Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC) 2016

The AFCC (Asian Festival of Children's Content) is a much-awaited annual event looked forward to by those connected with children - children's writers, ilustrators, publishers, teachers and parents.

This was my 4th year attending the event.  So I decided to do things a bit differently.  Instead of signing up for all three days of the Writers and Illustrators Conference, I signed up for just Day 1.  And given my involvement with children through my past teaching experience and recent endeavours with storytelling, I decided to sign up for the two-day Teachers' Congress.

Cover of my 1st picture book
This year was different for another reason as well.  I was attending the event as an 'author'.  Yes, a published writer!  It was quite unexpected, but it has happened, at last!  Yayyyy!

The SCBWI Booth
When I got to the venue (National LIbrary Board, SG) on May 25th morning, I first headed to the SCBWI Booth in the Plaza.  Catherine Carvell (RA, SCBWI and Author, "Darcy Moon and the Deep-fried Frogs") had graciously arranged for a booth for members to display books, put up posters and keep giveaways.
I proudly put up the poster designed by my publisher.  

"Cracking the Golden Egg..."
Proudly posing with my poster
Then I excitedly raced in to begin my day.  The first session I attended was a panel discussion on "Cracking the Golden Egg at Literary Festivals".  The panel consisted of Maria Alessandrino and Felicia Low-Jimenez and was moderated by Ken Spillman.  Maria shared her perspective as a Festival Program Coordinator for the Sydney Writers Festival while Felicia shared hers as a published author.  The discussion wasn't quite what I thought it would be about, but it was interesting to listen in.

Cathy Hirano - "On Translation"
Next, it was Cathy Hirano's session, "On Translation" for me.  Cathy shared her experience as a translator of Japanese children's books along with some history of Japanese literature, which I found extremely interesting.

"The Editors are your Best Friend", a panel discussion comprising Sarah Odedina, Daphne Lee (Scholastic) and Andrea Pasion-Flores (Jacaranda agency), was extremely engaging.  Getting the perspectives of three different editors was indeed a added bonus and gave a lot to take away from.

Later that afternoon, I pitched my stories at the "Speed Pitching" session to two editors.  One of them offered potential edits on my story (which was disappointing, but her suggested idea was good!) and the other was interested in reading the manuscript (atleast one to have hope from!).  So both went off well in their own sweet ways.

Holly Thompson, Cynthia Leitich Smith,
Andrea Pasion-Flores and Chris Cheng
at First Pages
The last session was the one held every year that I never miss - "First Pages: Writing Critique".  Whether you enter your first page or not, it is a tremendous learning experience to know what each person in the panel thinks of the text on the screen.

I received some useful pointers for my first page which was the beginning of a chapter book story.
CoB store
All in all, it was a very hectic day.  Apart from the various sessions, I loved browsing the Festival bookstore Closeful of Books (CoB), browsing the Book Illustrators Gallery (BIG) and most of all, meeting new people from various parts of India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Books, books, books....and more books...

Here is a photo-walk through the rest of my experience at AFCC 2016:

Evelyn Wong at the launch of "Take Flight"
Never thought of a teacher as an 'Actor'

With Ken Spillman at
Makan & Mingle
With Ary Nilandari from Indonesia

An interesting Lego session at the
Teachers' Congress
Brian Zimmerman and his amazing puppetry
High- spirited Nirzara Verulkar at
her book launch - "Town rides the rails of brightness"
Swapna Mirashi at her book launch of
"Olive & Jay Beach Bungle"

Jumaini Ariff at the launch of
"P.S. Grandpa I love you"
Something to take away...   


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