The Asian Festival of Children’s Content has launched it’s new website. Be sure to check out the Programme Schedule as well as the Speaker Profiles! You can also see the schedule herewith the names of their relevant speakers. And what a rich programme it is – there will be some hard decisions to make as to which sessions to attend! Among the speakers lined up are Chris Cheng, Sally Heinrich, Rukhsana Kahn, Uma Krishnaswami, Anushka Ravishankar and Holly Thompson, to name but a few.
There was quite a buzz about this Festival at the Bologna Book Fair and I’m sure it will be a resounding success! The event is co-hosted by the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS), a non-profit organization that promotes storytelling, reading, writing and publishing. NBDCS does a fabulous job bringing the book industry and literary community together through social events, courses, seminars, conferences and author lectures. A visit to their website and blog gives great insight on the literary goings-on in Singapore.
Today while perusing the NBDCS website, I came across the inspiring story of Singaporean author Emily Lim. At the age of 28, Emily was diagnosed with Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD), a rare neurological condition that was robbing her of her speech. A few years later, during a breather from her extremely successful corporate career, Emily decided to pursue her dream of writing and entered her story Prince Bear and Pauper Bear in the 2007 First Time Writers and Illustrators Publishing Initiative, a competition co-organized by the NBCDS. Prince Bear and Pauper Bear, which drew on her own emotional responses to SD, was one of eight winners. With the cash prize and her own savings Emily went about getting her book illustrated (by Neal Sharp) and then published it through a publishing company she set up herself: Mustard Seed Books. Prince Bear and Pauper Bear went on to become the first of four in her best-selling, award-winning Toy Tale Series, which features lonely, forgotten toys as main characters who gain new perspectives on life. The series mirrors Emily’s own emotional journey from initial despair to eventual acceptance of her diagnosis. “I see my picture books as small beginnings towards a larger purpose of inspiring both children and adults to find meaning in their lives,” says Emily.
Today Emily is the only Southeast Asian children’s author to have won the well-established Independent Publisher Book Awards and the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. Her books have sold over 5,000 copies in Singapore and have been turned into cartoons. Her latest book Baby Panda Finds His Way (illustrated by Li Dan) is the second book in the Asian Values series of simple, engaging and thought-provoking stories which each highlight an important Asian value.
Although Emily’s speech condition cannot be cured, it has improved enough for her to be able to accept reading invitations from schools and book stores. She will be one of the featured speakers at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content: on May 7th she will co-present the session Singapore Success Stories – New Generation Writers: Writing Asia with author Shekinah Linn.