Thursday, March 11, 2010

Asian Festival of Children's Content

Some news sent to me by Singapore's Book Development Council which will interest those of you interested in writing for children.  :
Over 400 international authors, publishers, distributors, institutional buyers, literary agents and multimedia producers of children’s content will gather in Singapore for the inaugural Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) from 6 - 9 May 2010. To be held at The Arts House, this is possibly the first festival of its kind in the world to focus on Asian children’s content.

The organisers, The Arts House and National Book Development Council of Singapore hope the festival will give a boost to the creation, production and publication of children’s materials with Asian content in all formats. The meeting of international industry players is also aimed at improving the distribution and access of Asian content to children worldwide.

The global children’s content business, which includes books, games, films and music, is a multi-billion dollar industry.

The festival’s advisory board chairperson Claire Chiang said: “To date, we’ve had easy access to and benefited from a wide selection of education and entertainment content from the West. Asian materials, even those available, are seldom translated and promoted, and are therefore left unexplored. It’s a big loss for children worldwide, and an untapped industry with tremendous potential.”

Ms Chiang, an author, a community advocate and businesswoman, added: “We believe this meeting will help to kick start the growth and internationalisation of Asian children’s content. Hopefully within a decade, Asia will be able to boast literary and visual works of global impact for children, like those produced by JK Rowling, Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton.”

Also speaking on the event, R. Ramachandran, Executive Director of NBDCS and Festival Director of AFCC, said: “The festival is possibly the first event of this nature in the world, and a great platform for Asian writers and content producers to meet and find ways to extend their reach, so that their creative works will find bigger audiences in the region and the rest of the world.”

Phan Ming Yen, Assistant General Manager of The Arts House, added: “Developing and showcasing Asian creativity, arts and culture has been one of the core focuses of The Arts House since its founding. This has been evident through its involvement in events such as the Singapore Writers Festival and Asia on the Edge.

“The inaugural Asian Festival of Children’s Content marks a significant milestone for us. We believe it will raise the awareness of Asia’s rich cultural resources for children. Through the festival, we hope to widen the boundaries of access to these resources so that the rest of the world can enjoy them as well.”

Apart from providing a platform for children’s content industry players to network, the festival will also host established and emerging writers and content producers such as Singapore authors Jessie Wee and Emily Lim, the Philippines’ Karina Bolasco, publisher of Anvil Publishing, Malaysia’s Teri Tan, international correspondent for New York–based magazine Publishers Weekly, Risuan Aramcharoen, President of The Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand, Taiwan’s Irene Chen, a children's literature critic and writer, Hong Kong-based Nury Vittachi, a best-selling author, Kathleen Ahrens, the International Regional Advisor Chair for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Misako Ohnuki, the Director of Culture Division, Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO, and illustrator and translator, Naomi Kojima from Japan.

Other speakers include India’s award-winning writers Paro Anand and Anushka Ravishankar (‘India’s Dr. Seuss’), and illustrator Atanu Roy, Christopher Cheng, 2009 winner of the Lady Cutler Award for services to children's literature, and award-winning young adult novelist Ken Spillman from Australia, Jeff Yang, founder and publisher of the Asian American periodical aMagazine, from the US, award-winning author Rukhsana Khan from Canada, Greg Childs, media consultant and former BBC Children’s director and producer, from the UK, Nathalie Beau, a pioneer of children’s bookshops in France and a founder of the country’s Children’s Booksellers Association, and Suresh Seetharaman, co-founder of Virgin Comics LLC.

At the event, the speakers and participants will engage in discussion and debate on a broad range of issues, including exporting Asian content to the world, challenges and opportunities in publishing for children in Asia, ways to profit from the emerging world of multimedia content, marketing and reaching out to media-savvy children, the emerging role of literary agents in Asia, digital rights and e-publishing, and copyright issues in the world of online content.

The public will have the opportunity to participate in the festival as well. There will be a forum for teachers and parents to discuss the latest trends in child education, motivation, enrichment and entertainment programmes.

During the festival, the organisers will also launch the inaugural Singapore Children’s Book Prize called Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award. The prize money is S$10,000 and will be shared by the writer and illustrator. Entries for the prize will be judged on criteria such as originality, creativity, appropriateness of Asian content to context of story, impact of Asian content to young readers, use of language, and entertainment value.
If you are interested, you will find more information and registration forms here.  I shall be going down, at least for one of the days, to moderate one of the panels.

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