Country Focus

Malaysia – Richness in Diversity

Malaysia is honoured to be the Country of Focus at AFCC 2013. We have been participating in AFCC since its inception in 2009, as well as the Writers and Illustrators Conference before that.

We congratulate the National Book Council of Singapore (NBDCS) on their continuing efforts to promote Asian children’s literature to the world. We have seen AFCC grow from strength to strength over the past four years and are proud to be a part of it. 

KotaBuku (Book City), a government-linked organization set up to invigorate the book publishing industry, will be spearheading the Malaysian participation in AFCC this year. Since last year, Mr Razin Abd Rahman, Senior Manager, and Mrs Norhayati Razali, Manager in charge of activities at KotaBuku, together with their team in Kuala Lumpur, have worked conscientiously to ensure that Malaysia showcases her best children’s books and illustrators’ works at AFCC 2013.

Annually, Malaysia publishes more than 17,000 new titles. One fourth of these are children’s books, excluding textbooks. The majority of the children’s books are in Malay, followed by English and Chinese. A bestselling title, especially in Malay, can sell more than 20,000 copies. As about half a million children enter the first year of school every year, there is a growing market for children’s books which has not been fully explored.

Despite the opportunity, children`s books still pose a challenge for writers, illustrators and publishers. The readers, spoilt for choice have become more demanding. Today knowledge moves fast and hence a bestseller in America today may be a bestseller in Malaysia tomorrow.

So how do you make your voice heard? AFCC is a good occasion to make your presence felt and to learn more about writing and publishing. It is a privilege to listen to some of the top writers and illustrators in the world, to mingle with your peers, to encourage and celebrate one another’s success, and to simply enjoy the company of like-minded people from all corners of the world.

Malaysia is bringing some of her top people in the children’s literature sector to AFCC 2013. They include IBBY President Ahmad Redza; well-known Malaysian illustrator, Yusof Gajah; bestselling author Ain Maisarah; folktale raconteur and writer, Tutu Dutta-Yean and other award-winning writers and illustrators who cover different media from print to digital to film. The talented Emila Yusof will be this year’s guest illustrator for AFCC.

AFCC 2013 has presented us with a delightful opportunity to be among an esteemed group of people who have become house hold names in their respective countries. It will be a learning experience to exchange our stories with these distinguished and successful writers.

Malaysia, a little Asia itself, thanks to her diversity of cultures, has many untold stories about her people. I hope the Malaysian delegates attending AFCC 2013 will be inspired and motivated to write and illustrate wonderful stories from their homeland.

Undoubtedly, there are a lot more stories from Asia as well, be it old or new stories. We look forward to them eagerly. Will the next Asian children’s bestseller come from someone at AFCC 2013? The answer, or shall I say, the story, is in yours to tell.

All in all, Malaysia is proud to be part of the Asian Festival of Children’s Conference. We look forward to participating every year and to see it grow to greater heights.

Ms Linda Tan Lingard

Member, AFCC Board of Advisors