Asian Festival of Children's Content 2020 Programme Booklet (Desktop)

Page 1

Programme BOOKLET 2–4 October 2020

Contents 2

Donors and Supporters


Support Us


Message from Chairperson


Welcome Message from Executive Director


About Singapore Book Council


SBC Board and Advisory Network

10 About AFCC 2020 13 AFCC Digital Programmes 14 AFCC Masterclass

WITH Sheila Wee Professional Storyteller Storywise

15 Pre-festival Events: 2 October 16 Digital Symposium: 3 October 17 Our Folktales Book Launch 18 Digital Symposium: 4 October

Introduction to Storytelling I and II Gain a firm grounding in storytelling skills and its applications in this in-person workshop with professional storyteller Sheila Wee. Dates: 31 October & 7 November 2020 Time: 9:30am – 5:45pm Price: $388 – $588 Venue: SBC Training Room, Goodman Arts Centre Find out more at

19 Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award Ceremony 24 Digital Book Launches 27 Book Illustrators Gallery 30 Speakers 38 Moderators 40 AFCC Ticketing 43 AFCC 2021

Donors and Supporters We would like to thank the following donors for their support for the Singapore Book Council over the years.

Champion of Books


Please support the Singapore Book Council!


We hope all of you have been keeping safe and well during the COVID-19 pandemic.



In these challenging times, books have become more essential than ever as they are our window to tales of hope, happiness and adventure. When sharing our ideas, stories, and poetry, not only do the different literary voices nourish us, they also challenge us to think critically, inspire us to take a flight of imagination and connect us through a thread of empathy.

Claire Chiang Mrs Tan-Ang Soo Buay Coonoor Kripalani-Thadani Chua Hong Koon Charles Santoso Evelyn Wong Denise Tan R. Ramachandran Ho Kwon Ping Sharifah Mohamed Shenton Kevin William Caroline Wan Koo Resha Kuek Jin Hwa Nicholas Rebecca

Hong Leong Foundation Lee Foundation World Scientific Publishing Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Tusitala Books

AFCC is made possible with partnership support from:

Even though our programmes, donations and funding have been adversely impacted by the pandemic, we remain resolute in our mission to support multilingual literature. Over the past few months, we have quickly adapted and continued many of our programmes to support the literary community by hosting them online. However, in order to continue our work and programmes, we need your help. Please consider making a donation to SBC so that we can keep growing and empowering the literary community for now and the future. All qualifying donations will enjoy a 250% tax deduction. Cash donations will also be eligible for dollar-for-dollar matching from the Cultural Matching Fund (CMF), which means your donation doubles in value.

You may contribute on our Giving.SG donation page: Thank you for your generous contribution!


Message from Chairperson Welcome to the 11th edition of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC). This year marks a new milestone in our continuing journey of promoting and celebrating the best of Asian content for the world’s children. For the first time in the Festival’s history, the Singapore Book Council (SBC) is organising AFCC as a digital symposium, opening up the festival to new audiences, and fostering new collaborations from around the world. While the Festival this year is a much smaller affair, our programmes still aim to capture the width and breadth of the content that our audiences are familiar with. The sessions will look at pertinent and timely topics such as how children’s books can be seen as archivers of historical events and drivers of change; how poetry can be a powerful medium of expression; and, on what lies ahead in the future for literary festivals, books and book fairs.

The book, Our Folktales: All-Time Favourite Folktales of Asia is a testament to our continuing efforts in bringing quality children’s literature and storytelling to every child in the region.

sity. I would like to thank the AFCC programme committee members, partners, sponsors and donors for opening your hearts and giving your unwavering support to SBC and its programmes.

Lastly, this year’s AFCC will also see the presentation of the biennial Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award (HABA), which received the highest number of submissions to date, with four first-time shortlists.

I hope that this year’s AFCC will be one that brings you further on your journey of learning and discovery into the world of children’s literature within and beyond our Asian borders.

The year thus far has thrown up many challenges along the way, but I am happy that we have continued to push through in the face of adver-

Claire Chiang Chairperson Singapore Book Council

I am also pleased that this year’s digital AFCC will see the launch of a very special collaborative project, put together through the valuable assistance of our partners from past AFCC Countries of Focus, with the support of the SBC Advisory Network.



Welcome Message from Executive Director moment, but also invite us to take a flight of imagination and to embark on a journey to discover new worlds and cultures.

Welcome to the first-ever digital edition of AFCC! When we selected the theme “Voyages” a year ago for AFCC 2020, we were thinking about it more in terms of a metaphorical and narrative sense. Now, in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, the theme takes on an urgent tone that is filled with anxiety, uncertainty, and perhaps even a tinge of wistfulness. The idea of going on a journey or travel and to discover new adventures seems fraught with many risks, and a distant possibility for many people. Yet “Voyages” also underscores the importance of imagination and creativity particularly during these deeply unsettling times. Books and literature are crucial to us now more than ever. They not only provide the balm that soothes our every isolated 6

Like many book fairs and festivals around the world, we have pivoted AFCC to be fully digital this year. The publishing industry and bookstores around the world have been adversely impacted by the crisis. However, the digitalization efforts by the industry are a testament to our resilience and resourcefulness to find solutions and figure a way out. The path forward will be extremely tough, but as encapsulated by the festival’s theme, we are determined to forge ahead to traverse boundaries, explore possibilities and redefine narratives in the face of all these challenges. We invite you to join us on our journey and continue supporting the Singapore Book Council as we strive to promote books and literature! We wish you a most enlightening and bountiful experience at AFCC 2020, as new adventures await you. William Phuan Executive Director Singapore Book Council

About Singapore Book Council The Singapore Book Council (SBC) is an independent charity with IPC status. Established in 1968 to support Singapore authors and literature, SBC aims to Build Our Imagine-nation by developing creativity, imagination, original thought and empathy. Our programmes focus on creative writing, reading, illustration, translation and storytelling. We are committed to developing a multicultural, diverse literary arts sector through our festivals, training workshops and courses, as well as book awards to recognise excellence. SBC is currently chaired by Ms Claire Chiang, co-founder of Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts. The Book Council develops and advocates Singapore’s books and literary arts scene by organising a variety of festivals, including the annual Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC); giving out prestigious awards such as the biennial national award Singapore Literature Prize; supporting community outreach through the #BuySingLit movement; and building professional capacity through our Academy programmes. Because it all starts with a story.

Lavina Chong and Shalene Phang from creative arts education company Wigglepods, performing in “Let’s Sing, Play and Move to Origami” as part of Ready for KidLit!

Storyteller Sheila Wee conducting a class for SBC Academy

Group photo of the winners of SLP 2020 on Zoom


2020 has been an enormously challenging year, when daily lives have been upended by the pandemic. Amid all the disruption, isolation and anxiety, the Book Council’s belief that the written word is more essential than ever has seen many of its programmes adapted online to support the literary community during this time as it stays true to its purpose of developing Singapore literature that is diverse and multicultural.

