By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Honoring Singapore This YearSingapore’s Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) will stage its ninth iteration September 6 to 8 with “Imagine Asia” as its theme and its home base, Singapore, as its country of focus.
The significance of the Singaporean emphasis is related to ongoing events around the 50th anniversary of the Singapore Book Council.
The three-day children’s program is devised to showcase more than 100 local writers, illustrators, and publishers. There’s an exhibition about illustration pioneer Kwan Shan Mei, and a “Singapore Night” gala dinner and awards ceremony planned as part of the event this year.
Set at the National Library on Victoria Street, the festival has more than 130 ticketed and free events, with some 150 international speakers in the mix. A brochure is available for download (PDF) here.
There also are awards included as part of the program. Shortlists have been announced for both the Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award and the Scholastic Asian Book Award, each competition carrying a top prize of 10,000 Singapore dollars (US$7,312), to be shared by author and illustrator.
This year’s Hedwig Anuar Award drew 71 submissions and has a shortlist of six works by writers from Singapore, Hong Kong, India, and the Philippines. It’s intended to honor an unpublished manuscript by a writer of Asian descent. Winners are to be announced on September 8 at the gala dinner.
In years past, the Asian Festival of Children’s Content has had 5,303 delegates, hosted 221 book launches, and has put forward five awards programs with 30 winners.
International speakers this year include UK publisher and editor Sarah Odedina; Japanese storyteller and illustrator Satoshi Kitamura; media and content producer Marc Checkley from New Zealand; US children’s book author and publisher Cynthea Liu; Malaysian author and illustrator Yusof Gajah; Filipino author and illustrator Robert Magnuson; and Lucia Obi, who directs Chinese and Korean children’s literature at the International Youth Library in Germany.
They will be involved in various programs from masterclasses on pitching to story creation with transmedia, illustration, getting published, and creating stories for television and digital markets.
A special children’s literature lecture, “Nurturing Roots of Self and Culture in our Children Through Stories About Us,” is to be delivered by writer Suchen Christine Lim.
And a retrospective exhibition of work by the late illustrator Kwan Shan Mei is called “Kwan Shan Mei: Drawing From The Heart.”
The festival is built in four segments including:
- Writers and Illustrators Conference
- Teachers and Parents Forum
- Cross-Platform Summit
- Country of Focus (Singapore)
AFCC Award Shortlists 2018
Shortlisted for the Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award
This award is given biennially to an outstanding children’s book by a Singapore citizen or permanent resident.
- Xie Shi MIn, Dragonhearted (Scholastic, 2016)
- Ben Lai, I Can (Epiphany Arts, 2017)
- Quek Hong Shin, The Amazing Sarong (Epigram Books, 2015)
- Andy Chua with illustrator Ray Ong, Fossil Finders 3: Triassic Trouble (Bubbly Books, 2017)
- Lorraine Tan with illustrator Eric Wong, Karang Guni Boy (Epigram Books, 2016)
- Low Ying Ping with illustrator Chee Jia Yi, Mount Emily (Book 1) (Epigram Books, 2016)
Shortlisted for the Scholastic Asian Book Award
Begun in 2011, this award is a joint initiative by the Singapore Book Council and Scholastic Asia. It has as its goals the recognition of strong Asian fiction for children and a display of the diversity of literary talent in Asia.
- Yuet Lan Dora Tsang, Hong Kong: Blue
- Tina Jimin Walton, Singapore: Last Days of the Morning Calm
- Mabel Gan, Singapore, My Ghost Story
- Josephine Chia, Singapore, Queen of the Sky
- Varsha Seshan, India, Red Eyes
- Joel Donato Ching Jacob, the Philippines, Wing of the Locust
More about the festival and its events is here.
More from Publishing Perspectives on the Singapore books market is here.