The Asian Festival of Children's Content will be held this year on 26 May in Singapore. There will be a special price for SCBWI members. Not yet a member of SCBWI? Become one and enjoy the benefits immediately.
We are calling for a meeting on
Thurs 9 Feb 2012, 10.30am,
Venue: Silverfish Bookstore, 28-1 Jalan Telawi, Bangsar
to provide you detailed information on how you can benefit from the Asian Festival of Children's Content. Among others, the benefits include:
1. Learn from experts from around the world in the field of children's literature - whether writing or illustrating
2. Promote your work at the festival to publishers and agents
3. Network and get to know industry professionals
4. Launch your book at the Festival and introduce your book to attendees from the region and other parts of the world
5. SCBWI Malaysia and the Yusof Gajah LIngard Literary Agency will be pleased to help you promote your works at the Festival.
Speakers from Singapore will also be present at this talk to answer all your queries. Please also take this opportunity to bring along your books or portfolio to show. For those who cannot come on this day, please do not hesitate to contact us by email: email@example.com
The Calistro Prize is a RM30,000.00 gift from a private company, Calistro Consultants Ltd to promote children’s books in Malaysia. Malaysians above 18 years stand a chance to win RM10,000.00 and have his/her work published.
The man behind the prize, Dr David Kirkham, the founder and director of Calistro Consultants, is a British national who has been visiting Malaysia for almost thirty years now and has a home in Malaysia.
How did the prize come about and how did the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) got involved as the secretariat for the prize? The story is one of serendipity.
It was at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore in May 2010. We were enjoying some refreshments after an inspiring speech by H.E. José Ramos-Horta, the president of East Timor and the winners for two awards –the Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award and the Scholastic Asian Book Award - had been announced.
Everyone was in a happy and congratulatory mood. I was with an SCBWI member, Ean when Malaysian artist and mentor of SCBWI, Yusof Gajah, strolled over. I mentioned that it would be good if SCBWI could find a sponsor for an award in Malaysia and Ean said she knew someone she could approach. I thought no more of it but Ean was true to her words. Not long after that, back in Kuala Lumpur, I was introduced to Dr Kirkham.
Dr Kirkham studied English at Cambridge and geology and geomorphology with London University and has an MSc in Development Management and PhD in crisis management. He now runs a management consultancy and lectures at several universities.
Dr Kirkham’s early career was in the arts. He worked in the theatre, both sides of the footlights, was director of a rural arts centre in the UK, ran a regional film theatre and has directed many productions. He also served for 22 years in the Royal Artillery (Territorial Army).
Having worked in Malaysia and lived here, Dr Kirkham has a soft spot for Malaysia and confessed to being addicted to teh halia, cili padi and durians. His flamboyant personality hides a sharp incisive mind and he has a good understanding of this country.
We had several conversations on the topic of language in Malaysia that would later influence the Calistro Prize.
We wanted the competition in English as it's an international language and also in Bahasa Malaysia as it's our national language. That means we will need to have two categories (in terms of language not to mention the different genres) and we will probably need two sets of judges. And inevitably the question was raised: so what about the Chinese language, what about Tamil and so on. Finally we came to the decision that as we want Malaysian stories by Malaysians, we will open it to any languages in use in Malaysia and in recognition of the importance of the national language, the winning work will be published in Bahasa Malaysia and the original language it was submitted.
We would still want an English version but for that we will look for another publisher, ie it's not under the remit of the prize.
To aid the judging, we require a synopsis in English of not more than 300 words. I think if one cannot summarise their stories in 300 words, they probably don't have a strong story in the first place. Entries will be read by a team selected by SCBWI especially to meet the different languages. The best stories will be put forward to the judges. The judges will compile a shortlist of 10 stories and we will have the necessary work translated into English for final judging.
So writing skills are still important for eg if there were two similar stories, the better written one will have a better chance. We will also help the winners to improve their work (whether text or illustrations) for publication. We can do that if there's a good story.
Does this imply we do not think Malaysians can write? Of course not! This competition is not aimed at discovering literary skills but to encourage Malaysians to tell their stories – they can use words or a combination of words and illustrations.
This is not entirely unusual: the Noma Concours by the Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO had a picture book award a few years back and various languages were accepted but a synopsis in English must be provided.