“The Art of Adaptation”, an AFCC virtual programme to guide writers in adapting their stories to other mediums

SBC Advisory Meeting at AFCC 2019

SBC Board and Advisory Network

SBC is supported by the National Arts Council of Singapore under the Major Company Scheme for the period from 2019 to 2021. For more information, please visit

Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2019: “Unschooling in Early Childhood - Powered by Literature”.

Connect With Us

SBC Advisory Network

Claire Chiang

International Advisors

Singapore Advisors

Chua Hong Koon

Andrea Pasion-Flores (Philippines) Murti Bunanta (Indonesia) Nellie Dato Paduka Haji Sunny (Brunei Darussalam) Nury Vittachi (Hong Kong) Selina Lee (Malaysia) Thant Thaw Kaung (Myanmar)

Bibi Jan Md Ayyub Evelyn Wong Felicia Low-Jimenez Jennifer Yin Kiang-Koh Lai Lin Kanagalatha Leo Vincent Melvin Choo Sa’eda Buang Tan Chee Lay Tan-Ang Soo Buay Valerie Cheng Wai Yin Pryke Yeow Kai Chai

R Ramachandran


Karen Heng

sgbookcouncil w: e: 90 Goodman Road, Block E, #03-32 Goodman Arts Centre, Singapore 439053 “Glorious, Monstrous Hantu Tales from Singapore”, part of #BuySingLit 2020’s programmes at SingLit Power House


SBC Board



AFCC 2020

The Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) is an annual festival that promotes and advocates the creation, development and appreciation of quality Asian stories for children and young adults. Organised by the Singapore Book Council, the festival’s main programmes comprise conference presentations, panels, masterclasses, workshops, and lectures. AFCC is a unique event in Asia that provides an opportunity for various practitioners, including writers, illustrators, translators, editors, publishers, academics, teachers, librarians and parents to meet, learn, hone their craft, and develop cross-cultural collaborations. The Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) returns from 3 - 4 October 2020 in a new digital format, and celebrates the theme “Voyages”, where we invite participants to envision a world filled with possibilities even as we are facing many challenges

and much uncertainty now. We aim to traverse boundaries, redefine narratives and discover new truths, as we embark on a digital journey of exploration to be immersed in a world of stories for children and young adults.

Books in the Time of Crisis and Change”, “Building Resilience in Children During Crisis” and “Building Virtual Communities: Do’s and Don’ts”, which examines how digital tools have grown in importance in schools and various communities.

The choice is especially apt, as the Festival invites the participants to envision a world filled with possibilities in the digital space, even in the face of so many disruptions and uncertainty now.

AFCC also seeks to address the issues and the way forward in a post-COVID world with panels like “Digital Festivals and Book Fairs: The New Normal?” featuring representatives from various literary festivals around the world discussing the extent digitisation will have on the literary industry in a post-COVID world.

AFCC aims to traverse boundaries, redefine narratives and discover new truths, as it seeks new avenues of sharing Asian stories for children and young adults. Sessions at the digital symposium will feature pertinent topics relating to the world’s changing landscape. These include the opening session “Children’s

AFCC 2020 will also present a plethora of online programmes consisting of industry-focused sessions such as pitching sessions with publishers and network commissioners, panel discussions and masterclasses.

AFCC is proud to present the key visual for this year’s festival, illustrated by Singaporean illustrator Chen Ziyue. Ziyue was invited to bring to life the festival theme of “Voyages”, where her key visual serves as the festival’s identity for 2020. Her whimsical and colourful illustration style, along with a keen sense and interest in using pictures and illustrations as a storytelling medium was a strong draw. In addition, the passion she brings to her craft, and her inspirational journey in pursuing a career in illustration made her ideally suited to express this year’s theme as an illustration. Learn more about Ziyue and her creative process in our interview with her here!

Learn more



AFCC Digital Programmes Programme Committees 

 Advisors-at-large: Dr Myra Garces-Bacsal Dr Theresa Lu Writers and Illustrators: Christabel Sim Christopher Guy Shaw David Liew Kim Beeman Lim Cheng Tju Loh Chin Ee Sharon Ismail Teachers and Parents: Geraldine Teo-Zuzarte (Chairperson) Angela Anthony Angela Yang Elaine Fong Norami Aliza Haron N. Kanniga Cross-Platform: Gerald Cai Jyotirmoy Saha Khim Loh Leslie Lee Stella Wee


Singapore Book Council Team

Executive Director: William Phuan

Head, Capability Development: Celine Chow

Senior Manager, Marketing: Ethan Leong

Since May, AFCC has been organising and presenting a slew of digital public programmes as our way of keeping connected and engaged with friends and supporters of the Festival.

We are proud to present here a series of digital programmes for your enjoyment, accessible from the comfort of your home or from wherever you may be.

Senior Manager, Admin & Finance: Vasantha Devi Managers, Programmes: Caroline Wan Shafienas Salleh Sharon Lim

Consultant: Carlo B Pena Marketing Executive: Neshma Thamil

Interns: Anshoo Avale Nadiratul Zahara Binte Roslan Nur Sabrina Bte Mohd Tulos Nur Elly Nawwarah Bte J Seo Qiao Ting

Digital Storytelling Tools with Rushton Hurley


Watch It

BIG Country of Focus Roundtable: What Makes a Good Illustration?


Watch It

Ready for KidLit!


Watch It


Watch It

S pecial thanks to our past interns: Erlisa Sharida Sherrie Tan

The Art of Adaptation: A Virtual Public Talk


AFCC Masterclass

Pre-festival Events: 2 October

Each masterclass session is ticketed individually. off regular prices. AFCC Digital Pass holders enjoy a discount of 10% - 15%

1:00pm — 2:30pm Page to Screen Adaptation webinar Free via Registration

Enhance your knowledge and develop your skills by participating in our masterclass.

Fresh from its success at the Berlin Film Festival, AFTRS alumni Lisa Hoppe will share her experiences in adapting the popular coming-of-age novel, My Life as an Alphabet, into a critically acclaimed and award-winning international feature film, H is for Happiness. Described by Variety as “feel-good entertainment for the entire family without pandering — or sacrificing style or substance,” Lisa talks about her adaptation process from book to film from the perspective of both writer and producer. The session will present a contemporary case study of how to negotiate screen adaptations for a global market and will include Q & A.

Understanding the Editorial Process Date: 2 October 2020 (Friday) Time: 9:30am - 12:30pm (SGT) Featuring Joanna Cárdenas Platform: Online via Zoom Admission: $40

Find out what it’s like to work with an editor while learning tips for polishing your manuscript in this intensive masterclass by Joanna Cárdenas, Senior Editor at Kokila (Penguin Random House). She’ll share insights on the author-editor relationship, discuss her editorial process, and facilitate a hands-on workshop to look at a project of your choice. This interactive masterclass allows for one-to-one discussion of each participant’s work. Participants will need to prepare a one-page sample text (e.g. the first page of a novel or a short picture book text) prior to the masterclass.

