Books By The Book Interview literature Singapore

By The Book: AFCC to Light Up Children’s Literature Industry; hybrid festival to include new forums for publishing and translation

AFCC 2022 key visual by J.H. Low

The annual Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) will be returning for its 13th edition from 26 to 29 May 2022 in a new hybrid format. The festival celebrates the theme “Lit Up!”, inviting participants to embrace a world made brighter with the illumination of literature, after more than two years in isolation. 

AFCC 2022 brings with it new programmes, including the AFCC Publishing Forum that will gather publishers and industry experts to examine in vogue topics like publishing and book promotion in the metaverse, as well as sustainability in publishing. Children’s book translators can look forward to the AFCC Translation Forum, which will span two days from 28 to 29 May. 

Featured international speakers include established children’s literature translator and 2022 Carle Bridge Honoree  阿甲 (Ajia); Caldecott Honor winner Jillian Tamaki; veteran South Korean children’s fiction author Lee Geum-yi; Young People’s Poet Laureate (2017-2019) Margarita Engle; Carnegie Medal shortlisted writer Piers Torday; and award-winning Canadian illustrator and author Sydney Smith. They are joined by Singaporean speakers Abhi Krish, founder of Tamil-English online platform Nool Monsters; Low Ying Ping, a bestselling author of the Mount Emily fantasy series; and 11-year old writer Hannah Goh. Participants can look forward to virtual sessions with them, with its on-site sessions taking place at the National Library. 

This year’s sessions will tackle many current topics, including environmental advocacy; humour in picture books; Southeast Asian history in children’s literature; and addressing complex issues like war. Other highlights include:

i) “Picture Books: Of Buoys & ‘Strength-Finders’”, an in-person session on utilising picture books to support children’s social and emotional development;

ii) “The Role of Stories: Why We Write for Children”, a lecture by Piers Torday, an award-winning middle grade writer;

iii) “Humour, Heritage and Hawkers”, an in-person session exploring the marriage of Singapore’s unique culture with children’s literature;

iv) “Interactive Multilingual Storytelling”, an interactive workshop introducing children to code-switching and new mother tongue languages.

v) “How to Talk to Children About War”, a hybrid session featuring writers like Margarita Engle who have depicted the realities of war in children’s literature

vi) “The Struggle with Loss: Books as a Coping Mechanism”, an in-person session examining how children’s books help its young readers deal with loss

Please refer to Annex B for more information about the programmes and Annex C for speakers’ bios .

The lead-up to the festival will feature a two-day virtual hackathon where Southeast Asian writers will work in groups to produce a picture book under the guidance of non-profit publisher Pratham Books. The public can also look forward to the Book Illustrators Gallery (BIG). BIG will return as a digital exhibition for the third year, showcasing the best picture book illustrations from Asia and around the world. It will feature a special section dedicated to female illustrators from Asia. BIG 2022 will be launched on the AFCC website from 20 May 2022.

The festival’s hybrid format will consist of more than 70 online sessions and select in-person programmes collectively, featuring more than 70 local and international speakers. Tickets are on sale now, with up to 25% discounts for group purchases during the Early Bird promotion until 17 April.

AFCC 2022 runs from 26th to 29th May 2022. For more information, please visit afcc.com.sg.

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