PUTRAJAYA will be hosting the most anticipated congress on children’s and young people’s literature next year.
The 38th International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Congress will be held from Sept 5 to 8, 2022 at Putrajaya Corporation Complex in Precinct 3.
The administrative capital is taking over the task from Moscow, Russia and will be the first city in South-East Asia and fourth city in Asia to host the congress.
Should everything go as planned and travel restrictions lifted by then, the city will welcome about 800 delegates, comprising publishers, writers, storytellers, illustrators, educators and book lovers from 80 countries.
These delegates will be here to promote international understanding through children’s books, set high literary and artistic standards for children all around the world and provide support and training for those in the field.
Additionally, the theme “The Power of Stories” for IBBY Congress 2022 will explore the narratives that are created specially for young people across countries, cultures and education systems.
Non-profit organisation IBBY defines young people as those under the age of 17.
Malaysian Board on Books for Young People (MBBY) president Datuk Ahmad Redza Ahmad Khairuddin said the congress would produce a window of opportunity for local industry players involved in providing for children and young adults to learn more about suitable literature, quality books and stories, and build bridges of understanding and tolerance through books and stories, reading and reading promotion activities.
“We can also share and showcase our variety of children and young adult stories, reading activities, culture and books.
“The Hans Christian Andersen, IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion and IBBY-iRead Reading Promoter award ceremonies will also allow us to get a rare glimpse of celebrated authors, illustrators, reading promoters and organisations, who will be present in person to receive their awards and share their experience and work,” he said.
As the event organiser, Ahmad Redza said it had planned for six sub-themes that would be discussed and pondered in depth by participants.
“The sub-themes are ‘Cognitive Power in Children’s Development’, ‘Stories for Healing for Children’, ‘Power of Visual and Aural Presentation in Children’s Stories’, ‘Bridging Divides in Children’s Literature’, ‘Identity and Values in Children’s Literature’ and ‘Empathy and Memory in Stories and Storytelling for Children’.
“The matters discussed should be consistent with the mission of IBBY that includes providing children everywhere with the opportunity to have access to books with high literary and artistic standards; encouraging the publication and distribution of quality children’s books, especially in developing countries; providing support and training for those involved with children and children’s literature; and stimulating research and scholarly works in the field of children’s literature.
“The congress will also bring together a whole diverse group of experts from various parts of the world comprising laureates, authors, illustrators, practitioners, librarians, academicians and caregivers to share their knowledge and experiences in the field of reading, writing, illustrating, storytelling and working with young people in crisis such as war and natural disasters,” he said.
Perbadanan Putrajaya (PPj) president Datuk Muhammad Azmi Mohd Zain highlighted that being a young city, Putrajaya valued creativity and innovation, thus literature should not be confined to libraries and schools but promoted in various other dimensions throughout the city.
“We intend to attract more young people to become writers and illustrators.
“For a start, with the help of our partner MBBY, we have selected the potential candidates in 2021 and the classes are still ongoing.
“After the congress, writers, illustrators, academicians, publishers and related businesses in Malaysia stand to gain immensely from the congress, at the same time widening their international contacts,” he said.
Boost for tourism
Muhammad Azmi said many would be looking forward to attending the event after missing out on the physical congress in Moscow, which was supposed to be held in September last year, but was postponed and eventually held virtually from Sept 10 to 12 this year.
With the congress known to be a casual affair, he said PPj was committed to making the most out of the delegates’ trip, by planning various excursion programmes through pre- and post-congress activities for delegates and accompanying persons to places in and around the city.
“We want them to take in the uniqueness of the city such as lush greenery, water bodies, state-of-the-art architecture and beautiful landscape and weather.
“The delegates will be encouraged to take photos and post on social media platforms.
“They will see for themselves that the city has more than just great facilities for meetings and conventions, accommodation and food, with strategically located transport networks that easily connect to Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the capital city, Kuala Lumpur,” he explained.
He added that they would also get to experience the sustainable bicycle-friendly infrastructure and walking trails built for families’ enjoyment.
“We want to showcase the culture and beauty of our multicultural society and enable direct contact where possible.
“One of the stops in the city will be the beautiful murals at the waterfront in Precinct 4, Alamanda Steps in Precinct 1 and the walkway and tunnel in Precinct 8 that were designed with a backstory on our culture and tradition.
“We are also committed to providing the best experience through our hospitality encompassing transportation, hotels, food and facilities,” he noted.
Muhammad Azmi said PPj hoped that the publicity received from the congress by word-of-mouth would have a long-term effect and attract more people to Putrajaya, as a destination of choice for both leisurely holidays and international meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.
In anticipation of the congress, he said PPj had arranged a line-up of activities leading up to the event day.
“We organised a children’s storybook and picture book competition in conjunction with Putrajaya’s silver jubilee celebration, a virtual Putrajaya Storytelling Festival that showcased eight prolific writers and illustrators, including the internationally-acclaimed storyteller Beatriz Montero who delivered the story entitled The Day Box Boy Saved Putrajaya authored by Malaysian illustrator C.K. Koh.
“We also launched a special publication of a premium illustrated children’s storybook in collaboration with MBBY called Magnificent Putrajaya! featuring stories with places in Putrajaya, as a background by renowned local illustrators and writers; a special MBBY-Palestine Fundraiser to support IBBY’s effort in providing access to libraries with reading materials and computer facility for the children in Gaza; and a virtual children’s book writing, illustration and storytelling workshop.
“We will also be collaborating with Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka to organise a children’s storybook competition,” he said.
For details on the 38th IBBY Congress next year, visit https:/www.ibbycongress2022.org/