As the European Union marks 60 years, the European Union Delegation to Singapore deepens its cultural connections with Singapore. On May 25-26, together with LASALLE College of the Arts, the EU launches its inaugural European Union Writers Festival (EUWF).

With EUWF, the EU Delegation to Singapore and LASALLE College of the Arts join their efforts to create a platform showcasing European authors based in Singapore. Through an opening event and a full-day of panel discussions on May 26, this festival will use literature and words to add to the rich Singapore-Europe dialogue and deepen long-established European connections in the city-state.

Says Dr Michael Pulch, European Union Ambassador to Singapore: “We celebrate literature with our inaugural European Union Writers Festival.”

Discussions to launch this festival started nine months ago and Dr Pulch adds the “aim is to create a platform for European writers and publishers based in Singapore to discuss their work and the many ideas that inspire writing in many forms.”

“We are delighted to partner with LASALLE College of the Arts. As we mark 60 years of the European Union and 40 years of EU-ASEAN ties, this collaboration strengthens our long- established connections with the city-state. It adds to the rich artistic and cultural dialogue between Europe and Singapore,” says Dr Pulch.

The shortlist for the 2017 Scholastic Picture Book Award (SPBA) was announced on Tuesday by the National Book Development Council of Singapore (the Book Council) at the Makan & Mingle event. SPBA is a joint initiative between the Book Council and Scholastic Asia, the world’s largest children’s books publishing and distribution company.

The award is presented biennially to an outstanding unpublished picture book with distinct Asian themes by a writer and illustrator team of Asian descent living in Asia. As well as a $10,000 cash prize, the winning book will also be published by Scholastic Asia.

Ms Claire Chiang, Chairperson of the NBDCS Executive Committee, says, “We at the Book Council are very happy to see so many new and unpublished picture books from around Asia, and that the shortlist reflects this fantastically wide range of talent. We love to see different styles in writing and art, and hope that all of them will eventually be published at some point.”

There were a total of 137 entries from all over Asia, including Bhutan, Singapore, the Philippines, Iran, China, Vietnam, Japan, India, Turkey, and Indonesia. The judges have selected six titles for the shortlist, each from a different country.

Ms Rilla Melati, Singaporean author and publisher, and Chief Judge of the 2017 SPBA, says, “The entries were a joy to read overall, with some of the manuscripts and colourful artwork having the qualities to cross mediums and be turned into children’s apps. It was fantastic to see entries coming in from all over Asia, and to learn about the diverse cultures of different places through their stories and illustrations.” Her fellow judges on the panel include Mr James Foley, author and illustrator from Australia, and Ms Charlene Lai, author, reviewer, and blogger from Taiwan.

The winner of the 2017 SPBA will be announced during Opening Night of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) on 16 May, and will be presented by the evening’s Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Leader of the House, Ms Grace Fu Hai Yien.

 

The Shortlist:

 

Name Title Country
Aytul Akal, Mavisel Yener, Kubra Nur Ozkececi, and Yasemin Yener  

The Flying Grandpa

 

Turkey

 

Emila Yusof

How Rooster Became the Zodiac Animal  

Malaysia

Ho Jia En, Sabrine Ong, Shona Menon, Wong Shu Jing, and Melodie James  

The Little Durian Tree

 

Singapore

Anuradha Ananth Huggler and Shailja Jain Chougule Poorni and Her Peepal Leaf India
Maria Karina Putri The Treasure of Kancil Indonesia
Le Thi Bich Khoa The Whale Whisperer Vietnam

 

About the shortlisted books and their creators:

The Flying Grandpa

An old man is bored and lonely, so he decides to get a job. What follows is a series of mishaps as he tries to get a job at pet shop, patisserie, carpet shop, grocery, music store, florist, toy shop, causing chaos every time. Until he reaches the one place where he might shine: the library.

Writer and translator Aytül Akal started as a journalist, and now has more than 150 stories, picture books, novels, poems and plays for children and young adults, many of which have been translated into German, Spanish, Hungarian, Arabic, Persian, English, and Bulgarian. She was a nominee for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2010. She is passionate about promoting reading culture amongst children, and has won several prizes for her devotion to children’s books.

The shortlist for the 2017 AFCC Asian Children’s Book Award by Genting Singapore (ACBA) was announced on Tuesday by the National Book Development Council of Singapore (the Book Council) at the Makan & Mingle event. ACBA is a joint initiative between the Book Council and Genting Singapore, a Singapore-based regional leisure, hospitality and integrated resorts development specialist.

This is a new award presented to an outstanding published picture book with distinct Asian themes by a writer, illustrator, and translator team of Asian descent living in Asia. The writer, illustrator, and translator of the winning book will each receive a $10,000 cash prize. In the case of the winning title not being officially translated, the $10,000 translator prize will instead be used as grant for the publisher of the winning work to commission and publish a translation of the book.

Ms Claire Chiang, Chairperson of the NBDCS Executive Committee said, “Translation is very important to the Book Council. Asia is such a wide and diverse place with varied people and myriad languages, and reading each other’s stories is the first step in understanding each other. We are happy to have Genting Singapore as our partner for this award, and are delighted that recognizing great Asian picture books is important to them as well.”

There were a total of 245 entries from all over Asia, the most for any Book Council award in its awards programme history, including Bangladesh, Singapore, the Philippines, Lebanon, China, Thailand, Russia, India, Syria, and Malaysia. The judges have selected six titles for the shortlist.

Mr Nury Vittachi, Hong Kong-based author of numerous children’s books, and Chief Judge of the 2017 ACBA, says, “The entries were excellent and we judges had a tough job trying to choose only six titles for the shortlist. In the past, books for young readers in this region tended to be folk tale collections with art in dated styles. But this year, the competition has drawn beautiful books with stunning artwork and original, imaginative stories which really transport the reader to new worlds.”

His fellow judges on the panel are: Mr James Mayhew, award-winning author and illustrator from the United Kingdom; Mr Lee Kow Fong, Singaporean author and illustrator; Ms Petra Nagyová Džerengová, author and publisher from Slovakia; and Ms Nanami Kasasaki, Senior Vice President, Genting Singapore Corporate Planning.

The winner of the 2017 ACBA will be announced during Indonesia Night of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) on 19 May, and will be presented by the evening’s Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

The Shortlist:

 

Name Title Country
J.H. Low Night in the Gardens Singapore
Hsin-Yu Sun Home Taiwan
 

Adeline Foo and Beth Parrocha

 

Tiny Feet, Tiny Shoes

Singapore/ Philippines
Chiki Kikuchi Chikibam Meow Japan
 

Eve Aw and Tan Yun Ru

Grandma and Things that Stay the Same  

Singapore

Nari Hong Don’t Be Sorry, Dad! South Korea