Become a convert to the diversity cause
feel that exposure to literature that is not American or British can only be a positive thing for the Asian book industry as a whole. Diversity and acceptance is not a one- way street, and reading widely should not just be about being open to different authors and genres from one familiar culture, but more importantly, to stories from other continents and cultures, about people and lives as different from us and ours as can be.
Ahenkorah will be participating in four panel discussions: # WeNeedDiverseBooks. Really! ( I am one of the other panellists); If We Don’t Support Authors and Illustrators, Who Will?; No Child is Left Behind; and What Makes a Book Award- worthy?
She will also be giving a talk titled “From North To South: Illustrations From Africa”, about African picture books and illustrated books, and what they mean to African children.
This year’s country of focus at the AFCC is Japan, and aside from the featured delegates from that country, there are speakers from Australia, Britain, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and the United States – an undeniably diverse selection.
I have said before that I find the cost of AFCC tickets prohibitive, especially for those in other parts of South- East Asia. The full festival ( five- day) pass costs S$ 500 ( RM1,400), the three- day pass S$ 350 ( RM1,000), and the one- day ticket S$ 200 ( RM580).
However, for this year’s festival, Malaysians may avail themselves of a special offer from Malaysia’s Kota Buku, a government- linked organisation that assists the local book publishing industry.
Register for the festival through the organisation and pay just 50% of the prices listed above.
For more information e- mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The website is kotabuku.my.
I hope more Malaysians can attend the AFCC this year, and not just authors, illustrators and publishers, but also all those who love children’s literature, and especially those who have never explored the world of Asian, or indeed, African lit.
This just might be the year you become a convert to the diversity cause, and what better place to start than at a festival celebrating Asian children’s literature.