Sunday, October 8, 2017

SCBWI SG _____ The Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2018 says: authors and illustrators, get ready for more speed dating

NOTE: This post is part of my SCBWI SG coverage. We're the local chapter of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Read about our Singapore group here.

I’ve been attending the Asian Festival of Children’s Content for three years now. Blog posts for proof: 2015, 2016 and 2017. It’s always been held in May. But not next year. In 2018, it’ll happen in September instead. Oooh! Shaking things up.

You might think that September 2018 is almost a year away. But many authors and illustrators have already been busy about this. We’ve had to submit programme proposals, you see. The deadline was back in September 2017.

From past experience, there’s always too much to explore at the AFCC. And too little time to do it all. So it helps if you get familiar with what’s happening in advance. This lets you make arrangements to meet people, attend book launches, catch specific sessions, and have long dinners with fellow content creators at the end of each day.

To get you started early, here’s an interview with Kenneth Quek from the AFCC organising committee. He introduces next year's Country of Focus, explains what sessions you can expect, shares their social media plan leading up the event, and also highlights how their speed dating format at the last AFCC was effective in getting writers and illustrators more exposure. So prepare for more speed dating. Do brush up on your skills, if you can.

Kenneth also used to be the Regional Advisor for SCBWI SG. If you have any suggestions or requests for AFCC 2018, feel free to reach out over social media or email.

Thanks to Kenneth and team for this interview, and also supplying the photos.

— D

This is Kenneth. Besides books, he also likes balloons.


Greetings! Do introduce yourself.
I’m Kenneth and I’ve been working at the Book Council since 2011, first as the AFCC Festival Manager, then as the Festival Director.

How will AFCC 2018 be different?
In 2018, the Country of Focus (COF) at AFCC will be Singapore. Since we began the COF at AFCC 2012, we’ve gone all around Asia, featuring the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan, and Indonesia, and with the Book Council celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2018, and with the growth in children’s books and content in Singapore over the last five, ten years, we thought it was the right time to feature Singapore.

Something we tried this year that will be expanded next year, is speed dating for authors and illustrators with teachers. We’ve tried networking sessions in the past, but the speed dating format puts everyone in a different frame of mind and is more effective than trying to make connections in a social setting. (We will still have a relaxed evening for people to mingle and chat.)

We continue to develop our existing conferences within AFCC for writers, illustrators, digital media, teachers and parents, as well as present awards to highlight both local and Asian talent.

What are some new challenges in the world of children's content today, and how will AFCC 2018 help writers, illustrators and publishers in these areas?
I think that essentially the main challenge in children’s content remains the same, and that is how do authors and illustrators reach their audience? What is different today compared to even ten years ago is that there are so many avenues for this to happen, and I think that sometimes this is daunting for the content creators. AFCC is here to help you navigate that, we try and show you all that ways that it can happen - each has its own challenges and rewards, and we try to present that also.

In terms of developing creative skills, AFCC will also continue to provide workshops and masterclasses for writers and illustrators who want continue improving their talent.

The AFCC team

How are you using social media to connect the AFCC community? 
We actively maintain an AFCC Facebook page, and an Instagram account too. Writers and Illustrators should look out for calls for submissions either for competitions or for submissions including AFCCSketch, Book Illustrators Gallery, First Pages, First Look, Speed Pitching, Portfolio Reviews. Since AFCC will now take place in September, most of these calls will happen from around March next year.



Meet David Liew, the current SCBWI SG regional advisor

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