Ace Khong (Singapore)
Ace Khong studied Graphic Design at LASALLE College of the Arts, where he graduated in 1999. He became actively involved in design and illustration, and became known as a prolific illustrator. Presently, he is a Multimedia Engineer. His publications (both written and illustrated) included a picture book entitled Jurogic, children illustration books including A Visit to Ah Ma’s House (selected Chinese titles in the reading initiative Read! Singapore 2014/2015), kaikai, dun be afraid!, Let it Snow, Singapore! and Mido picture story books serial. In 2019, he was the Writer-in-Residence for the Toji Cultural Foundation in Wonju, Korea.
Ahmad Redza bin Ahmad Khairuddin (Malaysia)
Ahmad Redza Ahmad Khairuddin is currently President of Malaysia IBBY (MBBY). He obtained his MBA from Ohio University, USA in 1996 and a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from RMIT University, Australia in 1993. He has been actively involved in publishing for more than 20 years most notably in the national publication of educational and children's books.
Alicia Chew (Singapore)
Alicia Chew is part of the Programmes team at the National Museum of Singapore, where she plans and presents programmes for families, such as the annual Children’s Season and programmes in relation to the museum’s special exhibitions. Having previously taught children with autism, she also oversees initiatives and resources supporting visitors with additional needs at the museum.
Ang Ben Wei (Singapore)
A Ravenclaw through and through, Benwei has always found pleasure in learning. Literature has provided him with ample opportunity for this, and he has spent many a lazy afternoon meandering down passionate sentences. His other hobbies include public speaking, drawing, writing, and scuba diving, and when he is of age, he would like to visit Middle-Earth.
Barry Toa (Singapore)
Barry is an Assistant Lead in Mediacorp’s English Audience segment with more than eight years of experience in the media industry, specialising in audience growth, monetisation and content partnerships. He is currently working on numerous projects which include Mediacorp’s kids and digital audio strategy. Some of his projects include TravelSSBD, an award winning online travel series that focuses on off the beaten path travel adventures and Lil Wild, an original animal-based 3D animated kids series.
Bijal Vachharajani (India)
Bijal Vachharajani is a senior editor at Pratham Books where she leads a team that creates open access picture books. A journalist with over 19 years of experience in writing, communication, and education for sustainable development, she has a Masters in Environment Security and Peace from the University of Peace in Costa Rica. The former editor of Time Out Bengaluru, Bijal is an award-winning children’s author.
Bobby Hu (China/Singapore)
Bobby Hu (Qiaohua) is ten years old and he comes from China. He has been living in Singapore for three years and is currently a Year 6 student studying in Dulwich College Singapore. He enjoys playing chess, swimming, playing the violin, but his favourite activity is reading. He likes to read all kinds of books such as animal books, adventure books, and mystery books. His favourite writers include Roald Dahl, Andy Griffiths, and J.K. Rowling.
Camilla Reid (UK)
Camilla Reid is one of the three original founders of Nosy Crow which, since it burst onto the scene ten years ago, has grown to become the UK’s 13th largest children’s books publisher. Over the course of her 25 year career, Camilla has created many hundreds of children’s books for publishers, including Bloomsbury, Macmillan Children’s Books and HarperCollins. As Editorial Director of Nosy Crow she conceives, writes and edits almost every title on the Preschool and Novelty list - a list which sells widely internationally and which generates 70% of the company’s turnover.
Carlene Tan (Singapore)
Carlene Tan is Director of Original Production & Development at WarnerMedia Kids APAC. She is responsible for identifying new IP and producing original series for Cartoon Network, Boomerang and POGO in Asia Pacific. Based in Singapore, she oversees the region’s current slate of originals that include the International Emmy-nominated Lamput, as well as steering the production the upcoming series Titoo and Lambuji Tinguji.
