Conferences & Workshops

Writers & Illustrators Conference

Date: 1 – 3 Jun 2014
For: Writers, illustrators, publishers, librarians, literary agents, distributors and retailers, translators, teachers, and other professionals working with children’s content.
Ticketing: Fees & Registration
Downloads: Programme Booklet (12.9MB PDF)
Other Downloads
Illustrated by Atanu Roy, India.

The Writers & Illustrators Conference gathers writers and illustrators to come together with publishing industry professionals to share, network, and celebrate children’s content from Asia and around the world.


Illustrated by Atanu Roy, India.

Day 1

9:15 - 10:00am
L16 The Pod
Magical Children: The Key to Story

Sally Gardner (Author)

Sally Gardner looks at how story is key: remaining true to the story and characters at all times. She talks about the setting up of character and the development of character through writing, with reference to the use of an ensemble cast that goes back to the the Commedia dell’arte, and how it's important to create stories without patronising children, by working to their strengths and brilliant imaginations.

L5 Possibility Room
Every Picture Tells a Story: Visual Literacy in Picture Books

James Mayhew (Illustrator)

Pictures: another way of telling a story, and an important way of helping children discover the magic of words! In this talk, James Mayhew explores illustration traditions and techniques, why generic "styles" of illustration lack emotional depth and how to use illustrated texts as a way to aid interpretation of the written word.

L5 Imagination Room
Finding Ourselves Lost

Deb Fitzpatrick (Author) Raewyn Caisley (Author)

Deb Fitzpatrick and Raewyn Caisley have found themselves in some remarkable places, from a cloud forest in Costa Rica to a highway in the middle of nowhere. For them it’s all about people and place. Come and hear how they found their stories... and perhaps themselves.

10:30 – 11:30am
L5 Possibility Room
Death and Despair

Chris Szekely (Author)

Chris will give an overview of New Zealand children's picture books that deal with the topic of loneliness and grief, with a particular emphasis on indigenous perspectives.

L5 Possibility Room
Fun and Laughter

David Caddy (Author)

The author of Whammy, Smash, Whacko and Pop Max, David discusses why it is so easy to write comedy for kids.

L5 Imagination Room
Celebrating Imperfection in Picture Books

Fazeila Isa (Lecturer, Early Childhood and Special Education, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris)

Join Fazeila Isa in this session as she talks about picture books as a pathway for readers to think and talk about people with disabilities, through characters that supersede stereotypes of PWDs.

L5 Imagination Room
Creating Quirky Characters

Jen Storer (Author)

Some writers begin with plot, others with a situation or a concept. But some begin with character. Learn how character-driven fiction evolves with time and perseverance in this session with Jen Storer.

10.30am - 1.00pm
B1 Multipurpose Room
Picture Books: How Words and Images Conspire to Capture Imagination

Rina Singh (Author, Illustrator)

How do you craft a picture book that is fresh, riveting and publishable in today's tough market? Join Canadian children's author Rina Singh for an in-depth look at picture books and how to develop characters, set a mood, polish language but most of all how to tell a good story where words and images conspire to capture imaginations.

Download handout

12:00 – 1:00pm
L5 Possibility Room
Chihiro Art Museum – The Role of A Picture Book Museum

Yuko Takesako (Vice Director, Chihiro Art Museum Azumino)

The Chihiro Art Museum, home to a collection of 26500 original art works by 203 artists from 33 countries, believes that the picture book is “the first art and literature the child contacts” and “a cultural heritage which can be enjoyed from a zero-year old baby to someone over one hundred years old”. In this presentation Yuko Takesako will introduce the 37-year history and the full scope of activities of the Chihiro Art Museum and how picture book museums benefit picture book artists.

L5 Imagination Room
A Brush with Creativity: My Colourful Story

Atanu Roy (Illustrator) Manjula Padmanabhan (Author, Illustrator)

In this session, join illustrators Atanu Roy and Manjula Padnanabhan as they talk about the creative process and drawing inspiration from the history of Indian illustration, addressing their roles in the changing face of Indian illustration.

2:30 – 3:30pm
L5 Possibility Room
Korean Children’s Books: The Power of Picture

Il Sung Na (Illustrator)

In this showcase of Korean illustrator Il Sung Na’s artwork, find out where the illustrator finds inspiration for his delicate and evocative artwork, which relies less on words and more on pictures to relay stories that have touched the hearts of people around the world.

