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Asian Children's Writers & Illustrators Conference, 26 & 27 May 2011 (Thurs & Fri)

Conference Director: R Ramachandran, Executive Director, National Book Development Council
of Singapore, Singapore
Conference Consultant: Pooja Makhijani, Editor and Author, US/Singapore

Do you write stories or publish content for young readers? Or are you a writer/illustrator of children’s books? Whatever your publishing goals, objectives as a writer or teacher of children, the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference (ACWIC) 2011 is the place to be, to network and do business with publishing professionals, from first-time authors to seasoned editors. Book your place now!

For: Writers, illustrators, preschool and primary school teachers, publishers, librarians, literary agents, distributors and retailers, translators, and other professionals related to children’s content.

26 May / 8.30am – 9.30am

26 May / 9.30am – 10.15am / Chamber

Welcome Note
by R Ramachandran, Conference Director, Singapore

Keynote: What is the Future of Children's Publishing? 
by Stephen Mooser, President of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), US

Jeff Kinney’s best-selling series, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," was originally published online, not on paper. The online version of the book gets 70,000 hits a day. So, what is he doing still publishing books on paper? Children's books are important to the survival of publishing as a whole. However, we need to be mindful of differences in children’s publishing in the 20th century and the challenges that await the children's publishing industry in the upcoming years.

Alchemy of Writing
26 May / 10.30am – 11.30am / Living Room

The Importance of Place in Children's Literature: How to Make the Most of "Regional" Writing
by Liz Rosenberg, US
Facilitator: Dianne Wolfer, Australia

Southern American author Eudora Welty has written about "the importance of place" in her own writing. Prize-winning author Liz Rosenberg, poet, novelist and children's book author, talks about the role that location and culture plays in great writing for young people. Writers struggling to make use of local culture, scene, experience etc. will find this session invaluable in developing tools for their own writing. Bring a pen and some paper, as informal writing will be encouraged (though not required!).

26 May / 12.00pm – 1.00pm / Gallery

Mythical Stories and Images of Asia
by Choi YangSook, Korea/US
Facilitator: Holly Thompson, US/Japan

What is the connection between a Chinese dragon and the number nine? We know about Middle Earth and wizards and witches at Hogwarts. But how have Asian writers and illustrators used their own histories? Are there legends, myths, and stories that need to be told once again?
26 May / 2.30pm – 3.30pm / Play Den

Boys Will Be Boys: Writing to Engage Boys
by Ken Spillman, Australia
Facilitator: Desmond Kon, Singapore

From Biggles to Captain Underpants, the reading tastes of boys have always differed from those of their female contemporaries. It’s an unpalatable fact, however, that a majority of today’s reluctant readers are boys, and that some boys don’t read at all. Where does the fault lie? What are the broad consequences? What can writers, publishers, parents and educators do about it? Ken Spillman was a boy once, and is now well-known as a writer and speaker. In this session, he will discuss gender issues for writers and those committed to connecting books with tomorrow’s men.
26 May / 2.30pm – 3.30pm / Living Room

Exploring History Through Children's Literature
by Dianne Wolfer, Australia
Facilitator: Faye Yeoh, Singapore

Dianne Wolfer's historical picture books have won a children's choice award, been shortlisted for an historical fiction award, and translated into Japanese. So how does an author know which stories will appeal to children? And what research methods do she use? Dianne will answer these and other questions giving examples and background from her historical picture books, Lighthouse Girl and Photographs in the Mud.
26 May / 5.30pm – 6.30pm / Play Den

Of Power and Emotions: Writing Fiction for Young Adults
by Holly Thompson, US/Japan
Facilitator: Yeo Wei Wei, Assistant Director, The National Art Gallery, Singapore

