Asian Children’s Writers & Illustrators Conference, 6-8 May

The Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference (ACWIC) celebrates children’s books and media, promotes the writing, publication and production as well as access to Asian Children’s content worldwide. ACWIC actively fosters the exchange of ideas and presents enormous networking and learning opportunities for established and budding professionals in the region.

Target Audience:

Writers, illustrators, pre school and primary school teachers, publishers, librarians, literary agents, distributors and retailers, translators, technology solution providers to the industry and other media professionals related to children’s content will find ACWIC a learning event that they cannot afford to miss.

TRACK B: Alchemy of Writing

6 May

10am – 11am: Writing across Borders: Taking Asian Content to the World, Paro Anand & Christopher Cheng

Coming from Asia or parts of the world other the “The West”, we are faced with the dilemma of how to make our stories more palatable to other cultures. Christopher will demonstrate how children’s literature that has in its origin people from Asian cultures is being taken to the world. In addition, Paro will also share on the translation of her works into other languages, and the efforts of turning one of her books into a film that transcend barriers and break stereotypes. 

11am – 12pm: From Fairy Tales to Harry Potter: Some Literary Pointers for Children’s Authors, Dr. Eddie Tay

A good author has to be first and foremost a good reader. Western classics of children’s literature are “good literature” for good artistic reasons. Each of the children’s classics has something very substantial to admire about it: qualities of style, plot, theme, and psychological insight that have made it endure and withstand the test of time. Hence, this session focuses on how we may learn from Western classics of children’s literature.

11am – 12pm: The boon and bane of wearing Two Hats – Writing and Illustrating, Sally Heinrich

So you’re an illustrator and perhaps you’ve thought about writing a children’s book. Writing and illustrating your own book may mean you won’t have to wait until the publisher finds the right text for you, however, it can also give the publisher TWO reasons to reject your work. Sally will explore the advantages and disadvantages (mostly the former!) of being responsible for both the words and pictures.

12.15pm – 1.15pm: Many Windows: How to co-write across cultures and countries, Rukhsana Khan & Uma Krishnaswami

Six kids, five faiths, three writers, one vision. In an increasingly global world, people are searching for ways to reach across cultures and understand one another. This workshop explores how three writer friends did just that. Rukhsana and Uma will speak about the process of writing and developing their interconnected story collection, Many Windows, which they wrote along with co-author Elisa Carbone. Find out how to make potential trump pitfalls in a collaborative writing project.

2.30pm – 3.30pm: Local Content, Global Appeal: Introducing customs & traditions in children’s and young fiction, Uma   Krishnaswami

Asian writers ought to take advantage of the richness and diversity of Asian cultures in their writing. With few guidelines and little precedence in the traditional international market, however, the gap between local and global sometimes seems impossible to bridge. Uma will use examples from her work and others to show how to use local and personal cultural content to create fiction with universal appeal.

3.45pm – 4.45pm: Writing non-fiction for school and education, Christopher Cheng

Today’s students have access to a wide range of information. In many cases a book is the second or third or even never source of information so, as writers of non-fiction, we must make it engaging and a resource that students are going to want to delve into with just as much enthusiasm as the information that is found on the internet. Here we will investigate how writers can make the non-fiction they write for students engaging and valid for students and at the same time adhering to the curriculum and staying with the facts.

4.45pm – 5.45pm: The imperative for multicultural literacy, Lynette Thomas

Children now are exposed to constant bombardment by all forms of media and multiple influences. Our world is changing and so is the literature that is being offered to our children. If we wish the younger generation to be equipped with the kind of mindset that will help them cope with the speed and rate of change that characterises our world now and in the future, we need to ensure they can embrace multiculturalism. How is the literature of today reflecting the current reality? Are publishers taking the risks necessary to ensure there are sufficient books representing the growing minorities in their population? This will be discussed in particular reference to Australia and the Australian publishing industry vis a vis Asia and Asian culture.

4.45pm – 5.45pm: Writing Faith & Religion: Dropping the preachy tone in children’s and young fiction, Rukhsana Khan

Religion is such an essential component in many people’s lives, and so it is only natural that it would enter into stories for children. But how do you write about it without sounding like a television evangelist? It’s easier than you’d think. Rukhsana specializes in books with Muslim and Islamic themes that elucidate aspects of her faith without sounding preachy or didactic. This session explores how she works to accomplish this.

7 May

9.30am – 10.30am: Building bridges-bringing Asia to Australian children through books, Sally Heinrich & Christopher Cheng

Asia’s significant and growing influence on Australia is evident, and Studies of Asia in Australian schools is a priority amongst many educators. Today, for a country to move forward it is imperative that it knows where its people have come from. Australia is a multi cultural country and much of the development has been on the back of immigrants from Asia. Chris and Sally will provide insights on how they incorporated different Asian countries and cultures into their works.

10.45am – 11.45am: How to Create the Best Multicultural Books for Readers, Holly Thompson & Daphne Lee

In many parts of Asia, our children’s experience of literature is almost solely English and American. What we can do to make our multicultural works depicting Asia and Asians authentic and successful? How can we create meaningful books that Asian children and teens can see themselves in? How can we effectively portray Asian settings, characters, situations and stories for Asian, as well as non-Asian, publishers and readers? Daphne & Holly will discuss the challenges faced by writers and illustrators in depicting Asia and Asians in their stories, and offer suggestions as to how these challenges can be met and overcome.

12pm – 1pm: Weaving historical stories into fiction for children, Christopher Cheng

How does an author take the raw historical data and weave it into a compelling and stimulating fictional work for children? Using examples from his own titles, Chris will discuss this using the Chinese immigration explosion in the late 1800s on the Australian goldfields. Where does he gather the information from and how much of the ‘truth’ behind the story remains? How much is fiction and how much is fact? How does Chris create a work that students want to read again and again?

12pm – 1pm: How to write children’s literature for sale to filmmakers, Nury Vittachi

There’s a world of difference between a book and a movie. In this workshop, a working children’s book author and screenplay consultant shows the five key structural differences you need to know. He also provides examples showing the stages through which a prose tale evolves into a screenplay. He shares practical secrets on selling stories to film houses. The session includes advice on winning screen contracts.

2.30pm – 3.30pm: The centrality of story in the curriculum, John McKenzie

This session will demonstrate that story is the primary means of effective communication in the classroom and that successful teachers integrate story into all subject areas. In particular, we will explore how science teaching is enhanced when literature is used to inculcate a sense of wonder and awe on the part of learners. From these experiences, the ethical dimension of science-in-the-world can be identified and, in the broadest sense, this is the beginning of wisdom. A range of picture books in the new genre of faction will be used to demonstrate this thesis.

3.45pm – 4.45pm: Bringing Oral Cultural Stories to the Page, Rukhsana Khan

In oral traditions, stories are kept alive by being re-told again and again. How do you capture the essence of these stories in print? Having herself come from an oral, non-literary background, Rukhsana explores the ways a writer can use their colourful cultural background and transfer it effectively into stories that have universal appeal.


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