“I compare the Littworld conference to a big family Christmas dinner with family members attending from around the world. I met people from many countries who are now friends.” Thus shared Nigerian author Pusonnam Yiri at Littworld 2015, where he also served as a workshop trainer.
Pusonnam would leave Littworld 2015 having his dream of publishing a book on “thinking locally, writing globally” realised. “God willing, people will produce more locally authored content after reading the book,” said Pusonnam.
The father of three has established a local publishing house and focuses on training believers to write books. “The more I write and the more I train others, the more I see the publishing needs… Africa needs publishing houses more than oil refineries,” added Pusonnam, who is based in an area of violent extremism in Northern Nigeria.
There’s something profoundly energising about joining a global family serving Christ through the published word.
Mary*, who attended an earlier Littworld in Philippines, caught the vision for publishing local writers’ work and expanding their capabilities beyond just translating English books. She wondered about publishing original material – stories and testimonies by Vietnamese writers, rooted in the local culture.
Media Associates International (MAI), the Christian training agency that organises Littworld, followed up to equip Mary and her team of volunteers through a writer’s workshop. Out of that, they started a women’s magazine Hat Muoi (which means grain of salt). Their inaugural issue sold 2,000 copies. By their fourth issue, sales had quadrupled to 8,000.
Hat Muoi’s first-person testimonies attracted a lot of interest, with readers commenting that the magazine was a “healing product in a chaotic society”. An idea was mooted to gather some of the testimonies into a book. Although Christian publishing is still in its infancy in Vietnam, the Hat Muoi team took up the challenge and released a compilation of women’s testimonies in Vietnamese – Viec Chua Lam (or God at Work).
To reach a wider audience, Graceworks in Singapore published the English version of the book, retitled Out of the Dark Night. “Our brothers and sisters in Vietnam have much to teach those of us who follow Christ in freer societies,” said Graceworks publisher Tan Soo-Inn.
Through Littworld’s triennial conference, MAI has seen publishing houses born, new books conceived, and skills refined for effective publishing. Men and women from 94 countries have participated since the conference began in 1986.
Singapore hosted Littworld for the first time in 2015 and will host it for a second time this year. Littworld 2018’s line-up of over 40 international speakers and workshop leaders includes:
Robert M. Solomon
The Methodist Church in Singapore
Author and General Secretary, Bible Society of Egypt
Chief Executive of SPCK, Britain’s oldest Christian publisher, which won Christian Publisher of the Year
Participants will be able to meet and network with others from 50 nations, engage in thought-provoking discussions, broaden global perspectives, and further integrate faith and work.
Besides plenary sessions, participants can choose from 40 workshops in eight tracks: publishing leadership and finance, editorial, writing, graphic design and illustration, magazine publishing, marketing and sales, social media and new technologies, and personal and professional development.
Littworld 2018 runs from 28 Oct to 2 Nov at Singapore’s Village Hotel Changi. Registration closes on 15 Aug 2018. Find out more about how you can support financially-strapped scholarship applicants or register as a participant at www.littworld.org.
*name changed for privacy reasons
Emily Lim-Leh is a member of the Littworld 2018 Host Committee. She worships at Barker Road Methodist Church.
Conference fee includes registration and materials, five nights lodging, all meals and coffee breaks from Sunday dinner through Friday breakfast, and a half-day outing. Travel to and from Singapore is not included.
Double room : US$895
Single room (limited availability) : US$1,275
Non-residential (only for Singapore residents) rate: US$510
[includes all of the above except five nights lodging and breakfasts]
Photos courtesy of Littworld 2018 Host Committee