At the start of this year, I had a sense that it would be a significant year since 2016 marks 10 years since I started writing. I just did not know how significant it would be until it hit me in the chest on 1 June when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Through it all, the Word has been front, back and centre in my life:
1. Bunny Finds the Right Stage
In March, Esplanade Theatre staged my book Bunny Finds the Right Stuff in a 30-show run for their PLAYtime! children’s theatre. It was a huge delight to see my book come alive on stage in an excellent production.
Esplanade also staged what was probably a first with one Bunny Finds The Right Stuff special theatre show tailored to special needs kids.
2. Benji, Yumi, Origami’s Splashy Launch
To mark Singapore-Japan’s 50 years of friendship this year (SJ50), the Book Council invited me to write a picture book in collaboration with Japanese illustrator Kazumi Wilds based on the theme of Friendship. Another team of a Japanese author and Singaporean illustrator collaborated for the other book.
Genting Resorts sponsored the two English-Japanese bilingual picture books and splashy book launch at their Resorts World SEA Aquarium. It was a fairytale evening which gave me much to soak in before the storm that came a week after.
3. God Knows Me & my Inside-out Kid Leh
Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis on 1st June this year sparked off a start of journaling for me, a writing discipline that I failed to do for years.
I was also prompted in my heart to blog about my journey facing off with breast cancer – which led to my God Knows Leh and Inside-Out Kid blog series – where I shared my raw and blemished off-the-chest experiences, from diagnosis to my latest stage of treatment.
My creative children’s book writing took a back seat for the past 6 months. I did however write one new picture book manuscript which delighted me greatly and lifted my spirits during a slightly down-stage when I first started chemotherapy.
4. Tibby in Tamil translation
Tibby the Tiger Bunny was published in Tamil Edition! Always a thrill to see my books in a new language.
5. Prince Bear & Pauper Bear’s journey to Slovakia
In August, I was delighted to ink a licence agreement for two of my Toy Titles Prince Bear & Pauper Bear to be published in Slovakia in the Slovakian language. This marks the 5th country that my Toy Titles will be published in.
6. My Toy Titles’ extended stay in China
I was pleasantly surprised when my China publisher renewed their licence for the Chinese edition of my 4 Toy Titles for a second term. So Prince Bear, Pauper Bear & their Toy friends will extend their stay in China for some more years.
7. My Toy Titles make cover page on The New Paper
A reporter contacted me in October to interview me on my experience with self-publishing. I was going to pass up on the interview as I was going through chemotherapy -I was on my hiatus from writing and publishing stuff and also didn’t want to be photographed.
So, it turned out to be a pleasant surprise when my four Toy Titles made cover page of The New Paper’s Sunday edition.
And I decided to be brave and say yes to an impromptu photo with my “new hairstyle”.
8. Tibby, Scaredy Snout & 10 years of Write Stuff
In late November, I launched my latest picture book Tibby & Scaredy Snout in a private party which was also to mark the end of my last chemotherapy session. It was a double celebration and thanksgiving party with family and friends.
9. Gardens Residency
I was awarded a writing residency at Gardens by the Bay this year. So, I will start 2017 with a walk in the park and smelling the flowers as I find the write stuff for my residency manuscript.
As I sit in the final days of 2016, I look to 2017 and declare it as my year of Purpose – where I pray that the work of my hands will be purposeful and my words will be well-chosen.
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21