Joelyn's Book Bites

Book Bites: Modified Rice & Pterosaurs

Book BitseDespite what you may think, this post has nothing to do with scientific advances in our realm of reality.

It’s been a week since the closing of the Singapore Writers’ Festival. Among the countless book launches and panels, I thought I’d share my thoughts about the launches that I enjoyed.

Maxine, Aoki, Beto & Me

“If you have time to climb volcano, you have time to help por por!”

Enjoying Wena's reading with a close-up shot of the Tiger holding up one of Wena's treats for us.
Enjoying Wena’s reading with a close-up shot of the Tiger holding up one of Wena’s treats for us.

Unlike most launches where the authors either talk about their processes or have a moderator to conduct a live interview for the people attending the launch, Wena Poon, author of Maxine, Aoki, Beto & Me, however, took a different twist.

There was no moderator at the event, so she was pretty much hosting it herself. After treating us to packet of Hello Panda (in an attempt to feed us), she started off by saying that she was just going to do a performance reading of the flagship story to her latest anthology, Maxine, Aoki, Beto & Me.

While she performed the entire story, it was met with smiles, dropping jaws, and laughs here and there. Apart from the fact that Wena’s work was exceptional and relatable, her performance reading was impeccable, enhancing the story with her gestures and accents as we went along. Like a lot of her previous work, Maxine, Aoki, Beto & Me continues to be hilarious, well-crafted, and genuine.

Note: Here’s how amazing her work was – Maxine, Aoki, Beto & Me was actually sold out in the Festival Pavilion when I went to get a copy for Mintea the weekend after this launch.


This series speaks to me rather well because I read Rider, the first book of this trilogy, a few times and loved it. Also, Joyce, the author of this series, is a good friend so we were quite happy that she got a slot in the Singapore Writers Festival for this year.

The launch was small but select, with the Valkyrie Knights and other fans interested in Young Adult and Fantasy in Singapore. Renee from Books Actually was moderating this session with Joyce, who was on stage with a little guest!

Joyce speaking with younger daughter, Natasha. Photo courtesy of Avarielle.
Joyce speaking with younger daughter, Natasha. Photo courtesy of Avarielle.

Following a short description of her writing process and the motivation behind the Rider trilogy, she did two readings from Speaker (the 2nd book), and went into a rather fruitful Q&A session. I think as compared to many other book launches I’ve been to, where Q&As were somehow incredibly silent, this was one of the more interesting sessions I’ve been to. It was a great balance between the questions and the answers – Joyce did not have to dominate the session and questions posed were relevant either to the book or to the scene, so all was good.

It was quite rewarding to see quite a few people at the signing as well, asking her additional questions in private. So all in all, quite amazing to see one of our friends get exposure like this.

Another note: The first two books of Joyce’s Rider trilogy, Rider and Speaker, will feature in another launch at Books Actually, 12 December. Stay tuned to Books Actually and Joyce’s site for more information!

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