Saturday, May 31, 2014

AFCC Day 2

I barely got three hours sleep when a bird starting singing outside my bedroom window at about 5am. I have never wanted to shoot anything as much as I wanted to shoot that bird at that point. I couldn't get back to sleep so I finished my blog and got ready for the rest of my day.

I got to the  National Library at about 10am and then went to get my pass for the festival. Mr Rama, Kenneth and the rest of the SCBWI team had already been up and about for hours by the time I made it to the registration counter to collect my pass. Sheila Wee, story-teller extraordinaire, happened to be there by coincidence and she wasn't attending the conference, so I snapped  a quick shot of Ken, Jade, Mr Rama and Sheila before we went our separate ways.

Once festival pass was hanging around my neck, Emily Lim bounded in from nowhere and said that she was going for a talk about encouraging creativity in children. It was a really interesting and we both learned things that we can possibly use on school visits in the future.

Then it was tea time and I grabbed a sandwich and for  volunteers  and Alex and Theresa, who were manning the  SCBWI booth before I joined Emily once again for a joint talk by Leonard Marcus and James Mayhew about picture book reviews. I have to say they're both brilliant, quite simply brilliant.

Pauline and Partick Yee had a book launch that I missed because I was waiting at the wrong venue. What can I say...except I'm a sheer genius, not! Emily and I did bump into our agent Helen, perusing the illustrations in the library, so of course, we had to take a snapshot.  At the NLB Plaza, I had a pleasant surprise when I ran into Conoor Kripalani -Thadani and Naomi Kojima. Hopefully we'll have more time to catch up during the festival this week. By the way, Conoor will be launching her new book right after mine this afternoon!

Back at the SCBWI booth, Alex told me that someone was looking for my book A Day with a Duchess and that they could not find it at the official bookstore, but thankfully Celine from the book council helped clarify things. 

With that settled, I headed up to the POD @ the library to see if they needed help with the set-up for Celebrating Our Stars, a night where local authors are honoured. 

I headed back downstairs just in time for Kristina Thornton's book launch of Shabu Shabu Book Two. And she brought real rabbits to steal the show. I have to say they were adorable. I'm giving those bunnies the names of: Roast, Stew and Pie. Get it? Roast Rabbit, Rabbit Stew, and Rabbit Pie.

Kristina had a long line of fans lining up for her autograph by the time we had to head back up for the Celebrating our Stars celebration. Andrea, my agent was on my table as was Adeline Foo, Auntie Susanna and Linda Lingard.  Andrew, Emma, Corinne, Sarah and Dave Liew settled down at the next table and we all spent some time chatting and catching up.

Then Emcee Amy Cheng annouced things were about to start.

Kenneth addressed the audience and he gave a brilliant speech and I'm not saying that because he is my friend, but because it is the truth. He really writes a good speech. If I ever have to give one, please remind me to ask him to write it for me. I'll probably ask him to deliver it for me as well.

Linn Shekinah then told us that about 70 new children's book titles were published last year alone and then presented a slide show of all the titles, including mine! Thanks, Linn.

When Guest of Honour Ms Sim Ann  spoke of the importance of local books and she thanked the authors who had given her books for her children, who are huge fans of local books. Hey, wait, I wasn't one of those authors! I have to give her some of my books STAT! Unfortunately I didn't have my books with me, but Auntie Susanna managed to show her new book "Fun at the Opera" to her.

Ken Spillman then took to the podium to talk about a joint publication between Singapore and Australia: Near and Dear, which features works by both Australian and Singaporean authors, including AJ Low, Shamini Flint and Adeline Foo.

The authors of Near and Dear

The winners of the bilingual picture book were revealed and I was obviously thrilled when my friend Evelyn Wong won for her book The Naughty Mynah Bird.

After a brief talk from Samsung about a new platform for authors and a new children's book award, it was time for dinner. I was famished but I couldn't eat much because I had to head back for my nephew's birthday dinner and my sister-in-law is a fantasic cook. But here are some photos I took before I left.

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