Dissects Diversity in its 10th Edition


SINGAPORE, 14 August 2019 – In an increasingly divisive and polarised world, how do books help children and youths make sense of the world that they live in? What is the responsibility of writers dealing with sensitive topics like representation, multiracialism and depression? All these questions and more will be front and centre at the upcoming Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC), which will mark its 10th edition this September. They will be part of the critical discourse at AFCC, which will explore the theme “Diversity” from 5 to 8 Sep at the National Library Singapore.

Organised by the Singapore Book Council, AFCC will feature a final slate of about 150 speakers, (104 local and 47 international speakers) who will take part in more than 90 sessions over four days.

The opening keynote will see three distinguished speakers – award-winning translator Helen Wang; editor at Random House Books for Young Readers Sara Sargent; and educator/publisher Mary George – advocating diversity in children’s books and YA fiction. Furthermore, well-known children’s literature scholar Philip Nel will give a lecture titled, Why Adults Refuse to Admit Racist Content in the Children’s Books They Love. Conversely, Sadaf Siddique will give a talk on how to depict Muslims positively in literature.

Debut YA novelists Emily X.R. Pan and Hanna Alkaf, together with two-time Philippines’ National Children’s Book Awards winner Weng Cahiles will share their insight on how to write about trauma for young readers. Attendees can look forward to Lisa Charleyboy, a Tsilhqot'in (First Nations) writer’s lecture addressing the importance of minority representation in children’s literature. In lecture Being a Translator: Crazy but True, Helen Wang discusses a translator’s responsibility to source material, readers and cultural sensitivity.

“AFCC has been championing diversity and Asian children’s books since its inception,” says William Phuan, Executive Director of the Singapore Book Council. “As we mark our 10th anniversary milestone, it is even more important that we continue to push to enrich the literary landscape with multicultural stories and diverse themes.”

A new initiative at the festival this year is the Young Book Reviewers podcast. Featuring students from secondary schools and junior colleges, the podcasts will highlight what Asian children’s and YA books young people are reading and their perspectives. Partnered with local student radio stations, the podcasts will be streamed online.

AFCC will feature Myanmar as its Country of Focus this year. A delegation of 25 writers, illustrators and publishers from Myanmar will take part in a series of discussions and talks at AFCC, sharing about their folktales and reading initiatives. The COF programme will culminate in Myanmar Night, a celebration of Myanmar arts and culture.

In its continuing bid to recognise the excellence of writers and illustrators in Asia, AFCC will present the biennial Scholastic Picture Book Award 2019 (SPBA) this year. Seven picture book manuscripts have been shortlisted from among 88 submissions. The shortlisted works came from India, Vietnam, Singapore, Turkey, Philippines and South Korea. The winner, who will receive $10,000 in prize money and have the opportunity for their work to be published by Scholastic Asia), will be announced at Celebrating Our Stars, an AFCC highlight event. 

"We're incredibly pleased to be bringing these wonderful stories to our markets. Through SPBA, Scholastic will continue in our commitment to uplift Asian creators, and the unique stories they have to tell," enthused Selina Lee, Vice President of Scholastic Asia.

Visitors can also check out free programmes at AFCC. They can visit the Book Illustrators Gallery (BIG), an exhibition showcasing picture book illustrations by illustrators from Southeast Asia and the Asian diaspora. Moreover, there will be a showcase of the best GIF creations from the GIF Challenge in August, a 24-hour GIF-making competition co-organised by the Singapore Book Council, LASALLE College of the Arts and CAMPUS Magazine. Participants had to create a GIF in 24 hours inspired by selected works of AFCC’s featured authors. The winners will be announced during AFCC.

Festival Pass holders can enjoy 40% off AFCC lectures and masterclasses. Secondary and tertiary students can also take advantage of a special promotion of $50 pass to the entire festival (limited quantity only).

For media related enquiries, please contact:
Ethan Leong | [email protected] | +65 6342 5121

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