In Singapore: the Asian Festival of Children’s Content Returns in May

In News by Porter Anderson

After digital and hybrid editions for three years, Singapore’s Asian Festival of Children’s Content goes fully physical again.

Thai My Phuong is the illustrator of this lead art for the 2023 Asian Festival of Children’s Content

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Returning to Physical Production This Year
For the first time in four years, Singapore’s Asian Festival of Children’s Content is expected to be an all-physical event, running May 25 to 28 at the National Library.

The 14th edition of the program is themed on the concept of play, and is expected to host more than 100 Singapore and international writers, translators, and speakers. Speakers confirmed at this point include:

  • Marie-Aude Murail of France, last year’s Hans Christian Andersen winner
  • Writer and poet Nikki Grimes, a notably prolific author in the American market
  • Hanna Alkaf , who specializes in young-adult (YA) fiction in Malaysia
  • Xiran Jay Zhao  of Canada
  • Lee Uk-bae of South Korea

Local writers include:

  • Children’s book authors-illustrators Josef Lee and Quek Hong Shin
  • Samsung Kidstime Author’s Award-winner Lianne Ong
  • Singapore Book Award 2019 winner Josephine Chia

An illustration from Vietnam, the Asian Festival of Children’s Content’s country of focus in its 2023 edition. Selected illustrations are by Ta Huy Long, Mi Nguyen, Nguyen Thanh, Nguyen Nhu Quynh and Nguyen Hong Anh. Image: Singapore Book Council

As many as 70 events are expected to be featured in the programming, and they include instructional sessions  (workshops, lectures, masterclasses) as well as panel discussions.

That programming is framed in five themes:

  • “Play for All,” meaning ensuring that the arts are inclusive. The festival will offer 30 complimentary passes to writers and artists with disabilities, in the spirit of this theme’s focus on diversity and inclusion. The festival will also introduce a  number of accessibility features this year, including signed interpretation. A couple of  sessions will examine how to make books and the arts more accessible. 
  • “In Search of Words That Sing” is a focus on translation and its  development in children’s books, along with “mother tongue literacy.”
  • “Color My Senses” is illustrators’ part of the program, with storytelling across various and contrasting media in its programming
  • “Savor Our Stories” is a group of programs that “strengthen our socio-cultural fabric through promoting intergenerational bonding” and support for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
  • “AI Made Me Do It” is what organizers promise is a critical lens on so-called “artificial intelligence” and gamification.

The festival’s “country of focus” this time is Vietnam, a recognition of 50 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Hanoi.

The programming is designed to examine the history of children’s literature in Vietnam and publishing opportunities, along with a showcase of the Vietnamese picture book  illustrations.

Five titles from Vietnam and five from Singapore are to be translated and distributed through reading initiatives to children. These books will be presented at a Country of Focus Vietnam Night on May 27.

There are early-bird registration offers running through April 30, and regular ticket prices are 80 to 220 Singapore dollars (US$60 to US$165).

An illustration from Vietnam, the Asian Festival of Children’s Content’s country of focus in its 2023 edition. Selected illustrations are by Ta Huy Long, Mi Nguyen, Nguyen Thanh, Nguyen Nhu Quynh and Nguyen Hong Anh. Image: Singapore Book Council


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore is here, more from us on Singapore and its publishing scene is here, and more on children’s books is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.