L5 Imagination Room
An Appetite for Series: Feeding off the Readers Hunger

Gabrielle Wang (Author) Jen Storer (Author) AJ Low (Author)

So you’ve got a story that you’d like to write – but it’s too big to cram into just one book! How do you plot a story over multiple books AND prevent your readers losing interest AND prevent sequel fatigue? Our authors have a few tricks up their sleeves, and they’ll let you in on a few of them in this session.

B1 Multipurpose Room
What Girls Are Doing in Our Stories: Gender in Indian Children’s Literature

V. Geetha (Editor) Leila Seth ()

In older stories for children, girls are usually portrayed in terms of stereotypes and traditional roles. Today, however, because of an emphasis on gender equality in India, the portrayal of girls in contemporary stories is changing. In this session, the speakers will trace this paradigm shift in Indian children’s literature. 

4:00 – 5:00/5:30pm
L5 Possibility Room
It Takes Two: the Author-Agent Relationship

Andrew Weale (Author) Gillian Torckler (Author) Frances Plumpton (Literary Agent)

What do agents do for authors? What should an author look for in an agent? What does an agent look for in an author? Join our UK and New Zealand speakers as they tell you all about how agents and authors really work together.

L5 Imagination Room
Are You Afraid of the Dark? Deconstructing Spooky Yarns and Scary Tales

Mahtab Narsimhan (Author) Cristy Burne (Author)

Spooky yarns and scary tales – find out more about the art of writing skin-crawling, flesh-creeping stories. Why do scary stories stay with children and what makes them such effective stories? Mahtab Narsimhan and Cristy Burne discuss their experiences researching and writing this spine-tingling genre.

B1 Multipurpose Room
Developing Characters Through Figurative Language

Kathleen Ahrens (Author)

This workshop will help authors develop mental models for their characters through short lectures and writing exercises involving conceptual metaphors and similes. These mental models may be expressed in interior monologue, dialogue, or resonate through the novel's theme, and will enhance the reader's emotional connection to the character.

Day 2

9:15 - 10:00am
L16 The Pod
Asia Beckons: Children’s Books for an Expanding Asian Market

Andrea Pasion-Flores (Literary Agent, Jacaranda Literary Agency)

As Asia modernises in leaps and bounds, it follows that literary markets will expand to fill a demand for Asian literature and Asian children’s literature. What values and aspects of children’s literature matters to the Asian market and why is it so important to see them in our children’s books?

L5 Imagination Room
Canadian Books: Canadian Asian Writers

Mahtab Narsimhan (Author)

Canadian Children’s Literature has been enriched by the contributions of members of a culturally diverse society. Mahtab Narsimhan will discuss the works of a few South Asian Writers who call Canada home, and will explore trends and other factors that have influenced their work over the past thirty years. 

L5 Possibility Room
Using Asian Myth, Magic, and Imagination in Children’s Fiction

Gabrielle Wang (Author)

Join Gabrielle Wang in a journey that explores the rich possibilities for Asian folklore and imagination in today’s children’s literature.

10:30 – 11:30am
L1 Visitors Briefing Room
New Zealand: Small Nation, Big Writers

Chris Szekely (Author) Frances Plumpton (Literary Agent)

New Zealand isn’t only soaring landscapes for Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth! Authors Chris Szekely and Frances Plumpton tell you all about New Zealand’s tradition of children’s literature and the potential of New Zealand children’s literature!

L5 Possibility Room
From the Golden Age to Librarian’s Nightmare: Illustrated Books Over the Years

Leonard Marcus (Historian, Writer, Book Critic, Exhibition Curator)

What makes a picture book a picture book? How has shifting societal values changed the stories that are told in picture books? Leonard Marcus goes back to past to trace the evolution of picture books into what we recognise today as some of our most beloved children’s literature.

B1 Multipurpose Room
The Death of Dystopia: Trends in YA

Sayoni Basu (Publisher, Duckbill Books) Cheryl Robson (Publisher, Metro Publishing) Stacy Whitman (Editor, Tu Books)

What is the state of YA publishing in the wake of the juggernaut of The Fault in Our Stars? In this panel of YA publishers and editors, learn what our experts think about the current atmosphere for Asian YA stories and what they think the next big trend will be.