Registration info available at

2pm — 3pm PITCH

Lisa Hoppe Peter Herbert Pieter Aquilia

Writer’s Pitch


Thinking of getting published? Here’s your chance! Make a date with publishing representatives and literary agents from local and international publishers to pitch your book project for the chance to make it a reality.

Clelia Gore Daphne Lee Joanna El Mir Lynette Teo Nora Nazerene Paul Rockett Sayoni Basu Tina Narang

Meet publishing professionals from Scholastic Asia, Samir Éditeur, Penguin Random House SEA, Hachette UK and many more at the AFCC 2020 Writer’s Pitch.

4:30pm - 5:30pm Media Critique PITCH Translate your ideas into a television, web series, games or even an interactive app! Seize the opportunity to trial pitch your concept to a panel of commisioners. The AFCC Media Critique is an opportunity for writers and content creators to trial pitch their ideas to a selected panel of producers and commissioners, and to receive invaluable feedback on their presentations. Up to five (5) established media commissioners and producers will be on the panel to give their feedback and critique to participants from The Art (and Science) of Pitching Masterclass held in August.



Comments Barry Toa Carlene Tan Karen Tang Khim Loh Trevor Lai Moderator: Jyotirmoy Saha


Our Folktales Book Launch

Digital Symposium: 3 October 9:00am — 10:30am PANEL

11am — 12pm PANEL

1pm – 2pm PANEL

Opening Session: Children’s Books in the Time of Crisis and Change In times of crisis and change, how have children’s book writers, illustrators, publishers responded to what was happening? What role does literature play in helping children to navigate through such situations? In this session, examine how children’s literature have documented pivotal moments in history, and explore how it continues to do so in our current times.

Building Resilience in Children During Crisis


Reflecting AFCC’s continuing discussions on writing about difficult topics for children, this session deep-dives into how books dealing with socially and culturally sensitive issues can be a source of support for children during challenging times.

Myra Garces-Bacsal Patrick Yee Tohby Riddle Moderator: Low Joo Hong

The Power of Poetry


Poetry is a powerful tool for children to explore their feelings within a simplified form. This session deep dives into the poetic form, its functions and potential and discusses what makes it appealing to children. Understand this quiet but inventive medium in children’s writing in this session.

Marc Nair Mariko Nagai Naomi Shihab Nye Moderator: Loh Chin Ee

2:30pm — 3:30pm Creating Digital Content: Now and the New Future PANEL In recent years, the production rate and amount of digital content have increased exponentially. Now more than ever, how are content producers, such as audiobook and e-book platforms, catering to this increasing demand from consumers? What trends do they foresee will dominate the world of children’s and young adult content?

4pm – 5pm PANEL


Comments Bijal Vachharajani Camilla Reid Junko Yokota Moderator: Emily Lim-Leh

Comments Dexter Ong Goh Chun Hoong Jai Zende Moderator: Gerald Cai

This is What I Read: Spotlight on Young Book Reviewers


Hear from our target audience on what they enjoy seeing in the books that they read and what they are looking out for in books to come. Learn more about their likes and dislikes, and the formats and platforms where they consume content.

Ang Ben Wei Bobby Hu Swetha Senthilkumar Tay Tze Ern Moderator: Kim Beeman

lar Rediscover the magic of Asia’s most beloved and popu folktales in this one-of-a-kind compilation featuring stories from AFCC’s past Countries of Focus. WHEN: 3 Oct (Fri), 6:30Pm - 7:30pm (SGT) Platform: Online via AFCC Facebook Live

What started as a response to a simple call for regional partnership has now burgeoned into a special compilation of all-time favourite folktales that spans across shared narratives and underlines cultural cohesion among contributing nations. A regional collaborative project across eight former Countries of Focus of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC), Our Folktales: The All-time Favourite Folktales from Asia features eight beloved and popular illustrated stories from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Singapore, compiled and adapted in both print and digital formats. Featured in the collection are the following folktales: The Zodiac Story (China); A Camel for Kelam (India), Princess Kemang (Indonesia); Issun-Boshi (Japan); Princess Gunung Ledang (Malaysia); Journey to Happy Land (Myanmar); The Brother of the Three Marias (Philippines); and Badang The Mighty Warrior (Singapore). The book is edited by editor-publisher Ruth Wan-Lau from World Scientific Publishing. This is a collection of timeless folktales that will surely excite both the young and young at heart, as they traverse through mystical forests of imagination, oceans of wonder and awe, and lands beyond that feel close to home. The book can be purchased at AFCC’s official festival bookstore, Closetful of Books.


Digital Symposium: 4 October 9:30am — 10:30am PANEL

11am — 12pm PANEL

Creative Crunch: Creating Within and Above Crisis


As the saying goes - when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. How do creators cope when dealt with challenges that make the process of writing an even harder task than usual? How do they find inspiration and turn adversity into opportunity? Find out in this exciting panel that features seasoned creators from all over.

Ace Khong Leila Boukarim Robert Alejandro Trevor Lai Moderator: Denise Tan

(A New) Required Reading: Comics and Graphic Novels in Schools


Comics and graphic novels have long been overlooked as potential reading aids for children, but as more writers and publishers push out comics and graphic novels targeted specifically at the younger crowd, how can parents and teachers help young readers benefit from reading these to cultivate a love of reading?

1pm – 2pm PANEL

Curating the iGeneration Reading List


Reading tastes and subjects change with each generation. As we enter into this new decade, what are the “must-reads” that should be included in the new generation’s reading list and why should they be so? This panel will discuss and debate on their list of suggested reads for the iGeneration.

Ahmad Redza bin Ahmad Khairuddin Jochen Weber Maria Russo Rasyidah Angullia Moderator: Katie Day

2:30pm — 3:30pm Building Virtual Communities: Do’s and Don’ts PANEL The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way we interact with others, with digital/online interaction now considered the norm for the foreseeable future across industries including creative content and education. This panel will discuss about these changes and how creators and users are building new virtual communities.

4pm – 5pm PANEL


Carol Tilley Felicia Low-Jimenez Minh Lê Remy Lai Moderator: Lim Cheng Tju

Comments David Liew Dexter Ong Marilyn Brigham Moderator: Charlene Shepherdson

Digital Festivals and Book Fairs: The New Normal?


This year’s major book fairs and literary festivals have all had a common theme – the conversion of their event from physical to digital. Do organisers consider this as a silver lining or has it affected engagement with audiences? How has the literary industry, whose modus operandi is usually physical in nature, adapted to the unusual situation with the use of digital technology, and do they see this as the prime solution moving forward?