Writing young adult (YA) fiction involves much more than creating a teenage protagonist. This session will explore current definitions of YA fiction and demonstrate the range of styles and genres evident in YA fiction published in major markets today. The unique role of YA fiction will be discussed, as well as basic considerations for writers such as typical word count, audience age level and point-of-view. Challenges in crafting believable dialogue, developing characters that resonate with teens, and establishing a distinct voice will be included. Some typical first-time YA author mistakes will be shared, along with advice and resource lists for writers in Asia tackling YA fiction.
27 May / 10.45am – 11.45am / Play Den

Turning Life Experiences Into Fiction
by Dianne Wolfer, Australia
Facilitator: Sunita Sharma, Singapore

During this practical session, award-winning YA and children's author Dianne Wolfer will suggest ways that emerging writers can draw on personal experience, family history and daily events to create fiction and non-fiction for a cross-section of markets. Dianne will share tips for developing ideas, characters and settings. She will also discuss various ways to market and share your completed stories.
27 May / 2.30pm – 5.30pm / Living Room

Writing Chapter Books For Boys
by Stephen Mooser, US

It is a common belief that boys don’t like to read. Perhaps the real problem is that there are not enough good books out there that interest boys. In this workshop, Stephen Mooser, author of more than 60 books for children, most of them chapter books aimed at boys, will lead the class through a series of exercises designed to develop characters and plots that will entice kids, especially boys, to pick up your book, and then to keep turning the pages.

Illustrators’ Palette

26 May / 4.30pm – 5.30pm / Gallery

The Illustrator Who Wants to Write
by Choi YangSook, Korea/US
Facilitator: Manas R. Mahapatra, National Book Trust, India

For anyone who is a visual artist first, writing can be tricky. Your visual thinking process will influence what and how you write. The challenge is to find a balance between drawing and writing to tell a story that reads well and captures readers’ minds. We will look at creative ways in developing your own writing skills that work best for you.
27 May / 9.30am – 12.30pm / Living Room

Creating Your Own Storyboard
by Choi YangSook, Korea/US

Children respond better to images than words, whether it's in picture books or graphic novels. How do artists strengthen the art of visual storytelling to lead and engage our young readers effectively? We will look at various book illustrations and focus on pagination, sequence, composition, and atmosphere. There will be a silent visual storytelling game for everyone to participate in, followed by an exercise of creating your own storyboard. Please bring your own sketch pad and drawing tools.
27 May / 10.45am – 11.45am / Screening Room

Illustrating in the Digital Age
by Nina Sabnani, India
Facilitator: Gavin Bishop, New Zealand

Image-making has been dramatically influenced by digital media and it is hard to imagine the absence of digital tools in the publication of illustrated books. Today, digital tools shape and influence approaches to image-making and image-manipulations which in turn redefine the role and skills sets of an illustrator. Digital media allows for a rich collaboration between the hand and the machine amongst other possibilities. For an artist who chooses to mediate between the two realms, it offers rich opportunities to bring together different sensibilities, where one may inspire the other. Nina Sabnani will also show two films Mukand and Riaz, and The Stiches Speak, that were later adapted as illustrated books for children. Both films and books were made using digital tools and hand-crafted embroideries by traditional artists.
27 May / 4.00pm – 5.00pm / Screening Room

Evoking Imagination in Illustration and Animation Films
by Nina Sabnani, India
Facilitator: Gavin Bishop, New Zealand

The process of creating and receiving images is interactive and the author/illustrator is always in a dialogue with the reader. In this respect, both illustration and animation have inherent qualities that trigger the imagination of the artist and the reader/viewer. To demonstrate this, Nina Sabnani will share about her collaborative work with the storytellers and traditional artists from Rajasthan to create the book Home which is used to elicit stories from children. The book is inspired by the Kaavad portable shrine, and is designed to encourage children to tell their own stories by interacting with the images. She will also show a short animation film that is based on one of the Kaavad tales.