Carolina Ballester (China - Spain)
Carolina Ballester holds a MA in Political Science from the Madrid Complutense University and university degrees in Chinese and Arabic languages and cultures from the French National Institute of Oriental Studies (INALCO). After a few years working as a translator, she was appointed cultural attaché at the Consulate of Spain in Shanghai. Since 2013, she is an international programme manager for the Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair. She leads the book fair publishers’ fellowship programme and is in charge of inviting international children’s writers and illustrators to take part in the fair’s programmes. She organises the exhibitions, runs an illustration residence, collaborated in the organisation of the Bologna Illustration Exhibition tour in 2018 and acts as a consultant for the Chen Bochui illustration exhibition and collection. She lives and works between Shanghai and Madrid, Spain.
Carol Tilley (US)
Carol Tilley (Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois) studies the social and cultural history of comics reading and readers with special attention given to the nexus of libraries, comics, and youth. Tilley was a 2016 Eisner Award judge and is a past president of the Comics Studies Society.
Clelia Gore (US)
Clelia Gore is Vice President of Martin Literary & Media Management, where she is also a literary agent. She is currently on an expat stint in Singapore, but calls Seattle, Washington home. She represents authors of children’s and young adult books for the U.S. market, including best-selling and award-winning books.
Daphne Lee (Malaysia)
Daphne Lee is the fiction editor at Scholastic Asia. As a writer, Daphne is interested in Malaysian and Asian myths, legends and fairytales. She recently published Bright Landscapes, a collection of short stories inspired by local supernatural beliefs and folklore. She is currently working on her first novel.
David Liew (Singapore)
David Liew has illustrated Ellie Belly, The Adventures of Squirky and The Plano Adventures. His adventures in children's literature continue with The Change Makers and Eye Spy series released in 2020. He is the Regional Advisor to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators in Singapore. In response to the pandemic, he and the SCBWI Regional Team had converted their monthly meetup talks and weekly critique sessions to virtual formats, and thus opened the door for participation that transcends geography and time zones. He and SCBWI Singapore Illustrator Coordinator Paula Pang have launched a collaborative effort with their counterparts in Indonesia to launch "Talking Pictures" - a monthly Zoom talk and chat session for illustrators.
Dexter Ong (Hong Kong)
Dexter Ong is Head of Asia for Wattpad Studios, based in Hong Kong. He oversees Wattpad Studio’s expansion in Asian markets, working with local entertainment studios, producers and writers to turn Wattpad stories into film, television, print and digital projects.
Felicia Low-Jimenez (Singapore)
Felicia has worked in bookselling and publishing for over a decade. She is one half of AJ Low, the writing team behind the best-selling Sherlock Sam series and Publisher at Difference Engine, an independent comics publisher. She believes that stories have the power to change the world.
Goh Chun Hoong (Singapore)
Goh Chun Hoong is co-founder of DarkBox Studio, with more than 20 years' experience in the media industry as a multimedia designer and animator and 3D artist. He has been involved in several international animated TV programmes and is currently managing an online comic + motion comic publishing platform with his partner company, Vividthree Productions.
Jai Zende (India/Singapore )
Jai heads Content for Audible India since before its launch in 2018. He is responsible for all audiobook and original content for the services. Originally, a banker, Jai entered the spoken-word space in 2010, through his venture, booksTALK audiobooks, which was India’s first major audiobook business in multiple Indian languages.
Joanna Cárdenas (US)
Joanna Cárdenas is Senior Editor at Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Random House. She has worked on many award-winning books including The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez as well as the highly-anticipated Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim. She is on the steering committee for Latinx in Publishing, a non-profit organization that promotes literature by, for, and about Latino/a/x people. Joanna is also co-founder of the Representation Matters Mentor Program for aspiring editors of colour and was a Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree in 2015.
Find her on Twitter @joannananamc.
Joanna El Mir (Lebanon)
Joanna El Mir started working in publishing in 2001 as the Art Director at Samir Éditeur. After winning the British Council's Young Publishing Entrepreneur Award in 2006 she made a career shift to an editorial role. For the past 12 years, she has been building the children's book list, publishing original content and translating some of the most renowned children’s authors.
Jochen Weber (Germany)
Jochen Weber is Head of Language Sections at the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany. He is also responsible for the IYL’s Iberian and Ibero-American Section, and is the editor of “The White Ravens”, the Library’s annual recommendation list of international children’s books. From 2006 to 2012, he served as vice president of the Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur (IBBY Germany).