Alicia Chew Carolina Ballester Cristina Fuentes La Roche Kamolpaj Tosinthiti Moderator: Julia Wheeler

Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award Ceremony WHEN: 4 Oct (Fri), 6:00Pm - 6:30pm (SGT) Platform: Online via AFCC Facebook Live

The Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award (HABA) is presented biennially to an outstanding children’s book written by a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident. This year, the fifth edition of the award ceremony will be held online for the first time and will be live-streamed on the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC)’s Facebook. The objectives of the award are: »» To encourage the quality and quantity of books published for children; and »» To promote the publication of books, set in a familiar and meaningful background that is relevant to Singapore children. The prize carries a cash award, which is to be shared by the creators of the winning work, i.e. author and illustrator. Creators of the winning title will each get a cash prize of $3,000 and a plaque.

About Mrs Hedwig Anuar: Mrs Hedwig Anuar was the first Singaporean Director of the National Library of Singapore, a position she held from 1960 until her retirement in 1988. She put in place the foundations of the modern library system in Singapore and made contributions to all aspects of library work. This award recognises her outstanding contribution to children’s librarianship and the promotion of books and reading for children.


Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award


Jun and the Octopus

Kelly and the Krumps

Author: Ekkers


Illustrator: Lim An-ling

Illustrator: Lolita Chiong

Publisher: Singapore Children’s Society

Publisher: Epigram Books

Ken Kwek

Panjang: The Tall Boy Who Became Prime Minister Author

The Incredible Basket Author/Illustrator: Quek Hong Shin Publisher: Epigram Books

Peh Shing Huei

Illustrator: Drewscape Publisher: World Scientific Publishing

Jun has a secret. It is about Mok, the uncle from the neighbouring village who has come to help Ma and Pa. Jun is happy that Mok has taught him how to swim, but there is something that Mok does which worries him and gives him nightmares. What should Jun do? What will happen to him? This is a story to introduce children to the issues relating to body safety.

Kelly Mao has got quite the headache: her tiger mum is threatening to ground her, her tuition timetable barely gives her time to eat, and she suspects her twin brother is up to something. On top of everything, the PSLE is looming! When the pressure gets too intense, Kelly decides to secretly join a dance crew called the Krumps, but slowly she gets entangled in her brother’s troubles with an evil genius named Fang Boy.

Panjang is the tallest kid around. He hates standing out, but little does he know, he’s on his way to greater heights… This book tells the childhood story of Singapore’s second prime minister, Goh Chok Tong, and how he conquered his self-consciousness to become a leader. This “tall” tale inspires children to embrace the things that make them different.

In this sequel to The Amazing Sarong, a beautiful Chinese wedding basket is used in myriad ways. Xiaoming delivers a batch of ang ku kueh with the basket, then fashions it into a prop for a lion dance. When the sun beats down on him, he repurposes the basket’s cover as a hat! At home in a secondfloor shophouse, the basket is attached to a rope to pass a comic book and a bowl of noodles.

Ekkers (aka Goh Eck Kheng) is a book editor and the founder of publishing house Landmark Books. He is a keen photographer and potter, and also a long-time collector of children’s books. He was the chairman of the Speak Good English Movement and participated in a volunteer children’s reading programme at one-room HDB flats. Eck Kheng is the author of two children’s books, Jun and the Octopus and Friends, A Counting

Ken Kwek is a screenwriter, film director, playwright and author of the best-selling Timothy and the Phubbers, his first children’s novel. Ken studied literature at the University of Cambridge and dramatic writing at New York University. He worked as a journalist and a cook for a few years, then wrote and directed several movies.

Peh Shing Huei is a Singapore Literature Prize-winning author of several books, including the bestseller Neither Civil Nor Servant: The Philip Yeo Story. He is a founding partner of content agency The Nutgraf, and former news editor and China bureau chief at The Straits Times.

Quek Hong Shin is a freelance illustrator who has illustrated several picture books including The Amazing Sarong, Lolly’s Secret and the Ahoy, Navy! series for the Republic of Singapore Navy’s 50th anniversary. The Amazing Sarong – the first book he wrote and illustrated–was shortlisted for Best Children’s Title at the Singapore Book Awards 2016. He conducts workshops for primary school children and is an advocate for Superhero Me, an inclusive arts movement for children with special needs. He intends to promote local culture to the young through his works and storytelling.


Lim An-ling is an animator and illustrator. Her handmade animated short film has been shown in major animation festivals. She has illustrated fiction and non-fiction books for both adults and children. She has also worked on mixed-media projects for the Singapore Discovery Centre and illustrated several issues of Singapore stamps.


Lolita Chiong is the illustrator of Timothy and the Phubbers. She is currently studying illustration with animation at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. She loves drawing cartoons, pixel art and comics. In her spare time, Lolita loves going to the bird park to draw the birds, and the prawning pools to catch prawns.

Drewscape (aka Andrew Tan) is a freelance illustrator and an Eisner-nominated comic artist. He is the author of two graphic novels - Monsters, Miracles and Mayonnaise and The Ollie Comics: Diary of a first-time dad. He enjoys experimenting with new art styles and drawing tools. His illustrations can be found in the children’s series Sherlock Sam, as well as the monthly Young Parents Magazine, as well as in magazines, print ads and picture books.


Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award


Donna Lim Chief Judge

We Can

X and O are B.F.Fs

Author/Illustrator: Ben Lai


Publisher: Epiphany Arts

Illustrator: Xinnie Ng

Dr Donna Lim is a lecturer with the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She specialises in primary English Language methodology. Her interest area is in developing literacy with a focus on teaching writing. She has considerable teaching experience with young learners and finds it fulfilling to work with fellow educators to enhance EL teaching and learning. Dr Lim serves as the Chief Judge for HABA 2020.

Lynette Teo

Publisher: Bubbly Books

No child is an island! Join Ah Girl in her day-to-day interactions with her family and friends. Discover local culture and icons while exploring the many ways we can achieve more when we work and play with others.

While A always gets to be first and Z has the final say, X and O are the quiet overachievers of the lot. X and O are BFFs! is a warm and light-hearted tale about X and O—best friends, partners in crime, the yin and the yang. This story is an engaging read about how X and O together, have a role in the language of love, music and play.

A multidisciplinary designer and illustrator, Ben Lai is a picture book maker and an advocate of play. He draws inspiration from things that enable people to appreciate their relationships with our surroundings and people.

When Lynette Teo isn’t thinking up fun escapades for X and O, she is, oddly enough, a full-time copywriter. She is also a wife, daughter, sister, and a lucky mom to a happy and energetic five-year-old girl who inspires her to be better every single day. You can find more writing by Lynette at her blog, where she muses about parenting and other stuff. Fuelled by the love of creative exploration, Xinnie Ng creates and concocts illustrative designs that brew and balance a love for the handwritten and digital. Born and bred in Singapore, her background in art, industrial design and intense people-watching guide her creative process and perspective.


Charles Santoso

Find out more about the HABA shortlisted writers and illustrators in this series of video interviews with them.

