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

Surrealism, unlike realism, embraces the absurd and provokes the imagination. In children's picture books, they play an empowering role in encouraging young readers to question, dream and explore possibilities. In this session, our speakers will share on how they have incorporated surrealistic qualities in their works, and why they choose to do so.

Adriena Fong

Adriena Fong (Singapore)

Adriena is an illustrator and author born and raised in Singapore. In 2020, she graduated with a BA in Illustration at Falmouth University in the UK. She loves working with gouache and colour pencils as well as textured brushes on Photoshop and Procreate. With a keen interest in all things fantastical and folkloric, her work hopes to instil a sense of warmth and wonder. Her debut book, 'Ning and the Night Spirits' was published by Flying Eye Books in 2023 and was recently longlisted for this year's Klaus Flugge Prize.

J.H. Low

J.H. Low (Singapore)

J.H. Low has a degree in fine art, a MA in Children’s Illustration, and a PhD (in The Expressive Potential of the Picturebook Form). J.H. is the winner of the 2022 Hedwig Anuar Children's Book Award and his picturebook "Lemonade Sky" is featured in the White Ravens catalogue 2021. His latest published books include "The Visitor", a graphic novel that explores existential issues about human relationships, and a children's picturebook "Orang & Hutan" which brings to light the importance of nature conservation through the eyes of an Orangutan.

Zeno Sworder

Zeno Sworder (Australia)

Zeno Sworder is a writer and artist who lives in Melbourne with his young family. After studying Chinese literature and migration law at university, he ended up as a dishwasher. Later, he went on to work as a journalist, an English language teacher, a consular officer, an advocate for refugees and immigrants, and a jewelry designer. But he has always felt most himself sitting at a table drawing pictures and making up stories. He is a lover of all stationery but has a particular soft spot for pencils. Sworder is the winner of the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) 2023 Picture Book of the Year for My Strange Shrinking Parents. In 2021, Sworder was named the CBCA New Illustrator of the Year, and his first book This Small Blue Dot was a CBCA Notable Book, the winner of the 2021 Australian Book Designers Association’s Award for Best Designed Children’s Illustrated Book, and the Designers' Choice Children’s/Young Adult Book of the Year.

Dimity Powell

Moderator Dimity Powell (Australia)

Dimity Powell, an award-winning children's author, immerses every spare moment in words. As the Managing Editor for Kids' Book Review, she exclusively writes and reviews for children. With over 30 published stories, including Pippa and The Troublesome Twins (2023), award-winning At the End of Holyrood Lane (2018), and critically acclaimed, The Fix-It Man (2017), Dimity embraces the transformative power of reading and storytelling. Explore her work at

Programme dates and times are subject to change.