Insider’s Guide to Getting Published

26 May / 10.30am – 11.30am / Gallery

It Takes Two (or More) to Tango: Collaborating with an Illustrator, Musician, or Animator by Christopher Cheng, Australia
Facilitator: Rhoda Myra Garces-Bacsal, Singapore

This session will examine the ins and outs of working with another creative force to produce a work. Christopher has recently provided the lyrics for a children's musical and the text for a picture book and he is currently developing a script for an animation. He will discuss the challenges and the joys of creating these works with other people.
26 May / 12.00pm – 1.00pm / Play Den

The Role of an Agent and De-mystifying the Publishing Process, Cradle to Grave
by Kelly Sonnack, US
Facilitator: Linda Tan, Director, Yusof Gajah Lingard Literary Agency, Malaysia

The journey that a traditionally published book takes is a long (and sometimes circuitous) one. Using real-life examples, Kelly will de-mystify that process by explaining industry lingo, how a book gets sold (including how an auction works), what subrights are and why they’re important, what agents and editors do (and don’t do), and other important parts of a book’s life.
26 May / 4.00pm – 5.00pm / Play Den

Going Independent? Some Dos and Don'ts, Wills and Won'ts
by Emily Lim & Leigh Cunningham, Singapore
Facilitator: Stephen Mooser, US

What do you need to consider when self-publishing your work? How do you market your books and what platforms are most helpful? Award-winning independent authors, Leigh Cunningham and Emily Lim share their dos and don'ts and wills and won'ts to help you on your own publishing journey.
26 May / 4.00pm – 5.00pm / Living Room

Bringing Art to Children: The Making of Salted Fish, A Picture Book by the National Art Gallery, Singapore
by Yeo Wei Wei, Ye Shufang and James Teo, Singapore
Facilitator: Faye Yeoh, Singapore

Salted Fish is the first title in the Dreaming Art Series, which celebrates the enduring legacy of Asian artists through the creation of new art in picture books. For each title, a writer and an artist/illustrator work together to produce a story featuring an iconic work of art. The series aims to provide fun and engaging avenues of introducing art to children. In this panel the author Yeo Wei Wei, illustrator Ye Shufang, and book designer James Teo from ampulets, will share their experience of working together to create Salted Fish.
26 May / 5.45pm – 6.45pm / Gallery

Developing Your Book into an Animation Property
by Wong Kok Cheong, Singapore
Facilitator: Evelyn Wong, Singapore

It takes more than one to turn the content of a storybook into a TV series and/or movie. There are various forms of participation which the original writer, creator or illustrator can partake in the production process. We’ll also discuss the transforming of illustrations of a book into a form which is suitable to be adapted in an animation production and the exploration of ideas into multiple platforms in the various media forms.
27 May / 9.30am – 10.30am / Play Den

Getting Published: A Candid Discussion with a Writer and a Publisher
by Liz Rosenberg & Neal Porter, US
Facilitator: Linda Tan, Director, Yusof Gajah Lingard Literary Agency, Malaysia

If you are a writer who is planning to pitch your manuscript to agents or publishers or an artist looking to illustrate picture books, you need to know how the business side of publishing works, including what you can expect to get for your work, and where the pitfalls are and how to avoid them. After getting a contract, understanding the relationship between the editor and the author is the next critical step. Renowned editor at Roaring Brook Press, Neal Porter, will conduct a lively and open discussion with one of his prize-winning authors, Liz Rosenberg, on how their own editorial relationship evolved, and on all you’ll need to know as you take your first steps in book publishing.
The Marketplace
26 May / 10.30am – 11.30am / Play Den

The Global Market for Asian Children's Books: What travels, What Doesn't…and Why?
by Neal Porter, US
Facilitator: Kenneth Quek, Singapore

Globalisation is a term heard with increasing frequency these days; in most countries one doesn’t have to walk very far to find a McDonalds or Starbucks.  Yet many children’s books that achieve remarkable success in their home market fail to travel abroad, while others become international sensations. American editor Neal Porter, who has attended the Bologna Book Fair for more than 25 years and has worked for German, British, and French owned companies, will discuss the role that cultural identity plays in the world of children’s books.
26 May / 10.30am – 11.30am / Screening Room

