Authors Suad Amiry and Randa Abdel-Fattah in Doha for BQFP’s launch

Following the launch events in London earlier this month, Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP) celebrates the publication of its launch list in the company’s home base, Doha. BQFP held a series of literary events at the Waqif Art Center and the Dohaland Knowledge Enrichment Center including book readings for adults and children, creative writing workshops, book making for children, books signings and readings by authors.

BQFP marked its first list with readings by two authors, Suad Amiry, and Randa Abdel-Fattah at the Dohaland Knowledge Enrichment Center’s Terrace to a distinguished audience, including guests from Qatar Foundation, the Ministry of Culture and the literary community in Doha. The inaugural catalogue includes award-winning authors such as Inaam Kachachi, Julia Donaldson, Faustin Charles, Emma Chichester Clark and Debbie Gliori.

Where the Streets Had a Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah is a poignant and highly readable novel that recounts a teenage girl’s mission to realize her grandmother’s dream to touch the soil of her beloved Palestine. Abdel-Fattah’s book was recently awarded Australia’s Golden Inkys Prize, reflecting its popularity among teenagers in Australia.

Renowned Palestinian author and architect, Suad Amiry, read from Nothing to Lose But Your Life: An 18-hour journey with Murad, her newest book published by BQFP. In this engaging memoir, Amiry details the exciting account of her efforts to illegally cross the Israeli border to seek work alongside a busload of men. BQFP publishes Amiry’s book in English this spring and later this year in Arabic. Amiry enjoyed great acclaim for her previous book Sharon and My Mother-in-Law, which was an international award-winning bestseller translated into 11 languages and adapted into a play.

Also on Monday April 26th, booklovers, authors, editors, teachers, professors, students and distributors participated in book-making activities and the launch of the non-fiction title, Qatari Voices featuring 21 essays by local writers in the Waqif Art Center. The most striking characteristic of Qatari Voices is the diversity of themes—ranging from the personal to the global: narratives of childhood memory, essays about future aspirations, and differing perspectives on current issues.

BQFP is a publisher with a unique community development mission to enrich and foster a literary culture of reading and writing for enjoyment. Through its reading and writing development programs including World Book Day, writers’ workshops and discussion groups, BQFP has already started to build a culture of reading and writing in Qatar.

In a creative and fun program, classes and schools who participated earlier in BQFP’s innovative World Book Day activities and Read-a-thon competition were invited to celebrate their efforts through an opportunity to showcase their original work and also to participate in an interactive book making workshop.

BQFP book ambassador Dr. Sheikha Al Misnad said: “I think BQFP is one of the most important social development projects taking place in Qatar at this time. The vision to establish a culture that embraces reading as part of day-to-day life is essential for achieving our other educational and human development objectives.  At a personal level, a passion for reading not only enriches the reader’s personality but also opens doors of unlimited possibilities.”

Both book ambassadors Dr. SHeikha Al Misnad and Sheikha Hanadi Nasser Bin Khaled Al Thani were the first to write on BQFP’s Writers' Canvas. The Canvas is a space for the public to either share their story in seven words or write down their favorite book/author in a graffiti style.

Moreover, BFQP’s launch also witnessed recognition ceremonies to the winners of the SMS poetry competition which BQFP has launched in association with Vodafone Qatar and the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, The Festival Affairs Office for Doha Capital of Culture 2010. The competition was the Qatar’s first SMS poetry challenge and was launched on March 18th, 2010 and ran till the end of the month.

Nigel Newton, Founder and Chief Executive of Bloomsbury Publishing and Chairman of the Management Committee of Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing said:

‘Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing shows the commitment of Qatar Foundation and the State of Qatar to achieving its vision of a knowledge-based economy through education, publishing and the encouragement of reading and writing.’

BQFP is a Qatar- based publisher of high quality Arabic and English books. Owned by Qatar Foundation and managed by Bloomsbury Publishing, BQFP comes with a community development mission to engender a literary culture of reading and writing in Qatar and the region. BQFP is committed to drawing on Bloomsbury expertise and experience along with Qatar Foundation to develop a viable and vibrant Arabic and English publishing industry in Qatar; one that can be replicated and used by other similar ventures.

Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP)