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

Southeast Asian dishes are known for their incredible smells and spectacular flavours. But how can we create an even bigger feast for the senses through words and pictures? These writers discuss worldbuilding around food and how a little pinch of memory and a dash of nostalgia can take young readers on a tasty cultural adventure.

This programme is in partnership with Difference Engine.

southeast asia picture book

Atiqah Halim

Atiqah Halim (Singapore)

Atiqah Halim has over 14 years of experience in People, Leadership and Organisational Development. Currently working in a non-profit, she leads a team that looks at ways to inspire and future proof our Malay/Muslim youth and workforce. As blogger and writer in her free time, she shares her and her family’s love for travelling on Instagram @Familytrippers. Rubiah from Semarang is her first children’s book series.

Jessica Leman

Jessica Leman (Indonesia)

Jessica Leman is a writer and storyboard artist based in Jakarta, Indonesia and the co-creator of Magical Sweet Gula. She is currently pursuing digital marketing in creative industries. She met Johanes Park while studying animation at Kyungsung University in South Korea. The duo remain passionate about pop culture and comics as a medium to communicate meaningful stories with universal appeal, and participate actively in efforts to bring Indonesian creators’ works to global audiences.

Johanes Park

Johanes Park (Indonesia)

Johanes Park is a comic artist and university lecturer based in Jakarta, Indonesia. He met Jessica Leman while they studied animation at Kyungsung University in South Korea. Inspired by Johanes’ childhood experiences growing up with both Korean and Indonesian identities, the duo first created Magical Sweet Gula together in 2015, to share a story of acceptance and friendship with young people who feel “different”.

Low Lai Chow

Low Lai Chow (Singapore)

A journalist by profession, Low Lai Chow is a children's book author with nine books to her name including Becoming Margaret Leng Tan: The World's First Toy Piano Virtuoso (2023) and Catch Mee If You Can: Find the Noodles, Eat the Noodles! (2022), which was nominated for Best Picture Book at Singapore Book Awards 2023. She is the creator of National Gallery Singapore's Art for Tinies (2020) board book series and has worn multiple hats as publisher, illustrator and author of Penguins Eat Pancakes (2022). Her attempts at doodling are best described as questionable. 

Alan John

Moderator Alan John (Singapore)

Alan John is a journalist, writer and editorial trainer. Alan has written three picture books, all illustrated by Quek Hong Shin. Their most recent book, Grandma’s Tiger, won the Best Picture Book award at the Singapore Book Awards 2023 and was also included in The White Ravens 2023 recommendation list by the International Youth Library. Like their earlier books, The One and Only Inuka and Ubin ElephantGrandma's Tiger is based on true events and features an animal that made headlines in Singapore. 

Programme dates and times are subject to change.