Junko Yokota (US)
Dr Junko Yokota is Director of the Center for Teaching through Children’s Books and Professor Emeritus at National Louis University (Chicago). Her research focuses on picture book illustration and translation, multicultural and international literature, and digital storytelling. Her publications include six editions of Children’s Books in Children’s Hands, 60+ journal articles, and 20+ book chapters.
Kamolpaj Tosinthiti (Thailand)
Kamolpaj Tosinthiti was born in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and grew up in her family-owned bookstore. After graduating in French language and literature, she started working at Silkworm Books, an independent academic publishing house founded by her aunt, where she is currently Associate Publisher. With various experience in the international publishing community, she is determined to contribute to the Thai book industry. She has joined The Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand (PUBAT) board in July 2019 and is currently its Vice-president of International Affairs.
Karen Tang (Singapore)
Karen Tang’s first foray into the industry was as Vice-President at Peach Blossom Media, where she oversaw the operations and animation productions. She has been developing and producing content for both digital platforms and television. Her works have been recognized with various accolades such as the Asian Academy Creative Awards, Golden Bell Awards, and the Asian Television Awards.
Khim Loh (Singapore)
Khim Loh is one of Asia's most established producers, with a wealth of industry experience. She co-founded The Moving Visuals Co. and as Executive Producer, her work includes over 100 productions for both local and international broadcasters. She participated in the International Emmy Awards and was an international jury member for the Banff TV Festival and the recent Japan Prize. Khim is currently President of the Association of Independent Producers (AIRPO) Singapore.
Leila Boukarim (Singapore/Lebanon)
Leila Boukarim was born in Lebanon, raised in several countries, and now resides in Singapore. She spends her time writing stories that inspire empathy and encourage meaningful discussions between children and caregivers. She has published eight picture books to date and has worked with publishers such as Marshall Cavendish and Penguin Random House SEA.
Lisa Hoppe (Australia)
Lisa is the Writer and Producer of H is for Happiness – a family feature film which premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August 2019 and screened in competition at CinefestOz in September, winning “Best Film”. She has produced a number of short films that screened around the world including Godel, Incomplete (starring Elizabeth Debicki), and the AWGIE Award winning Heck, which she also co-‐wrote. From 2017 to 2018 Lisa worked as a Creative Producer with A Stark Production, producers of children’s film and television content including The Deep. Lisa’s extensive experience as writer, script editor and script producer has seen her work on Australian TV shows across a range of genres and formats including Heartbreak High, All Saints, White Collar Blue, Hi 5 and Guess How Much I Love You.
Lynette Teo (Singapore)
Lynette Teo is an assistant editor at Epigram Books. She has an interest in working with authors and illustrators for early reader board books, children’s picture books and middle grade to early young adult novels. Lynette is also a published picture book author, making her debut with the book X and O are BFFs!
Marc Nair (Singapore )
Marc Nair is a poet, educator and photographer. He is a recipient of the 2016 Young Artist Award. He has performed spoken word in solo and group performances for fifteen years in more than ten countries and has represented Singapore in international poetry slam competitions. Marc has published six solo volumes of poetry and has released another four books in collaboration with visual artists, photographers and graphic artists. His latest collection of poetry is Sightlines, an ekphrasis response to film photographs by Tsen-Waye Tay.
Maria Russo (US)
Maria Russo is the co-author of How to Raise a Reader and the Editorial Director of minedition US, where she acquires and edits picture books from creators around the world. She has been the Children's Books Editor at the New York Times and a writer and editor at the Los Angeles Times, The New York Observer, and Salon. She holds a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey with her husband and three children.
(photo by Earl Wilson)
Mariko Nagai (Japan)
Mariko Nagai is an award-winning writer and a sought-after speaker on poetry for children. She is the recipient of UNESCO-Aschberg Bursary for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center residency, Yaddo residency, amongst many others. She is the author of Dust of Eden (Albert Whitman 2014), Under the Broken Sky (MacMillan USA 2019), and the forthcoming The Sword of Yesterday (MacMillan USA 2021). She is Professor of Japanese Literature and Creative Writing at Temple University Japan Campus in Tokyo and Co-Regional Advisor of SCBWI Japan.
