When May 27th came, I was a huge bundle of nerves. This was the day that the blogging seminars would happen--the seminars that Tarie and I had pitched and planned to the Singapore Book Council.
I set off early in the morning to moderate the keynote speech, with invited guest and blogger extraordinaire, Steph Su of Steph Su Reads. Now, this may seem like an exaggeration, but meeting Steph was such an honour. Here was one of the most talented book bloggers in the industry, a blogger whose views I respected, and all I did was get down to business.
|Steph being all knowledgeable and badass.|
Her hour-long speech covered how to get the most out of blogging, both personally and professionally. She gave some great advice about giving the blog room to breathe and grow. I hope that Steph would post some parts of her speech, because that speech was ace and everyone should hear it.
|The audience busy taking notes. Tarie, third from left.|
We were off to a good start. Next up was the panel on fostering relationships within the community, of which I managed to catch only the last few minutes. It was warmly received by the audience, and there was a good Q&A session where tips were traded back and forth.
Last was a panel on the current and future state of blogging. Moderated by Tarie, and consisting of Steph and Candy Gourlay, this panel was the highlight of the whole event. Candy and Steph's banter was hilarious as they debated what worked--and didn't work--in the current scope of blogging, and what they hoped to see in the community in the future. There was a rousing round of applause when it ended.
|Candy Gourlay, Steph Su, Tarie Sabido|
And that was the end of the blogging seminars. There were some things that worked out great, and others that could be improved upon, but overall? I hope that these seminars would continue to be part of the AFCC; it was great to have a session where audience members and panelists could interact informally, trade advice and network.
As the blogging seminars were ongoing, there was also several events dedicated to YA that I was extremely excited to attend. Unfortunately, I was not able to make a single one of them. I know. Bummer. However, with the increasing relevance of YA literature in both the publishing and entertainment industries, I hope that there will be several panels dedicated to the topic.
I'm impressed by the broad scope of the literature covered during AFCC. Despite its name and its focus on all things Asian (authors, literature, illustrators, novel protagonists, etc), AFCC does invite many notable industry professionals from all over the world to contribute their views on the current state of literature.
I'm not sure what I was expecting, but the warm, informal ambiance in all of the panels and workshops that I attended was not it. Everyone was so welcoming, and there was a real sense of community that permeated the convention. Everyone seemed to know everyone else, and newbies such as myself were quickly welcomed into the fold. This could be in part due to the repeat attendees and speakers who were already comfortable in such an environment, but it could also be due to the fact that people there were simply thriving in their element.
That said, I'm looking forward to attending AFCC for many more years to come. Once again, a huge thank you to the Singapore Book Council for being so welcoming. They have a great vision, and I'm thankful that they allowed me to share my vision with them, and for making it happen. Here's to bringing the literary arts scene back in the spotlight.