Collaborating on Shared Challenges: Behind the Scenes of LittAsia

“Christians need to be equipped to have a word in season when others turn to us for help. How can we help when we don’t even understand the problems to begin with? And what are the issues uppermost in people’s consciousness?” MAI-Asia Chair Bernice Lee asks. “We hope that as Christian writers and publishers, we can provide words of hope in these troubled times as we write on relevant issues.”

This April, Christian communicators across the Asia Pacific will meet at MAI-Asia’s inaugural regional conference in Thailand to learn to unpack, write and publish on the issues people are thinking about: global conflict and the persecuted church, resilience, social media and misinformation, living as a Christian amidst social justice challenges, amongst others.

“LittAsia is an opportunity for those from Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands to come together and learn from one another in a culturally relevant environment—where we can share best practices and address the pressing needs of this season by shining God’s light on areas of darkness that seem to be continuing to grow,” Bernice says.

MAI Director of Publisher Development Ramon Rocha reports that particular publishing challenges in the Asia-Pacific include small markets, the pressure to balance allocating limited publishing capital between translations and more contextualized locally written materials, as well as barriers to meeting for mutual learning, encouragement and support.

“Here in Asia, we’ve not really had a chance to come together since LittWorld in 2018,” Bernice says. In the last few years, there have been few training workshops in the region, and few from Asia attended the last LittWorld in Budapest. With the current economic situation across Asia and the Pacific, many find it difficult to attend global conferences.

“That set me thinking about bringing people together within Asia,” Bernice says. “My prayer is that we can raise enough to enable all those who need scholarships to receive one!”

Learning from old and new friends

This year, Bernice has the joy of working with fellow MAI-Asia Board members to organize their first regional conference. MAI-Asia is one of three MAI Regional Boards (along with Europe and Africa), which spearhead trainings in their respective regions, and has hosted highly successful LittWorld conferences in Singapore in 2015 and 2018.

“The conference went extremely well, with some participants giving feedback that it was the best LittWorld they had attended,” MAI-Asia Board member Emily Lim-Leh says, of the first LittWorld in Singapore in 2015. She and Bernice are working together again to organize LittAsia.

“MAI conferences have plugged me into a network where I don’t just receive, but now am able to be a channel of blessings too,” Bernice says. “Looking at the registrations, there are many new friends to make and to encourage! All glory to God!”

Speakers were selected who are deeply connected with the work of MAI, engaged in writing or publishing, or have specialist knowledge that would speak into the issues that MAI-Asia Board members have discovered most resonate with their region’s concerns.

MAI conferences are focused on facilitating learning and connections­. “In addition to training, a big focus is networking and building relationships with colleagues from your own region and around the world,” MAI President John Maust says. “Workshops also offer relevant tips and teaching to authors of all stripes—traditional, hybrid and self-published.”

“I have learnt so much from giants in Christian publishing,” Bernice says, of the ways she has been blessed by MAI conferences. “I am a much better editor and publisher for having real-time connections to these experts who have been unstinting in the sharing of their wealth of knowledge and experience.”

Today, Bernice is Managing Director of Graceworks, a publishing and training consultancy in Singapore, as well as Chair of MAI-Asia.

Be a part of LittAsia

LittAsia aims to provide a context in which Christian writers and publishers across the Asia-Pacific can gain skills, tools and friendships that will equip each one to write, produce and distribute books that will reach and impact their nations with the gospel. We invite you to join us and pray for this unique conference.

* To donate towards scholarship gifts for LittAsia, visit the MAI Donate page and include “LittAsia scholarship gift” in the Comments box.

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