AFCC – Day 3

This is a little later than it should have been but after the Chinese launch of Water at AFCC it was straight on a midnight flight back to Sydney and work here. So here is the update upon the final day.

After more morning meetings it was time for our annual AFCC board meeting discussing ways to make the festival even more powerful and relevant to the folks in the Asian region. The board is a delightful collective of children’s lit folks from all over Asia. The empty seat next to Nury Vittachi is mine.

board meeting

board meeting

Then for me I was at two sessions. The first was a debate, the first ever for AFCC, with Nury Vittachi, Sarah Odedina and Shirin Bridges moderated by Viswa Sadasivan. Our topic – Asian Readers Deserve Better than Translations of Western Works, which really wasn’t as controversial as we would have liked. A debate on censorship or male vs female writers would have been nice and juicy. Never-the-less we, (and especially Nury and I as we had already discussed making it a tad more juicy) were able to add a bit of spice and swapped over a few comments along the way making it more of a debate.

Then a quick dash to another room for a moderating session with Alison Norrington discussing all things to do with Creating Epic Storyworlds discussing transmedia strategies that focus on creating storyworlds that are immersive, spreadable, shareable and high concept. She discussed oodles of books and film / TV productions that create the whole world around the narrative. Setting and enabling the scene and the characters, how the plotting and planning evolves, that will then progress to a multiple narrative. We had skyped a week prior to AFCC – while she was embedded in a Utah hotel workshopping with film creators so I was able to add some discussion for her as well.

This night, the final night of the Writers and Illustrators component, was the AFCC highlight for me. Total self interest here. It was China Night, where the simplified Chinese edition of Water was released. This was such an exuberant experience for me. Never did I imagine when my first title was published more than 25 years ago that a book I write would be published in Chinese. Hopefully my family, especially the Chinese crew, get as much of a buzz as I do from this. I was also invited to say a few words about the book and of course those were directed at family and my cultural roots.

Water (Chinese edition)

The night also had a drama presentation with a story retelling and also a musical interlude by the Teng Ensemble and these guys were just invigorating. Two instruments they used were ones I had never seen, the Sheng and the Pipa. With China being the Country of focus, much of the evening was delivered in Mandarin. My Chinese only goes as far as ultra basic ‘count to ten’ and that’s in Cantonese! Thankfully there were interpreters – even for my off the cuff speech. And thanks to those lovely folk who have tweeted and facebooked lovely words about the book and the launch.

So for me AFCC was over after China night. A taxi ride to the airport and then the flight back home with a quick call to the Australian High Commissioner on the way as he couldn’t make it to the launch of Water. And then AFCC 2015 is done!

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