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Asian Festival of Children’s Content
25–28 May 2023

Join our panel of experienced writers as they share how their personal experiences have influenced their writing and driven them to create works that inspire readers and fellow creators. Discover how their unique perspectives and journeys can inspire and inform your own writing with purpose. 

history Middle grade young adult

Hanna Alkaf

Hanna Alkaf (Malaysia)

Hanna Alkaf is the critically acclaimed author of the Freeman Award winner The Weight of Our Sky, the Kirkus Prize finalist The Girl and the Ghost, and Queen of the Tiles. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Northwestern University and spent over ten years in journalism and communications before trading in nonfiction for fiction. Her next books are the MG fantasy adventure Hamra & the Jungle of Memories (HarperCollins, March 28th 2023) and the YA magic school murder mystery anthology The Grimoire of Grave Fates (Delacorte Press, June 6th 2023).  Hanna lives in Kuala Lumpur with her family.

Lee Uk-bae

Lee Uk-bae (South Korea)

Lee Uk-bae is a picture book artist. His picture books, depicting villages with old trees and laughing children, reflect on the importance of a simple life, the value of family, and the sorrow of a divided nation. Sori’s Harvest Moon Day, published in 1995, was translated and published in six countries. Lee also participated in the Book Project for Peace, a project involving picture book artists from Korea, China, and Japan. In 2020, When Spring Comes to the DMZ was awarded the Batchelder Award Honor by the American Library Association. His latest works include A Page-by-page Picture Book.

Xiran Jay Zhao

Xiran Jay Zhao (Canada)

Xiran Jay Zhao is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Widow series and Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor. A first-gen Hui Chinese immigrant from small-town China to Vancouver, Canada, they were raised by the Internet and made the inexplicable decision to leave their biochem degree in the dust to write books and make educational content instead. You can find them on Twitter for memes, Instagram for cosplays and fancy outfits, TikTok for fun short videos, and YouTube for long videos about Chinese history and culture.

Melanie Lee

Moderator Melanie Lee (Singapore)

Melanie is the author of the graphic novel series Amazing Ash & Superhero Ah Ma, the picture book series, The Adventures of Squirky the Alien, and the travel guide series Out & About in Singapore. She is also a part-time communications lecturer.

Programme dates and times are subject to change.