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Asian Festival of Children’s Content
23–26 May 2024

Stories of first crushes, and dare we say, heady romance have always been in demand with readers. So let's open our hearts and find out how romance stories can entertain while giving adolescent readers a powerful toolkit for navigating life. This session will delve into the burgeoning genre, offering an insightful exploration and introduction for educators, parents, and writers.

Anittha Thanabalan

Anittha Thanabalan (Singapore)

Anittha’s debut novel, The Lights That Find Us, was published in 2018. Her latest novel, It Had to Be Her is the first of a YA trilogy and was published in April 2024. Her short stories have appeared in Mahogany Journal, the fifth volume of Best New Singaporean Short Stories, and How We Live Now. When she isn’t working or writing, she can be found either walking her poodle, Dino, or attempting unnecessarily difficult jigsaw puzzles. Anittha is currently working on the sequel to It Had to Be Her.

Joyce Chua

Joyce Chua (Singapore)

Joyce is the author of several novels, including the Children of the Desert trilogy (Penguin Random House SEA, 2021), Until Morning, No Room in Neverland (Penguin Random House SEA, 2023) and Lambs for Dinner (Straits Times Press, 2013). She graduated from the National University of Singapore with a degree in English and is now a personal finance editor by day and author by night. Her articles have appeared in Harper's Bazaar, Her World, The Straits Times, and more. She can be found on Instagram, TikTok and Threads at @joycechuawrites.

Lauren Ho

Lauren Ho (Malaysia/Singapore)

Lauren Ho is a reformed legal counsel who now prefers to write for pleasure. Hailing from Malaysia, she is currently based in Singapore with her family. She is the author of two critically-acclaimed adult contemporary fiction novels, Last Tang Standing and Lucie Yi is Not a RomanticBite Me, Royce Taslim is her first young adult novel.

Lee Wen-yi

Moderator Lee Wen-yi (Singapore)

Wen-yi Lee is a Clarion West Workshop alum from Singapore whose short fiction has appeared in venues like Lightspeed, Uncanny, and Strange Horizons, as well as in various anthologies, including Epigram Books' Fish Eats Lion Redux. She likes writing about girls with bite, feral nature, and ghosts. Her debut novel, The Dark We Know, is forthcoming from Gillian Flynn Books in August 2024. Find her on socials @wenyilee_ and otherwise at  

Programme dates and times are subject to change.