Watch Interviews

Charles Santoso loves drawing little things in his little journal and dreaming about funny, wondrous stories. He gathers inspiration from his childhood memories and curiosities he discovers in his everyday travels. He has illustrated books for publishers in the USA such as Simon & Schuster, Scholastic, Harper Collins, Penguin Random House, Disney Hyperion, Abrams, Bloomsbury, Little Brown and MacMillan. He has also illustrated the New York Times bestseller Wishtree book by Katherine Applegate.

Lee Kow Fong Lee Kow Fong (Ah Guo) holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Translation and Interpretation from Nanyang Technological University and received his MA in Children’s Book Illustration from Anglia Ruskin University in 2011. Besides teaching part-time at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, he is also actively involved in the promotion and creation of children’s picture books in Singapore. So far, he has published near to 20 books and is now a full-time illustrator.


Check out new titles for children and young adults in this series of digital book launches, organised in the lead-up to AFCC.

Digital Book Launches 26 September 11:30am — 12:30pm New Titles from Epigram Books

Saturday’s Surprisingly SuperDuper Lesson Author: Jolene Tan Illustrator: Isabella Tong It’s a lovely Saturday morning and Aish would rather be riding her bicycle than doing maths sums in a classroom. But when Aish’s doodles come to life, Saturday’s lesson doesn’t seem so boring after all.

Just a Little Mynah Author: Evelyn Sue Wong Illustrator: Dhanendra Poedjono Little Mynah wishes she was not so ordinary. But when her friend, the magnificent Heron, gets into trouble she flies into action and discovers that even ordinary little birds can do extraordinary things. This is the first multilingual picture book in a series to be published by Epigram Books that introduces preschoolers and early primary kids to the diverse languages and cultures of Singapore.

1pm – 2pm

That’s it, Pancit! Author: Patricia Celina Ngo Illustrator: Rebecca V. Yu Lily loves being Chinese and Filipino. It means she can have two of everything! She has two names, two languages, and even two birthdays! But when she is asked if she’s just Chinese or Filipino, how will she ever choose between the two?


2:30pm – 3.30pm New Titles from Asiapac Books

Elizabeth Choy: Her Story Author: Danny Jalil Illustrator: Zaki Ragman The creators of Lieutenant Adnan and The Last Regiment are back with another history graphic novel based on war heroine Elizabeth Choy. Be awed by this moving story of a young woman who, with compassion and resolve, survived unimaginable horrors to become one of the most iconic heroes in history.

Sacred Guardians Author: Aydeel Djhoeharie Illustrator: Alan Bay A sudden invasion by a powerful demon from another realm threatens ancient Southeast Asia and the whole world. Dev, a mythical and immortal being from the island of Tumasik, must now race against time to gather the five chosen by the Sacred Guardian Spirits in order to fight this terrifying threat.

4pm – 5pm New Titles from Marshall Cavendish:

Captain Green and the Tree Machine Author: Evelyn Bookless Illustrator: Danny Deeptown Captain Green is back and this time he’s creating a gadget to help save the planet. As he fine-tunes his invention, disaster strikes. Hornbill’s tree has been chopped down and there’s tree trouble for Elephant and Orangutan too. Captain Green scrambles to finish his invention—a TREE MACHINE—and zooms to the rescue! ZAP! ZOOP! ZINK! Trees pop up everywhere until… BANG! Oh no! How will Captain Green save the animals now?

Stuffed! Author: Pippa Chorley Illustrator: Danny Deeptown When Sam awakes to find her stuffed toys lying in every corner of her room, she is sure that they have had an argument in the night. Will she be able to help Hop, Pig and Fluff solve their squabbles so that everyone can get a good night’s sleep? Join Sam and her soft, cuddly toys in this fun rhyming story as they try to resolve their differences and remain the best of friends.

The Princess and the Pee Author: Daniel Boey Illustrator: Santhi and Sari Tunas

7pm – 7:30pm

Sleepy, Sleepy New Year Author & Illustrator: Meng Yanan Translator: Izzy Hasson Bao Bear has never heard of Chinese New Year. He decides to invite the Fox, Mouse and Bunny families together to learn more about this celebration. However, as the end of autumn nears and Bao Bear gets sleepier, can he stay awake to find out? Join us for a special book launch featuring the winning entry for the 6th Bai Meigui Translation Competition, run annually by the Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing, at the University of Leeds, co-organised with the Singapore Book Council.

Watch Launch

Sasha is a shy, sweet, dainty little dog with the most beautiful set of eyes who was afraid of everything. She was scared of loud noises and stuffed toys. She was even afraid of the soft comfy bed that her humans bought her. This is the tale of an ex-breeding dog, who had never experienced life in a home, who did not know what a bed, a toilet or a dining area was and how she was schooled by the princess Leia (herself an ex-breeding rescue) into the fairest lady who became the belle of the ball.


Book Illustrators Gallery 27 September 1pm – 2pm

4pm – 5pm

The Hungry Ghost

Going with the Floe: An Arctic Voyage

Author: H. S. Norup Freja moves to Singapore during the hungry ghost festival month. When a mysterious girl appears in the garden, Freja tries to discover the girl’s identity. Her search leads Freja to an old family mystery, one that must be unravelled to allow both girls to be freed from secrets long-buried.

2:30PM – 3:30PM New Titles from Epigram Books

Ace Agent Spycat and the Flying Sidekick Author: Darren Lim Illustrator: Lai Hui Li Follow the FELINE agents as they jet off to Boracay to stop the villainous penguin king Blackwing from destroying the island. Ace Agent Spycat, a new action-packed adventure series, recounts the crimefighting escapades of Spycat, a Singaporean agent extraordinaire, with the First Enforcement League for Inter-National Emergencies, better known as FELINE.

Lion Boys and Fan Girls Author: Pauline Loh Prome has taken over the popular Leopop group Lion Legends as the Principal Lion Head and big brother. Taking his new role very seriously, he decides to make a pact with his loyal lion partner Mercury to ban dating and concentrate on their careers. But their plans go awry when both meet two curious girls with strong personalities.


Author: Coonoor Kripalani Illustrator: Amanda Simmons A Polar Bear cub is swept off on an ice floe. Titli helps Mother Polar Bear to give chase to the ice floe. Along the way, they seek help from other Arctic animals to guide them. The waves reveal unique features of these animals. Join Titli on this exciting Arctic Voyage. Will Mother Polar Bear find her cub?

5:30pm - 6:30pm

Girl Out of Place Author: Syl van Duyn Java, 1945: Nell, 15, is released from a Japanese internment camp and searches for her father. She goes first to Singapore then to Australia. Although the boy she meets, Tim, may well be the love of her life, her father sends her to Holland. Will she ever see Tim again?

