Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 5 August 2020

Pens at the ready: Dh1 million Emirates Publishers Emergency Fund now open for applications

To avail the monetary benefits, publishers must present proof of the amount of loss incurred as a result of the cancellation of contracts, book fairs or other cultural engagements due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi is vice president of the International Publishers Association and founder of Emirates Publishers Association. Delores Johnson / The National
Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi is vice president of the International Publishers Association and founder of Emirates Publishers Association. Delores Johnson / The National

The Emirates Publishers Association (EPA) is calling on publishers from across the UAE to submit their applications for its emergency fund.

The Dh1 million Emirates Publishers Emergency Fund was launched last month with the aim of supporting and financing local publishers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

It was launched in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, Sharjah Book Authority and Sharjah Publishing City, under the patronage of Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, founder of EPA.

Publishers around the country can now submit their applications, in English or Arabic, for the emergency fund through the EPA’s website. However, all publishers need to meet a number of criteria to qualify for the fund's monetary benefits.

Those who are applying must be active members of the EPA since 2018, and working in the publishing, printing or distribution sectors.

They must also have a valid commercial licence from either the Economic Development Departments or free zones across the UAE.

Only publishing houses that have not received any form of financial support since the start of 2020 will be considered by the fund.

Publishers will also be evaluated based on their efforts to sustain their business and ensure continuity of work through the pandemic.

If an owner has multiple publishing houses, only one of them will be considered for the fund. Additionally, only businesses which have not terminated contracts of their employees since the beginning of 2020 will be considered.

Publishers must present proof of the amount of loss incurred as a result of the cancellation of contracts, book fairs or other cultural engagements between February and June.

Publishers will be evaluated based on their efforts to sustain their business and ensure continuity of work through the pandemic.

EPA president Ali Obaid Bin Hatem said the fund reflects Sheikha Bodour's commitment to supporting the sector.

He also noted that EPA has chalked out key strategies to offer additional support to its membership.

"We are looking forward to having publishers come up with innovative solutions to maintain the growing status of an energetic Emirati publishing industry," added Rashid Al Kous, executive director of EPA. "Although the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak have been multilayered, they have signalled new opportunities.”

The move ties in with the emirate’s long history of being a hub for literature and a go-to destination for readers, writers and publishers. In 1982, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, launched the first Sharjah International Book Fair.

Last year, Sharjah was Unesco’s World Book Capital and a number of new initiatives were announced, including the launch of House of Wisdom, a state-of-the-art library, which will be home to more than 100,000 books, as well as a cafe and children’s educational space. It was due to open in April.

Updated: July 5, 2020 02:05 PM

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