Starry Starry Night

Children’s book industry professionals and the public gather for a night of celebration.

More than 80 people assembled at The Arts House Gallery on May 26 to celebrate a night dedicated to the children’s book industry.

According to the event website, the National Book Development Council of Singapore and MediaCorp jointly organised the event “Celebrating Our Stars” on May 26, as part of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content – in its third year – which lasted from May 26 to May 29. The event participants included various children’s book industry professionals worldwide, and members of the public. It aimed to provide an opportunity for these participants to converse with one another, network, and explore the possibilities of working together in the growing Asian publishing industry.

Ms Adeline Foo – author of  “The Diary of Amos Lee” – was invited as a guest speaker to kick off the night with an overview about local children’s books’ journey through time, along with professional storyteller-cum-teacher-cum-writer Ms Rosemarie Somaiah, and Ms Er Lai Kuan, a seasoned librarian with 15 years experience.

During the overview, Ms Foo brought up several trends in the local children’s book industry, such as the emergence of many writers self-publishing books, and children’s books containing more moral values. She also said “e-books, as well as print books” have to coexist while on the topic of e-book publishing being on the rise.

Ms Denyse Tessensohn, a Singaporean writer living in Johor Bahru, pitched for people to pre-order her biography about an obscure Singapore-born Eurasian illustrator-cum-animator named Errol Le Cain. “Tell me why we don’t know him in Singapore? It’s astounding that we don’t,” said Ms Tessensohn. During her pitch, she presented many artworks that Errol Le Cain painted when he was alive. “I think the ‘Errol Le Cain’ presentation was really good, and the feedback was really good,” said Ms Faith Huang, one of the event facilitators.

Ms Ethel Tan from MediaCorp introduced a new digital initiative called “ilovebooks.com”, which is an e-bookstore. Mr Francis Teo, a member of the audience, said he had gotten more insight into the future of e-books and hopes to learn more about the e-book market.

The audience included members of the public who were interested in being part of the children’s book industry. Mr Alex Wong, a member of the audience, said he attended “Celebrating Our Stars” partly because he thought of becoming a writer. He also said the presentations that night were engaging, and was surprised to see a number of local authors he knew about in the flesh.

Ms Faith Huang said the organising team is considering to initiate a session which allows authors to meet readers directly next year, giving the readers a chance to know them better.

 

Audience filling up the seats at the start of the night.

 

Ms Adeline Foo (right) giving the opening presentation, with Ms Er Lai Kuan (centre) and Ms Rosemarie Somaiah (left).

 

Ms Denyse Tessensohn at her booth displaying scanned versions of Errol Le Cain’s artworks after the presentations.

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