x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Publisher to promote Emirati authors

An Emirates-based publishing house plans to promote aspiring Emirati writers and increase readership among the young after releasing nine books during the Sharjah International Book Fair.

SHARJAH // An Emirates-based publishing house plans to promote aspiring Emirati writers and increase readership among the young after releasing nine books during the Sharjah International Book Fair.

Kuttab Publishing is seeking to encourage reading and writing amid what its executives see as a lack of interest in the printed word.

Four Emirati authors have published their books alongside fellow Arab writers since the company was launched six months ago.

For reading to become a regular activity, it should be instilled from the early years of a child's development, said Jamal al Shehhi, the company's chief executive. Doing so, he added, will ensure that future generations will have a solid base of available literature.

"We're a nation that doesn't like to read," he said. "Reading is a habit. If you don't work hard as parents and adults with children when they're young, we can't enforce it when they're older. It's a global responsibility and we have to support the publishing industry. In order to achieve that, we need to have good books and writers."

The company's books are primarily published in Arabic with about 2,000 copies being printed, though there are plans to offer them in English.

The company distinguishes its approach to the publishing world by treating each author and book as a project in regard to marketing campaigns, which include the use of social media.

One author who received positive feedback was Hussein al Rahma, a 19-year-old Emirati with special needs whose autobiography, Counting My Blessings, features snippets of his life and tells how he overcame the challenges of his condition. "I feel proud and so happy because now all people know that my book is there," said Mr al Rahma, who took two years to complete the book.

Half the revenue from his novel, which costs Dh50, goes to people with special needs while the rest is being saved so that Mr al Rahma can continue his education.

The poet Wafa Khalfan supports the concept. "Having Emirati authors who write for children is important to have our kids relate to their own culture - and maybe read more too," she said.

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