On January 24, 2021, Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press (HBKU Press) launched the first in a series of public online webinars, titled, A Picture Worth a Thousand Words, hosted by HBKU Press senior editor and best-selling children’s book author, Jameela Sultan Al Mass Al Jassem, along with a set of distinguished panelists including award-winning Arab children’s book authors and illustrators
The series of HBKU Press webinars will run throughout the year and aim to engage the literary and academic communities in Qatar and provide useful information and practical skills for aspiring writers, illustrators and creatives.
“HBKU Press’ outreach activities are dedicated to cultivating and supporting local talent,” explained Muneera Al-Romaihi, HBKU Press’s Community Outreach Officer. “By providing these workshops, our team of experts are able to give aspiring local Qatari and Arab authors insight into exactly what makes a successful piece of literature or academic work.”
In this first webinar, Al Jassem, an expert in the field of children’s and young adult literature and a former Supreme Education Council employee once involved in drafting curricula for schools, led the discussion along with several panelists including award-winning author Basma Elkhatib, award-winning illustrator Bilal Bassal, renowned illustrator Fadi Salameh and HBKU Press senior editor and children’s author, Soha Abou Chacra.
“This webinar targeted both established and aspiring children’s book authors,” Al Jassem explains. “The panelists come from different backgrounds and were able to share their very diverse experiences in the field of writing and illustration for children. It is our hope that through their experiences of success, participants will be able to enjoy their own success by adopting the insights shared by experienced professionals.”
Elkhatib, the award-winning author of The Light of Hope (HBKU Press, 2018), said of the collaboration: “It’s always an honor to collaborate with HBKU Press. I’ve published several books with them and their support, guidance, and expertise in the publishing process ensures that quality literature is produced in a way that engages the target audience and merits international award recognition, both results which are ideal for any author/illustrator looking to make their mark.”
Abou Chacra, also an HBKU Press author and Arabic editor, said: “I hope the dialogue inspires other authors to develop their ideas creatively and will result in the creation of unique new books and stories that engage readers through their content and through illustrations that are of the highest quality.”
Illustrator Bassal echoed Abou Chacra’s sentiment, stating: “I hope that through this webinar, the participants learned about the importance of illustrations in creating a link between reality and fiction. It is a tool that facilitates the delivery of textual messages. The illustrations in children’s books, for example, should confirm that a child’s imagination has no limits. As artists, we must keep this concept at the core of our work to bring a book to life visually.”
The series of webinars hosted by HBKU Press will continue throughout the year. For more information, follow their Facebook page (facebook.com/hbkupress) or Twitter and Instagram (@hbkupress) for daily updates.
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