L16 The Pod
Past, Present, Future: Reinventing Indian Publishing for Children

Subir Shukla (Author) Sampurna Chattarji (Author)
Moderator:

In this session, speakers will talk about vibrant and multi-lingual children’s publishing in India, the new crop of publishers, writers and illustrators and the new experiments in children’s publishing. They will also talk about different genres ranging from pre-school picture books to literature for young adults.

10:30 – 11:30am
L5 Imagination Room
Poetry for Children in Asia: A Lifelong Love for Reading

Mariko Nagai (Author)

What role can poetry for children play in universal literacy, accessible content, and most importantly in promoting cross-cultural understanding in the world that’s increasingly becoming culturally homogenous? In this presentation, Mariko Nagai, a poet, prose writer, and translator, will discuss ways in which poetry can open doors to the lifelong love for language and reading for children in Asia.

L5 Imagination Room
Creating Cross-Cultural Picture Books

Frané Lessac (Illustrator)

Children need to have books of their own culture, but we also need to provide them with the opportunity of exposure to other cultures. As authors and illustrators, we need to connect children to their rich and varied lives, their emerging identities and to each other. We want to create books that all children can identify with and enjoy.

12:00 – 1:00pm
L1 Visitors Briefing Room
Connecting With Preteens: The Awesome MRT Diaries

Adeline Foo (Author) Sandhya Prabhat (Illustrator, Animator)

In The Awesome MRT Diaries – a new series published in support of the Singapore Memory Project, a nation-wide initiative to collect memories from children – author Adeline Foo and illustrator Sandhya Prabhat set out to design a book series that appealed to preteen children. Learn about the challenges and hurdles they faced on the way and how they overcame them.

L5 Imagination Room
Fine Lines & Happy Mediums: The Universal Appeal of Award Winning Illustrations

Junko Yokota (Professor of Reading and Language, National College of Education, National-Louis University, Chicago, USA) Myra Garces-Bacsal (Educator, Reviewer, Blogger)

What qualities make an illustration award-winning? Are these qualities universal or will they differ between illustrations from the East and West? Junko Yokota, who recently served as one of the judges at the inaugural Nami Concours, and Myra Garces-Bacsal, a 2012 and 2013 CYBILS Picture Book judge, shed light on the subject.

B1 Multipurpose Room
YA – Books as Windows and Mirrors

Mitali Perkins (Author) Sampurna Chattarji (Author)

Do books serve as a window to a different life or a mirror for your own? Mitali Perkins and Sampurna Chattarji examine why it’s important that young adult audiences have books that not only provide insight to the lives of others but also serve as mirrors of their own lives and cultures.

L5 Possibility Room
First Pages

Kathleen Ahrens (Author) Sayoni Basu (Publisher, Duckbill Books) Stacy Whitman (Editor, Tu Books) Frances Plumpton (Literary Agent)

Writers are invited to submit the first page of an unpublished manuscript to be read aloud and commented upon by a panel of international publishing experts before an audience.

L16 The Pod
The Child in Me: My Writings

Arup Kumar Dutta (Author) Deepa Agarwal (Author)

In this session, two of India’s eminent writers for children will take us through their journeys as storytellers, exploring the influences that have shaped their writings. Arup Kumar Dutta and Deepa Agarwal discuss their experiences as a writers and the response they receive from young readers.

2:30 – 3:30pm
L5 Imagination Room
India in Pictures: Comics and Graphic Novels

Nina Sabnani (Author, Illustrator, Filmmaker) Manas Mohan (Chief Operating Officer, ACK Media)

Comics throughout the world have had a singular influence of using stories to touch the hearts of both children and adults. This panel looks at the influence of comics and graphic novels such as the Amar Chitra Katha stories in India and discusses its existence as a product of popular culture that affects not only a country’s history and memory but also its cultural moorings.

L5 Possibility Room
Taking a Line for a Walk

Sandhya Prabhat (Illustrator, Animator) Malavika PC (Writer, Illustrator (மாளவிகா (எழுத்தாளர், படங்கள் வரைபவர்) )

In this session, Sandhya Prabhat and Malavika PC talk inspiration and imagination – where does it come from and how does an artist come by it? Join these two young illustrators as they talk about their journeys as illustrators and where their road to success has taken them.

