Initiative of AFCC Digital

Singapore, 3rd June 2020 – While most of us are still stuck at home, one can now take off and travel around Asia virtually through the first-ever online Book Illustrators Gallery (BIG)! Featuring close to 200 illustrations from 13 Asian countries, BIG invites visitors to explore new cultures and the best of picture book illustrations from around Asia.

Launching on 3 June, the BIG exhibition is organised as part of AFCC Digital, an initiative under the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC). AFCC goes fully digital this year as the festival explores the theme of “Voyages”, where we traverse physical boundaries and seek new avenues of sharing Asian stories for children and young adults.

BIG has been a popular feature at the annual AFCC, where the exhibition is usually held at the National Library. Presented in a digital format for the first time, the online exhibition will be larger and more extensive than its previous editions. BIG showcases nearly 200 illustrations by more than 80 illustrators from around Asia, which include past AFCC Countries of Focus such as China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Myanmar as well as Singapore. The works were selected from more than 350 submissions and can be viewed on 

Says William Phuan, Executive Director of the Singapore Book Council: “We are very excited to launch the digital version of BIG, as part of our efforts to leverage digital technology to take AFCC online. Due to the pandemic, we had to postpone AFCC to October and quickly find ways to adapt our programmes for the digital space. This shift opened up new possibilities and we are embracing it to explore new avenues and still engage the community, while reaching out to new audiences.”

Complementing the launch of BIG is the BIG Roundtable, an online panel discussion on 6 June (2pm- 3.30pm) that features the guest curators from AFCC’s past Countries of Focus. The speakers, include Carolina Ballester from the China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair; Michiko Matsukata and Fumiko Uejima from the Chihiro Art Museum’s curation team, as well as Singaporean illustrators Darel Seow and Ben Lai from Illo Picto. The discussion, which will be streamed live on Facebook, will focus on highlights from the exhibition; illustration trends in Asia; and what constitutes a good book illustration.

Visit to explore the BIG 2020 exhibition. A directory of all the featured illustrators is also available in the online gallery.

For media related enquiries, please contact:

Ethan Leong | [email protected] | +65 6342 5122

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Children’s literary festival to prelude with Book Illustrators Gallery in May and host online sessions in response to COVID-19 virus

Singapore, 23rd March 2020 – The Singapore Book Council, which organises the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC), has decided to postpone the 11th edition of AFCC from 28–31 May to 3–4 October 2020, in view of the evolving COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore and around the world. In response to the situation, AFCC will be scaling down the festival to two days and making parts of the festival digital.

As a prelude to AFCC, the Book Council will also be organising the popular Book Illustrators Gallery (BIG), an exhibition that showcases the best illustrations from Asian picture books from 1–30 June 2020 at the National Library Building.

“Ensuring the health and safety of our speakers, audience members and staff was our first priority, hence we made the decision to postpone AFCC,” says William Phuan, Executive Director of the Singapore Book Council. “However, in view of the COVID-19 situation and how it has disrupted book fairs and events all over the world, we also wanted to use this opportunity to rethink and refresh AFCC. Hence, we are looking at how to leverage technology to take parts of the festival online or digital like live streaming, and still engage the community in a safe and accessible way.”

The theme for AFCC 2020 is “Voyages”, where audiences are invited to envision a world filled with possibilities as the festival traverses boundaries, redefines narratives and discovers new truths. The main AFCC festival will now take place over two days in October in a scaled down version. Attendees can expect some of the festival’s sessions to be available online or on digital platforms in the form of webinars and live-streamed talks. This will ensure that the festival will still be accessible to attendees who may not be able to physically take part. The full programme and new venue of AFCC will be announced at a later date.

As a lead-up to the festival in October, the popular Book Illustrators Gallery (BIG) will be held from 1–30 June 2020. A key feature of AFCC, BIG showcases the best illustrations from graphic novels, comics and picture books by illustrators and artists from Southeast Asia, Asia and of the Asian diaspora. The artworks for this year’s gallery will be selected by special guest curators from the Philippines, India, Japan and Indonesia –  AFCC’s past countries of focus. Free and open to the public, the exhibition will take place at the Central Public Library, National Library Building.

More details for BIG are listed in Annex A. More information about AFCC will be made available in the next few months. Please check our website for more updates:

For media related enquiries, please contact:

Ethan Leong | [email protected] | +65 6342 5122

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