[Pre-AFCC Glitter] Meet Festival Director Kenneth Quek

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I am doing a series of interviews with invited guest speakers and other conference attendees: a Pre-AFCC 2013 Glitter, if you will. A shower of golden fairy dust and pixie glitter and virtual confetti to signal the coming of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content this year!

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Today, I am very excited to feature one of the key organizers of AFCC, the Festival Director himself, Mr. Kenneth Quek. He is known as Mr. Grace-Under-Pressure among people who know him. Even when there are looming deadlines, unexpected last-minute changes, and clashing ideas and personalities on the table, he remains unruffled as he seems imbued with an amazing inner calm. Let’s hear what he has to say about this year’s AFCC.


What are the highlights of being the AFCC Festival Director – what do you love most about it?

I’m not too sure yet, it’s been quite stressful… 🙂

What are some of the *new* events/seminars/workshops that you have in store for us this year?

Something new that we are trying out is two sessions which include a teleconference element, with speakers from the United States. Fingers crossed that the internet connections hold up! I’m also really excited about AFCC Publications launching 6 (six!!) new books.*

One of the goals of AFCC is to get people from everywhere connected during the conference – who are you most looking forward to meeting during this year’s festival?

I’m most looking forward to meeting EVERYONE. Seeing returning speakers and delegates from previous AFCCs is always very nice (and reaffirming!), while meeting new people who have a passion for children’s books is also fantastic.

Singapore is a lovely country with gorgeous new buildings and really great restaurants. If you were to give recommendations to our overseas friends who are coming to the festival about super-secret-out-of-the-way places frequented by locals, what would those places be?

I’m not great at stuff like this, but a couple of months ago, I recommended Haji Lane (which is a ten minute walk from the National Library) to visiting author Lisa Yee, and she loved it! (She wasn’t too keen on durian cream puffs, but that’s another story.) Lots of small funky shops and cafes there.

What do you love most about AFCC?

For a book nerd like me, it is always the Festival bookstore. Bookaburra does such a good job of bringing in the best new children’s books. 

*Look out for the new AFCC Publications:

1. Beyond Folktales, Legends, and Myths (edited by Myra Garces-Bacsal and Tuting Hernandez)

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2. Water (written by Christopher Cheng, illustrated by Susanna Goho-Quek) 

Water Cover

3. 3 bilingual picture books: Purple by Wang Chu Qiao, Something Special by Evelyn S Wong, Adil’s DIning Table by Rilla Melati Bahri

Adil's Dining Table

Purple Cover

Something Special Cover

4. Splash! Asia bibliography

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Breathe in and out, Ken. It will be over before you know it. You’re doing a fantastic job!

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

3 comments on “[Pre-AFCC Glitter] Meet Festival Director Kenneth Quek

  1. Yes, it is going to be amazing – and I know I’m goign to come home with all those gorgeous-looking books and more!


  2. Pingback: [Monday Reading] Award-Winning Picture Books from the Philippines: Tight Times and Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu! |

  3. YAY! I can’t wait!


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