A key feature of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC), the Book Illustrators Gallery (BIG) showcases diverse artwork from picture books, comics, and graphic novels by illustrators and artists from Southeast Asia, Asia, and the Asian diaspora. It offers a platform for the authors, publishers and the public to take notice of your illustrations. Featuring close to 200 illustrations by 87 illustrators from 13 Asian countries, BIG invites visitors to explore new cultures and the best of picture book illustrations from around Asia in its first-ever online galleries. BIG has been a popular feature at the annual AFCC, where the exhibition is usually held at the National Library. Presented in a digital format for the first time, the online exhibition will be larger and more extensive than its previous editions – showcasing both open call submissions and curated illustrations from past AFCC Countries of Focus such as China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines as well as Singapore.

Illustration by Narjes Mohammadi (Iran) for What a Brilliant Idea!


Book Illustrators Gallery


Carolina Ballester China - Spain

Mira Widhayati Indonesia

Paula Pang Singapore (Illo Picto)

Carolina Ballester holds an 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). Since 2013, she is the 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 consultant for the Chen Bochui illustration exhibition and collection. She lives and works between Shanghai and Madrid, Spain.

Mira Widhayati graduated from Bandung Institute of Technology’s Visual Communication Design. As a freelance illustrator, her career started from illustrating short stories for children magazine, Bobo. Mira is a member of Kelompok Pencinca Bacaan Anak (Society for the Advancement of Children’s Literature) and was sent to Bratislava in 2015 as one of Indonesia’s representations for UNESCO-BIB Albin Brunovsky Workshop. Until now, she’s still illustrating picture books and also finds joy in storytelling.

Paula Pang is an illustrator based in Singapore. She draws to make new discoveries, to tell a story and to connect with people. She gathers muse from her curiosity about life and weaves it together with her quiet, whimsical and mischievous nature to create a world where the impossibilities are made possible. Her works have been told to be whimsical and witty with a touch of softness. She chanced upon a chance to illustrate her first children’s book Chocolate Bunny in 2011, which led to other publishing opportunities.

Chihiro Art Museum Curation Team

Darel Seow Singapore (Illo Picto)

Priya Kuriyan India

The curators of the Chihiro Art Museum (Tokyo and Azumino) work to promote the artistic value of picture books, diversity of culture and peace and happiness for children of the world. Artists featured in exhibitions curated include Shigeru Hatsuyama, Suekichi Akaba, Shaun Tan, Cho Eun Young. Besides preparing exhibitions which change four times per year, their work also includes writing book reviews, book reading, giving lectures and holding workshops for various audiences.

Priya Kuriyan is a children’s book writer-illustrator, comics maker and chronic doodler. She has directed educational films for the Sesame street show (India) and the Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI) and has illustrated numerous children’s books for publishers like Tulika Books, Penguin, Scholastic and Hachette to name a few. She has contributed to Indian comics anthologies like Pao, This Side That Side, Eat the Sky Drink the Ocean and First Hand 2 (an anthology of non-fiction comics). She collaborated with the writer Devapriya Roy on a graphic biography of Indira Gandhi for young adults published by context, an imprint of Westland books. In 2019, she won the ‘Big Little Book Award’ instituted by the Parag initiative of Tata Trusts to recognise her contribution to children’s literature in India. She lives and works in the city of Bangalore and in her spare time makes funny caricatures of its residents.



Clockwise from top left: Yuko Takesako, Fumiko Uejima, Michiko Matsukata, Megumi Harashima

Alfredo Santos Philippines Alfredo Santos is publishing manager for South East Asia of Room to Read, an international non-profit organization that promotes literacy and gender equality in education. He has conducted children’s book author and illustrator workshops in the Philippines, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Honduras and a number of books developed in these workshops have won international book awards. He is also an award-winning writer and education specialist and holds a Master of Education degree from Harvard University.

Darel Seow is a visual storyteller who illustrates the tales of the natural world through his unique brand of wry wit and whimsy. He believes in the draw of storytelling as a means of engagement, creating experiences that simultaneously excite and educate. Particularly interested in museums and culture, he has worked with art, cultural and educational institutions to encourage learning through the power of imagination and play.

Illustration by Ngo Ngoc Mai (Vietnam) for Dung La Tet

Ben Lai Singapore (Illo Picto) Ben Lai is a multidisciplinary designer in the toy, publishing and entertainment industry, a picture bookmaker and an advocate of play. He draws inspiration from things that enable people to appreciate their relationships with our surroundings and people and he is always curious about how play can make a difference.


Speakers Ace Khong Singapore

Ang Ben Wei Singapore

Camilla Reid UK

Carol Tilley US

Ace Khong studied Graphic Design at LASALLE College of the Arts, where he graduated in 1999. His publications included a picture book entitled Jurogic, children illustration books and the Mido picture storybooks serial. In 2019, he was the Writer-in-Residence for the Toji Cultural Foundation in Wonju, Korea.

A Ravenclaw through and through, Ben Wei has always found pleasure in learning. Literature has provided him with ample opportunity for this, and he has spent many lazy afternoons meandering down passionate sentences. When he is of age, he would like to visit Middle-Earth.

Carol Tilley (Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois) studies the social and cultural history of comics 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.

»»Creative Crunch: Creating Within and Above

»»This is What I Read: Spotlight on Young Book

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.

Crisis (p18)

Reviewers (p16)

»»Children’s Books in the Time of Crisis and Change

»»(A New) Required Reading: Comics and Graphic Novels in Schools (p18)


Ahmad Redza bin Ahmad Khairuddin Malaysia

Ahmad Redza Ahmad Khairuddin is currently President of Malaysia IBBY (MBBY). He obtained his MBA from Ohio University, and a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from RMIT University, Australia. He has been involved in publishing for more than 20 years, most notably in the publication of educational and children’s books.

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.

»»Media Critique (p15)

»»Curating the iGeneration Reading List (p18)

Bijal Vachharajani India

Alicia Chew Singapore

Bijal Vachharajani is a senior editor at Pratham Books where she leads a team that creates open access picture books. She is a journalist with over 19 years of experience in writing, communication, and education for sustainable development.

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.

»»Digital Festivals and Book Fairs: The New Normal? (p18)

»»Children’s Books in the Time of Crisis and Change (p16)

Bobby Hu China/Singapore Bobby Hu (Qiaohua) is ten years old and he comes from China. He is currently a Year 6 student studying in Dulwich College Singapore. He likes to read all kinds of books such as animal books, adventure books, and mystery books. His favourite writers include Andy Griffiths, and J.K. Rowling.

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. She oversees the region’s current slate of originals that include the International Emmy-nominated Lamput Tinguji.

»»Media Critique (p15)

Carolina Ballester China - Spain Carolina Ballester holds an 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). Since 2013, she is international programme manager for the Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair.

»»Digital Festivals and Book Fairs: The New Normal? (p18)

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.

»»Writer’s Pitch (p15)

Cristina Fuentes La Roche UK Cristina Fuentes La Roche has overseen more than 100 events on five continents as the Hay Festival has steadily expanded its network of international editions. Under her, the international reach of the program has grown to include festival editions at Arequipa, Medellín, Cartegena, Abu Dhabi, Segovia and more. Before joining Hay Festival, Cristina worked in Canning House, promoting cultural understanding between Latin America and the UK – and was Director of National Events at Arts and Business. She was awarded an OBE in 2019 for services promoting education and culture in Latin America.