Author/Illustrator School Visits: Developing Your Best Programmes
by Holly Thompson, US/Japan
Facilitator: Evelyn Wong, Singapore

Authors and illustrators often visit schools to give presentations and workshops, sometimes as volunteers, often as a source of income. What do teachers and librarians want? What will appeal to kids? How can you sift through your works to create presentations that will give students a memorable and meaningful experience with an author or illustrator? Planning and developing school programmes; timing your presentations; creating good props; preparing for specific audiences; coping with technology, contracts, fees; and more will be covered. Whether you are pre-published or published, if you are writing for children or teens, it is never too soon to begin thinking about school visits.
26 May / 5.30pm – 6.30pm / Screening Room

How to Market Yourself as a Writer or Illustrator
by Christopher Cheng, Australia
Facilitator: Herald Bangras, Senior Lecturer, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore

This session will investigate how authors and illustrators can embrace the many forms of social and traditional media to promote their newly created titles. What makes a good website; who are press releases sent to; how to approach magazines and newspapers for articles and reviews; creating blogs; creating book trailers; and developing some unforgettable ideas to promote you and your new book. We will also discuss how to work with the publisher’s publicist as well as doing promotion independently - all to create a marketable product - YOU!
27 May / 2.30pm – 3.30pm / Play Den

The Children’s Market: What Has Changed and What Sells Now
by Kelly Sonnack, US
Facilitator: Dianne Wolfer, Australia

The children’s market is blossoming in big and exciting ways, so it’s a great time to be writing for kids and teens. Kelly will discuss the trends in the children’s book biggest market and trendsetter throughout the world, U.S., what editors are and aren’t looking for, what’s working, and how the children’s industry has changed in the last 10 years thanks to authors like J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer.
27 May / 2.30pm – 3.30pm / Screening Room

Adaptation: At Best, Metamorphoses; At Worst, Just a Mess
by Arvind Ethan David, UK
Facilitator: Herald Bangras, Senior Lecturer, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore

Many, perhaps the majority of the most successful children and young adult entertainment brands now exist in multiple mediums. Books become movies, movies become stage-shows, theme parks become movies, and then turn back again. Why this is so is can be answered by talking about brand, ‘audience pre-awareness’, profits, and fear. But the “How” of the creative process of adapting one thing into another, the dangers in crossing the treacherous river of format and the perils of messing with well known and loved stories is one of the most fascinating and little discussed of creative challenges. As a writer and film-producer, Arvind Ethan David has experience of the trials and tribulations of adaptation – from Douglas Adams to William Shakespeare, from stage to page to screen and back-again. He shares his war-stories and suggests a theoretical framework for thinking about what types of stories are best suited for what mediums.
Understanding Children’s Literature
26 May / 12.00pm – 1.00pm / Living Room

The Representation of the Island as Space/Place in Film and Picture Books
by John Mckenzie, New Zealand
Facilitator: Anushka Ravishankar, India

This workshop will give an overview of the island/beach/coast as a literary and filmic trope that reveals this landscape as a liminal space, a borderland betwixt and between childhood and adolescence, nature and culture, fantasy and reality, being and becoming. That is, the island forms an ideal locale for a coming-of-age story. This workshop will detail a range of resources and strategies that could be used to develop an eco-critical curriculum.
26 May / 12.00pm – 1.00pm / Screening Room

Rediscovering the Lyric and Narrative in Children's Poetry
by Desmond Kon, Singapore
Facilitator: Sunita Sharma, Singapore

What distinguishes poetry written for an adult or child audience? Do the same aesthetic and interpretive principles apply to both? In this talk, you will discover that literary giants like T. S. Eliot, Rudyard Kipling, Seamus Heaney, Robert Graves and Ted Hughes, did write poems specifically for children, while continuing to develop their own practice and craft. In children's poetry, one can rediscover both the lyric and narrative at work, both sensibilities providing poems with musicality and story. You’ll also learn about writing resources dedicated to poetry written for children and young adults. Child poet Joshua Ong guests as a reader.
26 May / 2.30pm – 3.30pm / Screening Room

