Children's Books of Malaysia
with Author/Illustrator Yusof Gajah
Literary Agent Linda Tan Lingard
This year Malaysia was the featured theme country at the Tokyo International Book Fair July 2-5 at Tokyo Big Site, and as a result SCBWI Japan was able to invite Linda Tan Lingard, managing partner at Yusof Gajah Lingard Literary Agency, and author/illustrator Yusof Gajah to present about Children's Books of Malaysia. They were joined by batik artist Zakiah Mohd Isa, Nor Azhar Ishak and Mahaya Mohd Yassin.
Linda Lingard began by giving an overview of the children's book industry in Malaysia including the challenges of cultivating talent among writers and illustrators, marketing in a multilingual society, publishing trends and bookselling.
Yusof Gajah followed with slides of his captivating elephant artwork and spoke of his commitment to taking art projects into schools and hospitals and his mission to mentor younger artists toward professionally establishing more Malaysian author/illustrators.
After the main talks, Zakiah Mohd Isa, modeling some of her own batik art based on husband Yusof's designs, shared a humorous account of how she transformed from a person disdainful of art to a self-taught batik artist.
Nor Azhar Ishak shared some images of his colorful batik artwork for children, and Mahaya Mohd Yassin spoke about her writing projects. The evening was full of warmth and energy, and after the presentations participants adjourned to a cafe for lively talk over dinner.
Members of SCBWI Japan and other SCBWI chapters in Asia have had opportunities to meet at the Asian Festival of Children's Content in Singapore each year, and this opportunity for SCBWI Japan members arose in part from such AFCC networking. We are grateful to Linda Lingard and Yusof Gajah for including SCBWI Japan in their busy visit schedule. It was wonderful to experience a bit of the Malaysian children's book work right in Tokyo.