TRU alum hones his craft in Hong Kong

August 31, 2021

TRU Open Learning alum Patrick Blennerhassett.

If you want to know what Patrick Blennerhassett is up to these days, just look him up in the South China Morning Post. The 2017 graduate of TRU’s Bachelor of General Studies program is living his dream of being an author and journalist in one of the busiest cities on earth. While he always thought he’d be a writer, he didn’t make it easy for himself.

“My path has been one big, disjointed mess that has gotten me where I want to be,” Blennerhassett said.

He started his journey at the University College of the Cariboo, now TRU, in 2000. After two years of studies, he took a 12-year break to get some life experience and see the world beyond Kamloops, while also studying journalism and communications in the Lower Mainland.

“The fact is, I didn’t think I was ready when I went to university. I needed a break to travel and learn about myself,” Blennerhassett said.

He returned to his studies in 2014 through TRU’s Open Learning program and eventually obtained his degree. That’s where his passion for writing really took off. Since 2017, he’s worked as a freelance writer for Business in Vancouver, the Guardian, Reader’s Digest, and the Globe and Mail. He also wrote and published a trilogy of fiction books (Monument, Random Acts of Vandalism and The Fatalists) and one non-fiction book, A Forgotten Legend: Balbir Singh Sr., Triple Olympic Gold & Modi’s New India, which became a best seller in British Columbia.

A naturally curious person, Blennerhassett isn’t afraid to take chances. In 2018, he jumped on an opportunity to write for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong.

“It was a massive leap of faith,” he said. “I knew they were growing and hiring, and they had a big freelance budget, but when I made the decision, it was like jumping without a parachute. I knew I had the skills to hit the ground running, so I guess I built my own parachute as I was plummeting to the ground.”

After freelancing for different departments, he landed a job on the sports desk covering CrossFit, rugby, mixed martial arts and local sports. He says there’s always something new to cover as there isn’t one dominant sport in Hong Kong at certain times of the year like there is in North America.

“It’s been a wild ride. Pre-COVID there were lots of opportunities to travel to places like Dubai, South Korea and many cities within China,” Blennerhassett said. “Hong Kong met my expectations. I thought it would be a wild and crazy city and it is!”

While he has another book waiting in the wings, and some ideas kicking around for a new book, Blennerhassett is mainly focused on becoming a better journalist.

He hopes current students consider their experience at TRU an opportunity to focus on what’s important and to find what they love to do. Then make it their job.

“I’m a good example of what it means to follow your heart,” Blennerhassett said. “I was never a top student in high school. I never got the best grades in anything I did. But I am a curious person, and I took chances. Follow your dreams because, if you don’t, your life is just going to happen, and then it’s really not your life at all.”

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