We hope this will encourage more Malaysians to tell their stories and that they can learn to write / illustrate better. SCBWI will also be having a schedule of talks and workshops on the craft of writing and illustrating for the whole of next year. We also work with different partners and an important one is the Asian Festival of Children's Content every May in Singapore. Prominent internatioanl speakers are invited to speak at the Festival and we want to encourage more Malaysians to take advantage of that to improve themselves and to network.
Having said all the above, we do not know what submissions we will get and this being the first year of the prize, we would like to keep it open and adjust as we go along. But if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask and we will also be compiling an FAQ.
There is so much more we want to do but we will have to take one step at a time. SCBWI is excited at this opportunity and thank Dr Kirkham for his generosity. This is a good start to the New Year!
Today for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' (SCBWI) July meeting, we met at Silverfish Bookstore. Deepa who came had been writing for her young son and wondered about the whole process of publishing. She was interested to find an illustrator for her stories and planned to take the self-publishing route.
Briefly, here are the steps to getting your picture book or illustrated book printed and published:
Getting an ISBN and Barcode for your book
1. Register your publishing company [you have to set up one first if you haven't already have a company] with the National Library. You just need to fill in a simple form available from the National Library [ask for the ISBN department] to get your registration number.
2. Apply for an ISBN for your book - this is another simple form to fill at the same place. You need to fill in information of your book, like title and author's name and provide the front cover of your book. The ISBN number as well as barcode is provided free and is usually available in half an hour, assuming there isn't a queue [there usually isn't].
3. You may also want to apply for the CIP [Cataloguing in Publication] data for your book which is another form from the same place.
[More detailed information on the above may be obtained from the National Library's site: http://www.pnm.my]
Getting your book ready for illustrating and printing
Looking for illustrators
1. So you've written your story and are looking for a suitable illustrator. Some places where you can find local illustrators [apart from googling]:
Working with illustrators
Getting to print
So your book is printed. How do you sell it? This question should be asked before you start publishing but is frequently not done. I have made the same mistake and I still have stocks of my earlier books published two years ago. They are good books, well written and illustrated and produced to high quality. We enjoyed the whole creative process and we had our book launches, readings and related activities. But we would be lucky if we recovered our costs.
There are lots of excellent books and website where you can find information on marketing and selling your book. But what do you do if the local bookstore does not want to take your book? Or they tell you to find a distributor and the distributor wants 60% of the book cover price with returns - ie if your books do not sell, they will return them to you.
You can produce e-books or print-on-demand and there are a number of such publishers online. You can use a digital printer [rather than traditional offset] and print small quantities. However, that will increase your per unit cost and you will have to sell your book at a high price [to cover not only your printing/illustration costs but also the percentage required by the distributor or bookstore]. This may not be such a problem if you are able to sell the books yourself directly.
In other words, list down all your costs from the start.
I have not pointed out the need to have your book edited [the text, illustrations and overall concept] and many self-published books would have been better with external input [not counting your relatives and friends]. There is no harm in being open and listening to what others have to say [the SCBWI is a good source], give them due consideration, based on the research and information you have gathered and the final decision is yours. Read and look at other books in the market.
I wish you success.
FESTIVAL TO PROMOTE THE USE OF ASIAN CONTENT
Kuala Lumpur, 14th March 2011 – Over 500 international authors, illustrators, publishers, distributors, institutional buyers, literary agents and multimedia producers of children’s content will gather in Singapore for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC, 亚洲儿童内容节) from 26 - 28 May 2011. The AFCC will be held at The Arts House and will focus on Asian content for children.
The organisers, The Arts House (艺术之家) and National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS, 新加坡书籍发展理事会), hope the festival will boost 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.
Much loved artist from Malaysia who is well known for his iconic elephant paintings, Yusof Gajah, the Regional Adviser in Malaysia for the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), Linda Tan, publisher of children books under Al-Ameen Serve Holdings Sdn. Bhd, Che Mazlan Saad, and senior lecturer at Sultan Idris Education University who has published more than fifty books for children, Dr Mahendran Maniam will be at the festival. In addition, outstanding students from Malaysia whose works have been chosen for AFCC Student Picture Book Illustration Competition 2011 will also be joining the festival.
