|In Chinatown - photo courtesy of Tan Vay Fern. We had fatty crabs for dinner at the restaurant in the background!|
Hard to believe, but I met Vay Fern in person for the very first time in Chinatown, Singapore! Although we had collaborated on Eight Treasures of the Dragon, it was entirely via email. I had heard of her before and knew that she was a young and successful illustrator, with at least eight children's books published to date. After a lot of walking along the colourful and busy Temple Street, we decided to have fatty crabs at a nearby restaurant for dinner. I had forgotten how scrumptious fatty crabs could be!
The last two days of the AFCC, which took place at The Arts House was exciting, mainly because I got to meet people I've only known on Facebook. The talks were great too but I noticed that some of the speakers used it as a platform to promote their own books rather than impart information/tips and a few were only recently published. I was also agrieved by the fact that there was no wifi at the venue! But the fact that it was being held at a historic building - the former Parliament of Singapore -made it quite special.
The AFCC was a great opportunity to network - there were old friends like Dr Gwen Smith, and acquintances like Linda Tan Lingard (from the Yusof Gajah Lingard literary agency) and Daphne Lee (author/columnist/editor at Scholastic Malaysia). And people I met for the first time: Yusof Gajah, celebrated illustrator of children's books and his wife Zakiah; Teoh Choon Ean, the only author I know who actually makes money from writing books (in English); Quek Sue Yian, young and talented author of 'Khailash', a picture-book about a refugee zebra, illustrated by Khairul Azmir Shoib (Sue had a book launch and I bought a signed copy of Khailash, ); Mohana Gill, award-winning author of cookbooks,Vegemania and Fruitistic, and the 'Hayley' cook books for children; Naomi Kojima, a well known illustrator from Japan who bought a copy of my book 'Timeless Tales of Malaysia':); illustrator Isabel Roxas, Cecilia de la Campa from Writers House Inc; Sayoni Basu from Harper Collins India; Tarie Sabido, (an FB friend whi didn't recognise me) and a blogger from the Philippines; Salwah Abdul Shukor, a lawyer whose dream job is to write children's books; Denise Tan from Bookaburra (what a brilliant name for a book store); Shobna Janardanan from ASTRO, Rafilda Rahman from the SCBWI Malaysia; and last but not least Norhayati Razali from the Malaysian Book Council.
The highlight for me was the dinner at the penthouse of the National Library -great company, great food and what a view! Will I attend the AFCC again? For sure, especially as they are going to focus on Malaysia in 2013!