Minh Lê (US)
Minh Lê is the author of Drawn Together (winner of the 2019 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature) illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, Let Me Finish! (named an NPR Best Book of 2016) illustrated by Isabel Roxas, and The Perfect Seat illustrated by Gus Gordon (all published by Disney-Hyperion). He is also writing Green Lantern: Legacy, a middle grade graphic novel (illustrated by Andie Tong) for DC Comics. In addition to writing books, he has written for a variety of publications, including the New York Times, The Horn Book, NPR, and HuffPost.
(Photo by Danielle Lurie)
Myra Garces-Bacsal (UAE)
Myra Garces-Bacsal is the Assistant Dean for Research and Graduate Studies for the College of Education at the United Arab Emirates University. She also serves as Associate Professor with the Special Education. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she served as a teacher educator in Singapore where she taught for eleven years. She was nominated for an Excellence in Teaching Commendation Award in 2019, recipient of an Excellence in Teaching Commendation Award in 2012 and a Service Commendation Award in 2013. She was selected by the International Youth Library in Munich as an International Fellow in 2016 and 2017. She served as Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) held annually in Singapore from 2011-2019 and currently serves as the International Advisor-at-Large for the AFCC.
Naomi Shihab Nye (US)
Naomi Shihab Nye is the Young People's Poet Laureate for the United States (Poetry Foundation) and the editor of the New York Times magazine poems. She is on faculty at Texas State University and has written or edited more than 30 books, including Everything Comes Next (New and Selected Poems), Cast Away, Voices in the Air, and The Turtle of Oman (all from Greenwillow, HarperCollins) as well as The Tiny Journalist (BOA Editions Ltd) and the British volume Tender Spot (Bloodaxe Books), She has worked with children and young people in writing workshops all her life.
(photo by Michael Nye)
Nora Nazerene Abu Bakar (Singapore)
Nora Nazerene Abu Bakar is the executive editor at Penguin Random House SEA, responsible for discovering and publishing different voices across the region. With over 12 years of experience in the publishing industry, her network of relationships and keen knowledge of the region will be key in establishing a publishing presence for Penguin Random House SEA in the market.
Patrick Yee (Singapore)
Patrick Yee is one of Singapore's leading illustrators, with more than 180 children's books. He received the Most Prolific illustrator award from the Singapore Book of Records in 2016. He is actively involved in the local arts scene and teaches at various tertiary educational institutions.
Paul Rockett (UK)
Paul Rockett has over 20 years’ experience of working in publishing with roles as diverse as art directing, authoring, editing as well as leading imprints within market leading organisations, such as BBC Worldwide, Pearson and OUP. Currently publisher of the educational imprints Franklin Watts and Wayland at Hachette Children’s Group.
Peter Florence (UK)
Peter Florence, MBE is a British festival director, most notable for founding the Hay Festival with his father, Norman Florence.
He was educated at Ipswich School, Jesus College, Cambridge and the University of Paris and has an MA in Modern and Medieval Literatures. He holds honorary doctorates from The Open University and The University of Glamorgan, and is a Fellow of Hereford College of Arts, The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and the British-American Project, and is Creative Fellow at the University of Bangor. He was made a Colombiano de Corazon by President Alvaro Uribe for his work in Colombia.
(photo by Paul Musso)
Peter Herbert (Australia)
Peter Herbert is a seasoned writer, producer and executive producer for many national and international companies, among them Crawford Productions, PBL Productions, Taffner Ramsay, Beyond International and Granada. He produced the inaugural Comedy Festival Charity Gala in 1992 and created The World Comedy Tour in 2000. He also produced the 34th Annual TV Week Logies, and has created or co-created a number of series, among them Skirts, The Comedy Sale! and The Big Wig for Sky1 in the UK. Working with Caroline Aherne of The Royle Family, he co-created, co-wrote and produced the BBC2 comedy series, Dossa and Joe.
Peter has taught at a number of universities in screen business, creative industries and producing. He is currently Head of Screen Business and Producing at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS).
