1001 books for Year of Reading
'1001 Titles ' will ensure growth of cultural identity, said Shaikha Bodour, at the launch of theinitiative in Sharjah on Monday. Supplied photo
Sharjah - Knowledge without Borders announces release of Arabic books in two years
Knowledge without Borders (KwB) has announced the launch of "1001 Titles" which seeks to release 1001 Arabic books over the next two years in line with 2016 being declared the Year of Reading in the UAE.
The Dh5 million initiative will be implemented in 2016 and 2017, and will add to the calibre of local intellectual offerings currently available, and enrich public libraries, school and university libraries with Emirati publications.Addressing a Press conference on Monday, Shaikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Head of Organising Committee of KwB and Founder and Honorary President of the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) said "In keeping with our eagerness to support efforts that promote reading, we announce the initiative "1001 Titles" under the slogan "Nurturing talent to enrich content". The initiative coincides with the UAE's celebration of 2016 as the Year of Reading and aims to ensure the continuity of intellectual output and achieve the future that we want for our country and culture."Shaikha Bodour added, "This initiative is in line with His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah's directions to implement initiatives that ensure our cultural identity will continue to prosper. Supporting local authors and publishers means boosting the UAE's contribution to enriching Arab culture and we hope that these books will touch readers' hearts and minds and serve as an incentive for young Emiratis to be creative and fulfill their ambitions to become writers."
Dr Habib Gholoum Al Attar, Cultural Adviser at the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, said, "It gives me great pleasure to be here in Sharjah-the emirate of goodness, development, brainpower and creativity. I am also pleased to be present here alongside Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, one of our creative intellectuals, who undertook to launch cultural initiatives that help promote culture in the emirate of Sharjah."Al Attar pointed out that the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development encourages government bodies and departments, as well as private organizations, to support culture in the UAE. "However, the emirate of Sharjah has assumed the responsibility of supporting culture and I hope that all relevant bodies come together and unify their efforts to advance the cultural and artistic scene in the UAE," he added.
In a move to support the "One Thousand and One Titles" initiative, the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, in coordination with Knowledge without Borders, will exempt authors and publishers from the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) fees for books that will be printed.
In her speech, Dr Mariam Al Shanasi, President of the Emirates Publishers Association, EPA, said, "It is my pleasure to be with you today to launch this initiative, which will promote culture and reading in line with 2016 being declared the Year of Reading by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The "1001 Titles" initiative is in line with EPA's vision to ensure the sustainability of the publishing industry in the UAE and beyond. It also aims to support Emirati authors and encourage them to write more books, and seeks to support Emirati publishing houses to enrich local cultural assets. The EPA seeks to provide everything needed to ensure the continuity of the local, small and emerging publishing houses and ensure that they can compete amid the many challenges surrounding the publishing sector in the Arab world."
Rashid Al Kous outlined the details of the initiative, which aims to increase Emirati publications and distribute them in various markets. He said, "We have launched the official website of the initiative www.1001titles.com to enable publishing houses to send the content they want to publish. A special committee will select books according to set criteria. The selection criterion includes the necessity that the content be classic Arabic and in line with Islamic, Arab and Gulf values and traditions, and the priority will be given to Emirati authors."
According to Al Kous, children's books should capture children's interest and imagination, and information in books should be accurate and up-to-date. The books should help develop children's knowledge of spiritual, humanitarian, social and national values. Other criterion includes that the books should contain illustrations and pictures.
The initiative is open for applications from March 1st and after approving the content, 1,000 copies of each title will be printed in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Media's United Printing and Publishing Company (UPP). The printed books will be promoted through participation in local, Arab and international book fairs and cultural festivals. In total one million one thousand Arabic books will become available to readers."