The theme for this year is “Connecting with Connect Kids” and apart from providing a platform for children’s content industry players to network, the festival will also host established and emerging writers, illustrators and content producers. To name a few, renowned picture book writer and illustrator from Taiwan, Chen Chih-Yuan, children’s literature specialist who has written 50 books for children, five of them received international awards, Dr. Murti Bunanta from Indonesia, publishing director at Scholastic India, Sayoni Basu and Anushka Ravishankar (‘India’s Dr. Seuss’), Hong Kong’s best-selling English language author, Nury Vittachi, Chief Adviser to the Director of BBC Children’s and the Controller of BBC Learning, UK, Adrian Mills, Regional Director, Applications and Business Development, Kodak China, Duncan Newton, founder of Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc, Philippines, Rina Lopez Bautista, and literary agent from Andrea Brown Literary Agency, US, Kelly Sonnack.
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 the future of children’s publishing, emerging world of the graphic novels & Manga rave, marketing and reaching out to small readers with the big potential, place of media in children’s education and recipes for a healthy media diet for kids, navigating the digital globe, fostering a love for reading & learning in the 21st century and successful content development strategies.
The public will have the opportunity to participate in the festival as well. There will be a Media Mart where the public can buy the latest children’s materials. The Media Mart aims to be a meeting point and a place where writers, illustrators, digital artists, producers and designers are able to trade rights, sell products and services, have their materials published or translated or repackaged and produced into comics, e-books, graphic novels, videos, films and educational games. Media Mart is also a place to link up with distributors to promote quality Asian children’s content for education and entertainment to the rest of Asia and the world.
During the festival, the organisers will be also presenting the Singapore Children’s Book Prize called The Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award, as well as the Scholastic Asian Book Award. Both of the awards aim to recognise excellence in fiction for children. The award-winning works of AFCC Student Picture Book Illustration Competition organised by the National Book Development Council of Singapore with the collaboration of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in Malaysia will also be exhibited during the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) 2011.
The highlight of AFCC 2011 will be the inaugural Children’s Literature Lecture which will be delivered by the President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, H.E. Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta.
More information on the programme highlights, speakers and registration for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content is available at www.afcc.com.sg.
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About National Book Development Council of Singapore
The National Book Development Council of Singapore is a non-profit charitable institution founded in 1969. The Book Council’s objective is to establish and develop Singapore as the Asian centre for publishing and literary arts. In pursuance of this objective, the Council works in partnership with Government agencies, private corporations and professional associations to deliver a variety of outstanding talks, seminars, workshops and conferences related to storytelling, reading, writing and publishing.
The Book Council presents three prestigious book awards - Singapore Literature Prize, Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award and Scholastic Asia Book Award. It also manages the Centre for Literary Arts and Publishing and Singapore Writers Centre. For more information, visit www.bookcouncil.sg.
About The Arts House
Occupying the 182-year old building which was the former Parliament House and Singapore’s first Court House, The Arts House was officially opened in March 2004 as the only gazetted government building designated as a multidisciplinary arts centre. The Arts House has since been offering its visitors a broad spectrum of activities, ranging from contemporary arts and entertainment events to lifestyle options.
At the same time, The Arts House plays an active role in the development of the Singapore arts and creative scene. We have been supporting and promoting Singapore artists and their artworks through our various initiatives and platforms in Singapore, as well as internationally. The Arts House is managed by The Old Parliament House Limited, a not-for-profit full-service arts management company limited by guarantee.
For more information, visit www.theartshouse.com.sg.
For further information on festival and registration, please contact:
National Book Development Council of Singapore
DID: +65 6848 8291
DID: +65 6848 8292
SCBWI in Malaysia is now a registered non-profit organisation in Malaysia!
As a registered socieity, we are required to have at least 7 committee members from different states in Malaysia. Our Secretary, Rafilda Abdul Rahman, is now busy working on our membership drive while another committee member, Mischele Mariam is busy getting our website up.
We are excited (and will be busy) because come April, we will be holding an exhibition of illustrations by our members. The exhibition is sponsored by the Malaysian Book Council in conjunction with the 30th Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair (22 April - 1 May). The fair attracts more than a million visitors every year and exceeded the two million mark last year. We hope the illustration exhibition will also be a key attraction.
We are also working with the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) for the Asian Festival of Children's Content to be held from 26-28 May in Singapore. This is the second year that the Festival has been held and SCBWI members and RAs/ ARAs were involved as speakers and panelists last year. This year, we are expecting Lin and Steve and SCBWI will play an even greater role.