On Fairies (Diwata), Mousedeers (Sang Kancil), Merpeople, and Magic Spells: Threads that Bind Children’s Tales from Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia
by Rhoda Myra Garces-Bacsal, Singapore
Facilitator: Pooja Makhijani, US/Singapore

What are the unique cultural elements, as well as commonalities and divergences in mythology, characterization of children, families, values, aspirations, and dreams from these four countries? This analysis will provide a more nuanced understanding of a collective Southeast Asian heritage and to foster a deeper awareness of the cultural ties that bind us, as seen through children’s favourite stories from this part of the world.
26 May / 4.00pm – 5.00pm / Screening Room

A Book Reviewer Speaks: Trends in Children's Literature in America
by Liz Rosenberg, US
Facilitator: Desmond Kon, Singapore

Author Liz Rosenberg has also been a book reviewer for the past thirty years, writing for Dallas and Austen newspapers, then for Parents Magazine, and for the past fifteen years as a children's book review columnist for the Boston Globe. She will talk about current trends in writing for young people, with special attention to some of her favourite Asian American authors.
26 May / 5.30pm – 6.30pm / Living Room

More than Monkeys, Maharajahs and Mangoes: An Overview of South Asian Literature for Kids
by Pooja Makhijani, US/Singapore
Facilitator: Christine Chen, Founder and President of Association for Early Childhood Educators (Singapore)

Multicultural literature has proven to be necessary in helping young people to develop an understanding of diverse cultures, people and perspectives. As an independent scholar and writer in the United States, Pooja Makhijani has documented ways in which South Asian characters have evolved over time to suit the ideas of society in and for which they were written. This presentation will not only address the influence of cultural materials on children and but will provide parents, educators and librarians with ‘best practices’ to select authentic books for their classrooms and communities.
27 May / 9.30am – 10.30am / Screening Room

Negotiating the Folktale
by John Mckenzie, New Zealand
Facilitator: Rhoda Myra Garces-Bacsal, Singapore

This session is designed to demonstrate that the folktale (with a particular focus on the Cinderella story) is a wonderful site for playfulness in the reading classroom. The session will explore a range of folktales across different cultures and show how each age and culture plays with the archetypes and makes the stories their own. The proposition that play is a serious business is not lost in this workshop. You will be able to see how literature can support key ideas in social studies. Key concepts include types and motifs, archetypes and postmodern responses to the folktale.
Critique Sessions for Writers and Illustrators
26 May / 2.30pm – 4.00pm / Gallery

First Look (for Illustrators and Author-Illustrators)
Chaired by Kathleen Ahrens, International Regional Advisor Chair, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Hong Kong.

- Che Mazlan Saad, Publisher, Al-Ameen Serve Holdings, Malaysia
- Neal Porter, Editorial Director of Neal Porter Books at Roaring Brook Press, US
- Wong Kok Cheong, Founder & CEO, Sparky Animation, Singapore

Illustrators are invited to submit their three illustrations to be reviewed and commented on by a panel of international publishing experts before an audience. The panellists will try to review as many submissions as possible, but can not guarantee all submissions will be viewed.
27 May / 9.30am – 11.00am / The Hall

First Pages (for Authors)
Chaired by Kathleen Ahrens, International Regional Advisor Chair, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Hong Kong.

- Stephen Mooser, President, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, US
- Kelly Sonnack, Literary Agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency, US
- Sayoni Basu, Publishing Director, Scholastic, India

Writers are invited to submit their best first page of a manuscript to be read and commented on by a panel of international publishing experts before an audience. The panellists will try to review as many submissions as possible, but can not guarantee all submissions will be viewed.

The festival organisers reserve the right to change speakers, events and/or session times, dates, and other details as necessary.

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