There was some paid subscriber interest in illustration, so I invited Singaporean writer and artist, Joyce Chng to create a Mid-Autumn Festival illustration. I have been delighted by Joyce’s Mid-Autumn mice for years, so I was very excited to get to ask for some especially for this.
I also asked Joyce if they wanted to provide any explanatory context, and what follows are their words and illustrations.
Mid-Autumn Festival Mice
by Joyce Chng
I love Mid-Autumn Festival. It is the festival I always look forward to after the spooky and grim Ghost Month (Seventh Month). Lanterns, mooncakes, full moons… I love all of them. I started sketching and then illustrating the mice around 2016-7. It began with tooth mice, followed by the idea “why not combine mice and Mid-Autumn Festival together?”
2016-2017 were stressful years for me. Teaching, coping with breast disease, dealing with a myriad of issues, I was spread thin. Sketching the Mid-Autumn Mice was a balm to my soul.
Fast forward to 2021… I am still sketching Mice and always Mid-Autumn Festival. It is a festival of joy and hope.
I was also delighted when Joyce allowed me to reprint one of their earliest Mid-Autumn mouse sketches! Here is one from 2015:
Joyce Chng’s fiction has appeared in The Apex Book of World SF II, We See A Different Frontier, Cranky Ladies of History, Accessing The Future, The Future Fire and Anathema Magazine. Joyce also co-edited THE SEA IS OURS: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia with Jaymee Goh. Fire Heart, a YA fantasy under Scholastic Asia, will be published soon. (Pronouns: she/her, they/their)
Thank you so much for supporting me in my quest to pay creators for new work! These drawings were exclusive to paid subscribers until the 21st of September, 2021, at which point they became publicly available.
If you’d like to read and/or listen to a story by Joyce that takes place around the Mid-Autumn Festival, you can check out “Metal Can Lanterns” in the 2019 Banned Books Week edition of Cast of Wonders. I was the guest editor for that week, and found some truly wonderful stories about hope in the face of censorship. “Metal Can Lanterns” imagines children trying to preserve the Mid-Autumn Festival on a distant planet with a restrictive government. It’s the last flash piece of three in this episode, and was ready by John Chu. All the stories are great (and short!), so you might like to listen to the whole thing!
If you’d like to see more of Joyce’s art, you can check out the February 2021 issue of Mermaids Monthly, which includes a pair of their illustrations!