AFCC – a few more snaps and reflection

SO, AFCC is done and dusted for 2015. Next year the festival will be held from 25 – 29 May 2016 and the country of focus will be Japan. I know that there is an amazing amount of preparation going on for that and that the Japanese delegation and their contribution to the promotion of children’s books and content in Asia will be spectacular.

It was really grand for me (and for Kathleen Ahrens too) to catch up with the SCBWI Singapore folk. Many I have not met before so that was great see them buzzing along. It is glorious to hear about the advancement that is going on with creating amazing kids books there in Singapore, and it was a scrumptious meal we had by the water front organised by the extremely efficient and together Catherine Carvell (assistant Regional Advisor for Singapore SCBWI) – there were so many of us there that we were split over a number of tables. Next year they are already planning for larger feasting area!

I received a few more snaps from The Book Council in Singapore. I especially wanted one of the launch of the Chinese edition of Water with me and the rest of the crew on stage. It’s a bit hard to take the selfie on this stage … I tried … so I now have that photo, as well as the one with me looking rather lemon-lipped (as if I have sucked a lemon) as I am meeting Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State for the Ministry of Communications and Information at the China night celebrations.

A few personal reflections from the festival:

  • Singapore is a beautiful but I need to make time to get out and enjoy the beauty!
  • Hearing the children singing and telling stories on stage throughout the lunch breaks was a treat. there was so much animation and enthusiasm a few adults cold learn a lesson or two on voice projection.
  • Sneaking in to the bookstore (Closetful of Books) and spying copies of a number of my books. Throughout the festival too I was signing books when people snaffled me in the hallways, after sessions or while ascending in the lifts!
  • the National Library building – where the festival is held – is impressive. I snuck inside and found more of my books on the database – yeah! It’s what we writers and illustrators do!
  • Catching up with friends is INTEGRAL to the well being of an attendee like me, those like Candy Gourlay who delivered an impassioned talk on more Asian writers writing for Asian children. Candy also anchored the first AFCC Writer’s Retreat and that (according to all reports) was fantastic. I bumped into a few who attended the retreat and they were clamouring for more and more! Another was Andrea Passion-Flores who arranged for me to attend Manilla’s Little Lit Fest after a previous AFCC. She is also on the AFCC board and now an agent and having a blast. More SCBWI crew attending were Anushka Ravishanka and Naomi Kojima and of course Kathleen. And then my friend Nury Vittachi, another board member and a fellow debater with me. It’s one of the special things about attending these events is the ‘catching up’ that goes on! There are always a cohort of aussies at this festival too and across the halls I shouted and chatted to Sally MurphyTania McCartney, and Caroline Magerl with whom I have swapped oodles of emails so this was grand. And thankfully I was able to sit in on a few of their sessions.
  • The Book Illustrators Gallery showcases art from illustrators right across Asia, including Australia. Yeah! It really takes ages to look at it all and the range of art is very diverse and broad – from high end graphic novel style art to soft pastels that are just as intricately created.
  • The AFCC debate … fun and just a little juicy!
  • Book Launches are fun! There are numerous book launches at the festival – and not just of those published in Singapore. Tania threw her latest Two Peas out there to the world too.
  • Wonderful dinners and places to eat. Love the food!
  • Amazing Singapore kids book artists who prowl the sessions and sketch their observations. Disgustingly talented!
  • It’s also super to attend a night that celebrates the Singapore based authors and illustrators, an evening dedicated to Singapore authors and illustrators.
  • The AFCC Scholastic Picture Book Award and the Novel award. They are awarded in alternate years and this year was the picture book award – I rewrote the rules for this two years ago.
  • As well as session for writers and illustrators there are also sessions on transmedia; education; presenting to children; nurturing and developing readers; bilingual readers (especially important in Asia); pitching to a panel of authors and illustrators; as well as critiques of the ‘first pages’ of unpublished manuscripts … it must be rather nerve wracking for those audience members who are slightly and patiently sitting there in the audience waiting to hear what the ‘expert’ panel tells the whole world about their work.
  • and there is a whole lot more.

And being on the board I know that there are great developments happening for the 2016 festival. So if any of this entices make plans for AFCC 2016.

AFCC is growing. Each year the programme improves, new activities occur, the audience widens and children’s literature in Asia gains a higher profile. This is wonderful and I am delighted to be on the board and part of this great festival.

One Response to AFCC – a few more snaps and reflection

  1. Love your afterthoughts aka personal reflections, particularly the one about the “disgustingly talented” Singapore kids book artists. I too am very envious of fellow humans with such abilities. jsk

    Judith June 24, 2015 at 8:16 pm Reply

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