Pieter Aquilia (Australia)
Dr Pieter Aquilia is the Head of Screenwriting at the the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS). She is a scriptwriter, script editor and director, who has combined her creative practice with a career in academia. Formerly an Associate Dean and Associate Arts Professor for NYU Tisch School of the Arts Asia, she was also Associate Professor and Head of Program at UNSW Asia and University of Newcastle. Her research publications cover International Television Drama, the Globalization of Screen Education, Ethnic and Gender Representation on Screen, and the Media in Asia.
Rasyidah Angullia (Singapore)
Rasyidah Angullia is an Associate Librarian from the Children & Teens team in the National Library Board (NLB), Singapore. She works with primary and secondary schools to build and sustain strong reading cultures through outreach programmes and literary packages for students.
Remy Lai (Indonesia/Australia)
Remy Lai writes and draws stories for kids. Her books include graphic novel/prose hybrids Pie in the Sky and Fly on the Wall (September 2020), and two upcoming graphic novels - Pawcasso (2021) and Bima the Elephant (2022). She lives in Australia, where she can often be found exploring the woods with her dogs.
Robert Alejandro (Philippines)
Robert Alejandro is a graduate of Fine Arts from the University of the Philippines, and an award-winning graphic artist, an illustrator, a painter, a crafter, and one of the pillars of Filipino arts and design shop Papemelroti. He is a founding member of Illustrador ng Kabataan (INK), an organization of children’s book illustrators. For a time, he worked as a correspondent for the news program, The Probe Team. He knew, however, that he was an artist since birth, and has also hosted the popular television show “Art Is-Kool”.
Rushton Hurley (US)
Rushton Hurley is the founder and executive director of Next Vista for Learning, which houses a free library of videos by and for teachers and students at NextVista.org.
Rushton has spent decades exploring innovative possibilities for bringing together proven approaches with cutting-edge technologies, from his graduate research at Stanford University, to his work with teenagers as both a high school teacher of Japanese language and a principal of an online school, to speaking at conferences and trainings around the world, to 2017's 5-Day Teacher Challenge. He is the author of two books, Making Your School Something Special and Making Your Teaching Something Special.
Sayoni Basu (India)
Sayoni Basu was the cofounder of Duckbill Books, an indie children's publishing house, which is now an imprint of Penguin Random House India. She has earlier worked in Penguin, Scholastic and OUP. She likes everything about books apart from dusting them.
Swetha Senthilkumar (Singapore)
Swetha Senthilkumar is a 16-year-old who is very passionate about literature and proudly calls herself a book dragon, being an avid reader. She writes both poetry and prose and has won awards in advocacy competitions. Her works have been published in the World Of Apu magazine and in the anthology Love and Life at the Gallery.
Tay Tze Ern (Singapore)
Tay Tze Ern studies at Anglo-Chinese School (Junior). He reads any book that catches his eye. He loves history and science fiction, and one of his favourite authors is Eoin Colfer. He grew up listening to audiobooks in the car and now loves listening to podcasts about myths, mysteries and murders on his phone.
Tina Narang (India)
Tina Narang is the Children’s Publisher at HarperCollins India, having joined in 2017 to launch the children’s imprint, HarperCollins Children’s Books. Previously, Tina was with Scholastic India from 2005-2017. This is her third time at AFCC, the first being in 2015, followed by the more recent one in September 2019.
Tohby Riddle (Australia)
Tohby Riddle is a multi-award-winning picture book creator. His books have been published in many languages – one even translated by Haruki Murakami. His new book is The Astronaut’s Cat.
Trevor Lai (Canada/China)
Trevor Lai is an award-winning entrepreneur, author-illustrator, and the founder of Up Studios, one of the leading animation studios in China. Since publishing his first book at the age of 17, Trevor has written and illustrated over 25 children’s books, including the Piggy and Tomo series. Trevor created the Super BOOMi television series, which has topped national ratings on CCTV and Hunan TV, and serves as the show’s director and executive producer. Leading technology and media giant Tencent has invested in both the Super BOOMi and Piggy series, which have amassed more than 3.8 billion views online. Trevor also hosted over 100 episodes of Thoughtful China, a talk show about creativity, media and business in China.