B1 Multipurpose Room
Breathing Life into History

Mark Greenwood (Author)

History is full of adventures and curious, larger-than-life characters. It is a vibrant and rich vein of material for writers and storytellers. Through his inspiring stories from the past, Mark will discuss the process of research and the ‘journeys of discovery’ that help balance creative interpretation with historical authenticity.

L1 Visitors Briefing Room
Digital Printing: Value Proposition For Children’s Books

Teri Tan (Journalist, Publishers Weekly)

In a region known for high-quality yet affordable offset printing, it is normal for Asian children's book people to ignore digital printing. But selecting the optimum printing method for a title is critical to its shelf life and your bottom line. You need to know and embrace digital printing.

L16 The Pod
Rice: Science, Art, and Magic

Tony Lambino (Head of Communication, International Rice Research Institute)

Since its founding in 1960, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has been communicating rice science to various audiences, including children. For communicators at the Institute, the ultimate challenge is not the quotidian agony of simplifying scientific jargon for various audiences, but creating content that captures the art and magic of remarkable scientific advances that have saved millions from starvation.

2:30 – 3:30pm
B1 Multipurpose Room
Breathing Life into History

Mark Greenwood (Author)

History is full of adventures and curious, larger-than-life characters. It is a vibrant and rich vein of material for writers and storytellers. Through his inspiring stories from the past, Mark will discuss the process of research and the ‘journeys of discovery’ that help balance creative interpretation with historical authenticity.

B1 Multipurpose Room
Whatever Happened to Non-Fiction?

Cristy Burne (Author)

Do children still read non-fiction? In the Internet age, what is the future for non-fiction children’s content? Explore, discuss and explode with science writer Cristy Burne

4:00 – 5:00/5:30pm
L5 Possibility Room
First Look

Leonard Marcus (Historian, Writer, Book Critic, Exhibition Curator) Kathleen Ahrens (Author) Junko Yokota (Professor of Reading and Language, National College of Education, National-Louis University, Chicago, USA) Javier Zabala (Illustrator) James Mayhew (Illustrator)

Illustrators are invited to submit six illustrations from an unpublished project to be reviewed by a panel of international publishing experts before an audience.

L5 Imagination Room
The Vast Spread of the Sea: Asian Diaspora Writers and the Works

Mitali Perkins (Author) Gabrielle Wang (Author) Il Sung Na (Illustrator)

In this panel, we ask Asian authors who have worked in the UK, Australia, and the USA to speak on their experiences as creators of Asian descent. What issues, if any, remain universal to the Asian diaspora experience? What challenges have these creators faced and how did they overcome them to get published? Find out!

B1 Multipurpose Room
The Future of Fantastic (YA) Fiction

Lara Morgan (Author) Payal Dhar (Author, Editor) Sally Gardner (Author)

Magic schools, paranormal adventure, pessimistic visions of the future – the biggest trends in Young Adult literature in the past decade have revolved around fiction that draws upon the weird and fantastical. Join these speculative fiction authors as they discuss the ins and outs of science fiction and fantasy for young adult audiences.

L1 Visitors Briefing Room
Four Colour Stories – Graphic Novels and Superhero Comics

Budjette Tan (Comic Artist) Adan Jimenez (Author)

Superhero comics may be seen as a predominantly American phenomenon, but is that really true? And do the Big Two hold a total monopoly over superhero literature? Budjette Tan and Adan Jimenez tackle these questions and more in this session.

Day 3

9:15 - 10:00am
L5 Possibility Room
Riceballs & Meatballs: Cultural Diversity in the American Market

Stacy Whitman (Editor, Tu Books)

What’s in store for cross-cultural books trying to break into the US market? Stacy Whitman of Tu Books brings the knowledge and know-how on fitting your multicultural book for the North American market.

L5 Imagination Room
Oil Paints and Pixel Art: The Influence of Past Masters on Illustration Today

Javier Zabala (Illustrator)

In this visually stunning examination of illustration today and historical art masters, Javier Zabala delves into how past masterpieces touch the lives of illustrators working in the present. Learn all about how history influences illustration today and its graphic languages and discover how past masters have helped to grow and develop picture book genres.

