Be­come a con­vert to the di­ver­sity cause

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - READS -

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 norhay­ or The web­site is

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.

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