»»Digital Festivals and Book Fairs: The New Normal? (p18)

»»This is What I Read: Spotlight on Young Book Reviewers (p16)



Daphne Lee Malaysia

Felicia Low-Jimenez Singapore

Joanna El Mir Lebanon

Karen Tang Singapore

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.

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.

Joanna El Mir started working in publishing in 2001 as the Art Director at Samir Éditeur. 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.

»»Writer’s Pitch (p15)

»»(A New) Required Reading: Comics and Graphic

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 recognised with various accolades such as the Asian Academy Creative Awards, Golden Bell Awards, and the Asian Television Awards.

Novels in Schools (p18)

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.

»»Building Virtual Communities: Do’s and Don’ts (p18)

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.

»»Creating Digital Content: Now and the New Future (p16)

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.

»»Building Virtual Communities: Do’s and Don’ts (p18) »»Creating Digital Content: Now and the New Future (p16)

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.

»»Creating Digital Content: Now and the New Future (p16)

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.

»»Understanding the Editorial Process (p14)


»»Writer’s Pitch (p15)

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.

»»Curating the iGeneration Reading List (p18)

Junko Yokota US 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.

»»Children’s Books in the Time of Crisis and Change (p16)

Kamolpaj Tosinthiti Thailand Kamolpaj Tosinthiti was born in Thailand, and grew up in her family-owned bookstore. After graduating in French language and literature, she started working at Silkworm Books, where she is currently Associate Publisher. She is currently Vice-president of International Affairs on The Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand (PUBAT) board.

»»Digital Festivals and Book Fairs: The New Normal? (p18)

»»Media Critique (p15)

Khim Loh Singapore Khim Loh is one of Asia’s most experienced producers. She co-founded The Moving Visuals Co. and as Executive Producer, her work includes over 100 productions for both local and international broadcasters. Khim is currently President of the Association of Independent Producers (AIRPO) Singapore.

»»Media Critique (p15)

Leila Boukarim Lebanon/Singapore Leila Boukarim was born in Lebanon, raised in several countries, and resides in Singapore. She spends her time writing stories that 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.

»»Creative Crunch: Creating Within and Above Crisis (p18)

Lisa Hoppe Australia Lisa is the Writer and Producer of H is for Happiness — a family feature film which won the CinefestOz Film Prize. Lisa’s extensive experience as writer, script editor and script producer has seen her work featured across a range of genres and formats.

»»Page to Screen Adaptation (p15)


Lynette Teo Singapore

Marilyn Brigham US

Naomi Shihab Nye US

Peter Herbert Australia

Lynette Teo is an assistant editor at Epigram Books. She has an interest in working with authors for early reader board books, children’s picture books and early young adult novels. She is also a published picture book author, making her debut with the book X and O are BFFs!

Marilyn Brigham is an editor for Two Lions and Amazon Crossing Kids. Her noteworthy titles include the Duck and Hippo series and It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk. She is currently also acquiring picture books from around the world to translate into English for Amazon Crossing Kids. Prior to joining Amazon Publishing in 2012, Marilyn was at Marshall Cavendish, where she edited books for kids of all ages. When not editing or writing, Marilyn can be found at the beach.

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.

Peter Herbert is the Head of Screen Business and Producing at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS). Peter is a writer, producer and executive producer for many international companies including Crawford Productions, PBL Productions, Taffner Ramsay, Beyond International and Granada.

»»Building Virtual Communities: Do’s and Don’ts

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 she possesses a key network of relationships and keen knowledge of the region.

»»Writer’s Pitch (p15)

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 for fifteen years 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.

»»The Power of Poetry (p16)

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. 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.

»»Curating the iGeneration Reading List (p18)

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, amongst many others. She is the author of Dust of Eden (Albert Whitman 2014) and Under the Broken Sky (MacMillan USA 2019).

»»The Power of Poetry (p16)



Minh Lê US Minh Lê is the award-winning author of Drawn Together, Let Me Finish! and The Perfect Seat. He is also writing Green Lantern: Legacy, a graphic novel for DC Comics. In addition to writing books, he has written for a variety of publications, including the New York Times, NPR, and HuffPost.

»»(A New) Required Reading: Comics and Graphic Novels in Schools (p18)

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 served as Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) from 2011-2019 and currently serves as the International Advisor-atLarge for the AFCC.

»»Building Resilience in Children During Crisis (p16)

»»The Power of Poetry (p16)

Nora Nazerene Abu Bakar Singapore

»»Writer’s Pitch (p15)

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.

»»Building Resilience in Children During Crisis (p16)

Paul Rockett UK Paul Rockett has over 20 years’ experience of working in publishing with roles as diverse as art directing, authoring, and leading imprints within market leading organisations, such as BBC Worldwide, Pearson and OUP. He is currently publisher of the educational imprints Franklin Watts and Wayland at Hachette Children’s Group.

»»Writer’s Pitch (p15)

»»Page to Screen Adaptation (p15)

Pieter Aquilia Australia Pieter Aquilia is a scriptwriter, script editor and director, who has combined her practice with a career in academia. Pieter completed her Doctor of Creative Arts in Scriptwriting at the University of Technology Sydney. Her research publications cover Ethnic and Gender Representation on Screen, and the Media in Asia.

»»Page to Screen Adaptation (p15)

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.

»»Curating the iGeneration Reading List (p18)

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.

»»(A New) Required Reading: Comics and Graphic Novels in Schools (p18)


Robert Alejandro Philippines

Tina Narang India

Robert Alejandro is a graduate of Fine Arts from the University of the Philippines, an award-winning graphic artist, an illustrator, a painter, and one of the pillars of Filipino arts and design shop Papemelroti. He is a founding member of Illustrador ng Kabataan (INK), an organisation of children’s book illustrators.

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 20052017. This is her third time at AFCC, the first being in 2015, followed by the more recent one in 2019.

»»Creative Crunch: Creating Within and Above

»»Writer’s Pitch (p15)

Crisis (p18)

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.

»»Writer’s Pitch (p15)

Swetha Senthilkumar Singapore Swetha Senthilkumar is a 16-year-old who 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.

»»This is What I Read: Spotlight on Young Book Reviewers (p16)

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.

»»Building Resilience in Children During Crisis (p16)

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. Trevor has written and illustrated over 25 children’s books, including the Piggy and Tomo series. Trevor has presented over 1,000 creative workshops and industry event keynotes internationally.

»»Creative Crunch: Creating Within and Above Crisis (p18)

»»Media Critique (p15)

SBC Campus, our school outreach programme, offers both digital and in-person workshops for students from preschool to secondary and JC levels to understand, experience and appreciate Singapore Literature. We also have upcoming online workshops which feature topics on creative writing, imaginative writing and poetry writing available for school bookings.