In conjunction with AFCC, SCBWI in Malaysia is also helping to organise a workshop on preparing picture books in Malay/Indonesian. Workshop leaders are Yusof Gajah (mentor of SCBWI-Malaysia) and Murti Bunanta (Indonesian Board on Books for Young People).
SCBWI (Malaysia) and SCBWI (Singapore) will also be collaborating with NBDCS for the Malaysia-Singapore Student Picture Book Illustration Award. This is the first time the Award is held and it is expected that it will be opened to more countries in future.
By : Linda Tan Lingard
In 2009, SCBWI -Malaysia hosted Phil Yeh of Cartoonists Across America to speak at a local University and last year, Phil Yeh brought his friend, Phil Ortiz (Simpson cartoonist) to KL after having attended the Singapore Toys and Games Convention in December.
SCBWI got the help of Cut-Out Magazine to arrange speaking engagements at two design colleges in Kuala Lumpur.
Phil Yeh has published Winged Tiger in Singapore (which was launched in Singapore during the Convention) and is now working on Winged Tiger in Malaysia. His Malaysian guests for this new book include Sarah Joan Mokhtar, Illustrator Coordinator of SCBWI-Malaysia, Lat and Sandra Khoo.
Phil Yeh's partner, Linda Adams and Phil Ortiz also took time to attend the Kreatif Digital Conference held at the Putrajayay Convention Centre, the Comic Fiesta at Berjaya Times Square and visited Malacca, Batu Caves and other interesting places in Mlaaysia. We expect these places will appear in his new book and we are looking forward to it!
By : Linda Tan Lingard
The AFCC held from 6-9 May in Singapore was the first such festival to be held in this region. Its aim was to encourage the development of Asian Content for children - not just for Asia but for the world.
I attended the festival and found it be exhilarating and stimulating. It was also good that it was in neighbouring country Singapore and was a four-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur.
There was an impressive roster of speakers including Kathleen Ahren, SCBWI's International Regional Advisor Chairperson; Holly Thompson [RA-SCBWI Tokyo]; Chris Cheng [co-RA-SCBWI Australia; Irene Chen [ARA-SCBWI Taiwan]. We also welcomed newly appointed RA for SCBWI Singapore - Kenneth Quek.
Nury Vitachi's opening speech had everyone in stitches but he also pointed out the need for greater creative expressions among Asians who tend to be factual.
There were so many sessions available - one is spoilt for choice. Apart from writing and illustration-oriented sessions there were also sessions for publishers, parents and teachers/educators.
I was most interested in talks on new media and technology by Greg Childs and Warren Buckleitner as the way forward in publishing for children. Teri Tan from Publisher's Weekly talked on books from Asia that have been successful overseas as well as the many production methods that add value to products. Daphne Lee [writer, editor and columnist of StarMag - Tots to Teens] spoke on the importance of multicultural literature. She also spoke later at the Earshot Cafe on her new imprint, OneRedFlower Press and the first book published under the imprint, My Mother's Garden by Emila Yusof.
Malaysian artist and award winning children's book writer and illustrator, Yusof Gajah launched a collection of his books with special guest, former Malaysian Ambassador to Singapore, Dato' Parameswaran. We were also treated to a video of Yusof with Beethoven's resounding Symphony no 9 playing in the background.
The Festival also provided the opportunity to meet several Malaysians including Margaret Lim, author of the Payah series, set in Sarawak; SCBWI member Gwen Smith; Mohana Gill, author of the wonderful books - Fruitastic and Vegemania and Sharon Bakar who moderated a session.
At the media mart, Malaysian publisher, JN Cooray had a booth for his series of colourful big books [and I mean BIG] that are rich in information for the curious child. He also had a series of small story books for children. Other exhibitors brought books from Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and India. I did not miss this opportunity to enrich my collection of children's books with a few more books from around the region - wish I could buy more!
The Festival was truly an excellent opportunity to learn from experts and to understand better the children's book industry in the region, meet people and network, and make new friends.
It was not all play for Kathleen managed to squeeze in a meeting to discuss how SCBWI can contribute to the next AFCC and we are all excited about it. Be there next year!
By : Linda Tan Lingard