Literacy and publishing pioneer also takes part in dedicated Ladies' Morning programme
Her Excellency Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and CEO of Kalimat publishing house and a tireless promoter of literature and literacy, was today the recipient of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2013 Personality of the Year Award. The Award was presented to Her Excellency by Festival Director, Isobel Abulhoul OBE, at a ceremony held at the Festival this morning.
Speaking about the award, HE Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi said, 'I am extremely honoured to be receiving this award here today. I believe strongly in the importance of a culture of reading, supported by a healthy and thriving publishing industry, as a cornerstone of any developed and progressive society, and it is a great privilege to be recognised for my passion in this regard. I want to thank my colleagues and counterparts for their continued support, which has been instrumental in turning so many of our visions into reality. This award serves to only further deepen my commitment to contribute to the development of the industry in the Emirates and the region in every way possible.'
Isobel Abulhoul said: 'I am delighted that the Festival can honour this extraordinary person, who is working so tirelessly to enhance the literary and cultural fabric of the United Arab Emirates. HE Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi has achieved so much in the fields of culture, women’s welfare and children’s literature. She is a wonderful role model to our new generations.'
'It is perhaps particularly fitting to present Her Excellency with this special award today which is of course World Book Day and the eve of International Women’s Day. We are celebrating all of these milestones with our very first Ladies Morning during which we have connected hundreds of female students and women from the community with our amazing female writers and speakers,' Abulhoul continued.
'We have also just completed a wonderful event which showcased the writing and illustrating talents of young women from the Dubai Women’s Campus, Higher Colleges of Technology. It has been a great inspiration for us all to have Sheikha Bodour with us and we are honoured to present her with this Award. True to form, she came here this morning to make a contribution and take part. Her session is sure to be a highlight not only of the morning but of the whole Festival,' Abulhoul concluded.
After receiving the Award, Sheikha Bodour joined a special Panel of Literary Experts in an open discussion entitled: ‘Love Reading, Love Writing - Encouraging Children’s Literacy’. The Panel brought Sheikha Bodour together with Taghreed Najjar, author and publisher for young children; Maya Mazloum, educator and Head of Academic Studies at Eton Institute; and Micheline Habib, writer, educator and literacy advocate and was chaired by Fatma Al Marri, CEO Dubai Schools Agency, KHDA. The Panel’s goal was to help mothers and educators to learn the best ways to encourage children to read for enjoyment and to develop a delight in creating their own stories.
Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi founded Kalimat, a book publishing house that specialises in publishing quality Arabic children’s books, in 2007. The venture has been hugely successful and has produced over 120 publications in the last five years, many of which have won prestigious regional and international literature prizes. Kalimat, named Sharjah International Book Fair’s Publisher of the Year in 2012, has also sold the translation and publishing rights to a number of its books to Italian, Swedish, Turkish, English, Hungarian, Australian and Canadian publishers.
However, Kalimat does not represent Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi’s only involvement in the publishing industry as she is the President of the Emirates Publishers Association, which has been awarded in 2012 full membership of the International Publishers Association (IPA). She also serves as the Honorary President of the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), the national section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), which is a non-profit organization that represents an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together.
In addition, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi is Head of the Organising Committee of Knowledge Without Borders, an initiative launched by HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, with the three-fold aim of establishing a library in every house in the Emirate, spreading general knowledge and awareness of the importance of reading in the development of societies, and contributing to creating an educated generation.
To honour her commitment to and involvement in developing the book and publishing sector, as well as children's culture and culture in general in the UAE and the region, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi was presented with the Emirates Women of the Year Award in 2012.
Away from publishing Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi stands as Vice President of the Sharjah Ladies Club, a combination leisure facility and community body committed to the intellectual and social development of Sharjah’s women and children.
Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi holds a BA (Hons) from Cambridge, an MSc in Medical Anthropology from University College London, and has successfully completed Yale publishing course and the Columbia publishing course. In 2011, Sheikha Bodour won the British Council Award for the most successful young publishing entrepreneur, and is a married mother of three children.
The Personality of the Year Award is given annually 'in recognition of a major contribution toward fostering literacy, education and love of literature in all its forms.' Last year it went to HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, Chairman of Emirates Airline, and the Award was previously given to leading businessman and humanitarian, Juma Al Majid.
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is currently taking place at the Intercontinental Hotel Dubai Festival City through Saturday 9 March 2013. This year the LitFest will welcome more than 120 authors to meet 30,000 visitors at 200 events. There are many sessions dedicated to children and the Festival includes a significant education strand that reaches many thousands of young people.
The Ladies' Morning, an innovation for this, the fifth Anniversary edition of the Festival, focused on female authors and topics. The Morning featured a number of sessions and discussions as well as the launch of four children’s books written and illustrated entirely by students from Dubai Women’s College selected by the LitFest and Dubai Airports to be the first books published by the Festival. It concluded with a visit to the Emirates NBD Pearl Museum and a celebratory lunch prepared by acclaimed chef Anissa Helou.
All information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is available online at www.emirateslitfest.com. It is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
Hiba Kunil, Public Relations Manager
Tel: +971 (04) 353 4002 ext 204
Christina Bruce, Head of Strategy and Communications
Tel.: +971 (04) 353 4002 ext 207
Abir Ben Bechir
Notes to Editors
About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Middle East’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together with authors from across the world to promote education, debate and above all else, love of reading and writing.
The Festival creates a wonderful opportunity for UAE nationals, residents and visitors to meet world famous authors, attend literary debates, listen to readings, participate in workshops and experience the exciting fringe and children’s events. With simultaneous translation between Arabic and English for all sessions, the Festival is a meeting of minds where ideas are shared and friendships are formed – not least among the authors themselves.
The 2013 Festival which has become an eagerly anticipated annual event will welcome more than 120 writers, thinkers and speakers from 30 countries. It is expected that 30,000+ visitors will attend the Festival which will have over 200 one-off sessions and unique events to be experienced and enjoyed in a programme that has been designed for wide appeal, with something to suit every taste.
The 2013 Festival will be held March 5-9, 2013 at The Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with Emirates airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage.
The LitFest also hosts a regular series of literary events during the winter months (October-April) at its home – Dar Al Adaab (House of Literature) in Al Fahidi Historic Area under the banner The Dar Al Adaab Open Door Series.
Kalimat is the first publishing house in the UAE dedicated solely to publishing and distributing high quality Arabic books for children aged 0 to 16 years. With over 120 publications to its credit since inception five years ago, Kalimat focuses on producing books that the children of the UAE and the region can relate to, with vibrant illustrations and stories that talk about the value of family, relationships, simplicity, and happiness.
With a portfolio of internationally acclaimed authors and illustrators, Kalimat's extensive range of books highlights traditional Arabic culture alongside the modern challenges faced by today's children, with the aim of imparting a life-long love of reading and Arabic literature to Arab children.