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.

»»This is What I Read: Spotlight on Young Book Reviewers (p16)


Email for enquiries To download the catalogue of workshops, please visit:

Moderators Charlene Shepherdson Singapore

Gerald Cai Singapore

Katie Day Singapore

Loh Chin Ee Singapore

Charlene Shepherdson is a Singaporean poet and community organiser focused on language in written, performative and visual forms. She is interested in heritage, technology and creative education. Her poems have been published in From Walden to Woodlands and UnFree Verse (Ethos Books), A Luxury We

Katie Day is an international school teacher-librarian. An American with a masters in children’s literature from the UK and a masters in library science from Australia, she has lived in Asia since 1997, including 12 years in Singapore, first at United World College of Southeast Asia and now at Tanglin Trust School.

Loh Chin Ee is Associate Professor and Deputy Head (Research) at the English Language and Literature Academic Group at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. She is the co-editor of Little Things, Poetry Moves and co-author of

Cannot Afford, SingPoWriMo 2014: The Anthology (Math Paper Press) and The Straits Times.

EdTech has been an area close to Gerald’s heart for the past 18 years. He is currently the Managing Director and Co-founder of SnapLearn, a platform bringing learning and reading to life using Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) technologies. He was formerly the Head of Content & Services (Reading & Learning) at Samsung Asia and Regional Director (Education Platforms & Services) at Pearson APAC.

»»Building Virtual Communities: Do’s and Don’ts

»»Creating Digital Content: Now and the New


Future (p16)

Denise Tan Singapore

Julia Wheeler UK

Denise Tan started Closetful of Books after six years of working with children’s literature. With Closetful of Books, she shares her love for reading through specially-tailored workshops with authors and illustrators and super-duper fun book fairs in local and international schools. Denise also puts her studies in Mass Communications and English Literature to good use by spending all her time reading.

Julia Wheeler is an experienced journalist and interviewer, having worked with the BBC for more than 15 years as its Gulf Correspondent. She has moderated large-scale conferences and chaired inter-governmental forums, including Stanfords Travel Writers Festival, the Stratford Literary Festival and the British Library. She has also hosted online conversations, webinars and panel discussions for UK and international organisations and audiences.

»»Creative Crunch: Creating Within and Above Crisis (p18)

»»Digital Festivals and Book Fairs: The New Normal? (p18)

Emily Lim-Leh Singapore Emily Lim-Leh has written over 30 children’s picture books, with her bestselling Toy Series published in 4 languages in 5 countries. She is the first outside North America to win three IPPY medals and the first in Southeast Asia to receive the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. Emily was named Mediacorp’s Singapore Woman Award 2013 Honoree for inspiring readers through her writing.

»»Children’s Books in the Time of Crisis and Change

Jyotirmoy Saha Singapore Jyotirmoy Saha is a serial entrepreneur in the media and digital content space. He is renowned for being the Founder and CEO of August Media Holdings. In eight short years, he has taken the company to a position of leadership in the kids IP production business in Southeast Asia.

»»Curating the iGeneration Reading List (p18)

Kim Beeman USA/Singapore Kim Beeman is Head of the Senior Library at Tanglin Trust School in Singapore. She has previously worked as a teacher-librarian at independent schools in Bangkok and New York City, and was a cookbook librarian in New York City for many years.

»»This is What I Read: Spotlight on Young Book Reviewers (p16)

Teaching Poetry to Adolescents: A Teachers’ Guide to Little Things by Ethos Books.

»»The Power of Poetry (p16)

Low Joo Hong Singapore/UK Low Joo Hong has a degree in fine art, a MA in Children’s Book Illustration, and is currently doing a PhD in Art. Joo Hong is a finalist of the 2016 Best Children’s Title in the Singapore Book Award and the first runner-up for the 2019 Scholastic Picturebook Award.

»»Building Resilience in Children During Crisis (p16)

Lim Cheng Tju Singapore Lim Cheng Tju writes about history and popular culture. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Popular Culture and the International Journal of Comic Art. He co-authored The University Socialist Club and the Contest for Malaya: Tangled Strands of Modernity (Amsterdam University Press / NUS Press, 2012).

»»(A New) Required Reading: Comics and Graphic Novels in Schools (p18)

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AFCC Ticketing AFCC Digital Passes

AFCC 2020 takes place from 2 – 4 Oct in an entirely digital format. Join us on a digital journey of exploration with the various passes!

3 October Saturday

Digital Pass holders will have complimentary access to all recorded panel sessions at the Digital Symposium for two weeks post-festival.

*All ticket prices indicated exclude ticketing charges.

Ticket-Alt 4 October Sunday

Masterclasses 2 October Friday 9:30am – 12:30pm

Understanding the Editorial Process »» By Joanna Cárdenas »» 10% discount off regular prices for AFCC 2021 passes

S$ 40


3 – 4 October Saturday – Sunday

3 – 4 October Saturday – Sunday



1 Day Digital Pass (3 Oct) »» »» »» »»

Access to all the live-streamed sessions on 3 Oct Access to recorded AFCC sessions for 2 weeks post-event (for 3 Oct only) 10% off Masterclass tickets for AFCC 2020 15% discount for regular AFCC 2021 passes (any type)

S$ 30

1 Day Digital Pass (4 Oct) »» »» »» »»

Access to all the live-streamed sessions on 4 Oct Access to recorded AFCC sessions for 2 weeks post-event (for 4 Oct only) 10% off Masterclass tickets for AFCC 2020 15% discount for regular AFCC 2021 passes (any type)

S$ 30

2 Day Digital Pass (3 – 4 Oct) »» »» »» »»

Access to all the live-streamed sessions from 3 – 4 Oct Access to recorded AFCC sessions for 2 weeks post-event (for 3 – 4 Oct) 10% off Masterclass tickets for AFCC 2020 15% discount for regular AFCC 2021 passes (any type)

S$ 50

2 Day Digital Pass+ (3 – 4 Oct) »» Complimentary copy of new AFCC picture book, Our Folktales: The All-time Favourite Folktales of Asia (U.P. $20+) »» Access to all the live-streamed sessions from 3 – 4 Oct »» Access to recorded AFCC sessions for 2 weeks post-event (for 3 – 4 Oct) »» 15% off Masterclass tickets for AFCC 2020 »» 20% discount for regular AFCC 2021 passes (any type) »» Priority booking for AFCC 2021 tickets

S$ 60


Get your books now by AFCC’s featured speakers and from the book launches at our festival bookstore, Closetful of Books!

27 – 30 MAY 2021

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singaporebookcouncil sgbookcouncil w: e: 90 Goodman Road, Block E, #03-32 Goodman Arts Centre, Singapore 439053

Cover illustration by Chen Ziyue Information correct at time of printing. The festival organisers reserve the right to change speakers, events, session times, dates, and/or other details when necessary.