L1 Visitors Briefing Room
Jungle Chat: Animals and Birds in Indian Children’s Literature

Usha Venkatraman (Storyteller) Dr Divik Ramesh (Translator, Author, Poet)

Once upon a time, our stories were populated with animals and birds and nature. They not only instilled love and respect in readers but also were subtle lessons on the importance of nature in our lives. This discussion looks at the role and influence of animals play in contemporary children’s literature.

10:30 – 11:30am
L5 Possibility Room
What’s Inside the Wizard’s iPad?: Picture Book Magic in eBooks and Apps

Junko Yokota (Professor of Reading and Language, National College of Education, National-Louis University, Chicago, USA)


As we enter the Age of the App and books increasingly go e, learn how the picture book in particular is adapting to evolving technology. What qualities make a picture book app appropriate for how children are engaged and motivated, but also appropriate for how they learn best? Find out all this and more.

L5 Imagination Room
Found in Translation – Asian Content for the World’s Children

Cathy Hirano (Translator)

Why does the world, and especially young readers, need more Asian content? How can translators "channel" the voice of Asian authors? Join Cathy Hirano, winner of the Batchelder Award for her work with the Moribito series, as she speaks about the importance of children's literature in translation and what makes it possible.

L1 Visitors Briefing Room
How to Pitch

Fran Lebowitz (Editor, Sub Agent)
Moderator: Kathleen Ahrens (Author)

Learn tips and tricks on how to write a successful novel pitch in this talk with Fran Lebowitz, a former literary agent with Writers House, the agency that has represented literary stars such as Ken Follett, Neil Gaiman, Nora Roberts, and Stephenie Meyer.

12:00 – 1:00pm
L5 Possibility Room
Author Branding

Bill Belew (Social Media specialist)

With a dizzying array of online portals and platforms available to any creator, it can be a headache to even think of promoting yourself or your art online. But it can be done. Join Bill Belew as he explains a creator’s guide to successful web promotion and social media navigation.

l5 Imagination Room
Go West: Translations for North American and European Markets

Cathy Hirano (Translator) Stacy Whitman (Editor, Tu Books) Cheryl Robson (Publisher, Metro Publishing)

What challenges do translators face when taking their work to North American and European markets? What opportunities await them? Find out all this and more in this session with Stacy Whitman, Cheryl Robson, and Cathy Hirano.

2:30 – 3:30pm
L5 Possibility Room
Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire: New Models of Publishing

Eric Huang (Development Director, Made in Me) Stacy Whitman (Editor, Tu Books)

Even as the publishing industry adapts to the landscape of ebooks and electronic readers, we ask these publishing experts what they think is in store for e-publishing as the future beckons. What technologies will become more widely used and what will be tossed aside? Where does online publishing leave traditional publishers?

L5 Imagination Room
Making the Most Out of a School Visit

Andrew Weale (Author) Ho Lee Ling (Author)

For authors who hope to make the most of school visits, this session is for you! Join Andrew Weale and Ho Lee Ling as they go over how to conduct a great school visit that is fun for both you and the kids.

4:00 – 5:00/5:30pm
L5 Possibility Room
Writing About Different Cultures

Fatima Sharafeddine (Author) Mitali Perkins (Author) Gabrielle Wang (Author)

As our global society embraces multiculturalism more and more, the question of how to tell effective stories that speak to multicultural communities become ever more important. How should writers, illustrators, and other story creators responsibly address writing about different cultures? Join in the discussion in this panel.

L5 Imagination Room
Illustration and Book Design

Mariko Takagi (Designer, Author) Frané Lessac (Illustrator) Junko Yokota (Professor of Reading and Language, National College of Education, National-Louis University, Chicago, USA)

 While it seems intuitive that book design and illustrations should go hand-in-hand, this isn’t always reality. Page formatting isn’t always friendly to illustrations, and illustrators can find design details such as typography to disagree with their works! Join our experts as they discuss how illustration and book design can work together to create a truly beautiful book.
 

L16 The Pod
Speed Pitching (Writers)

Stacy Whitman (Editor, Tu Books) Linda Tan Lingard (Literary Agent, Publisher) Sayoni Basu (Publisher, Duckbill Books) Frances Plumpton (Literary Agent) Edmund Wee (Publisher, Epigram Books) Daphne Lee (Editor, Scholastic Malaysia)

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