Experience in publishing
The Arab book production suffers from many shortages. My work in the field has so far focused on the lack of communication and regular professional exchanges with the international publication scene, as well as on the opacity of the Arab book market. My ultimate aim is to empower local actors and to bring interesting written content closer to readers.
Professional project: developing and promoting culture, as a factor of social development
:: MUBTADA WA KHABAR, a collaborative platform for Arab written works
>> A web based platform aiming at enhancing the presence of Arab written content in our daily lives.
:: RAYA, agency for Arabic literature, Beirut, Lebanon
>> Literary agency specialized in Arabic literature, representing world rights of translation.
—Conception: The agency’s middle term objective is to facilitate and democratize the access to a literature considered as marginal, mainly in Europe and North America. The agency’s long term objective is to contribute to the development of the Arab countries’ image in the world.
—Creation and implementation: Prospecting the Arabic literary production, contacting the authors, implementing a network of sub-agents in different territories, contracts negotiation, rights management.
:: Melsene Timsit & sons, Scouting agency, Paris
—Assistant to Alain Timsit, agency owner: Scouting French literary production for European clients.
:: Sindbad, Actes Sud, Paris
>> Publishing house specialized in contemporary Arabic literature.
—Assistant to Sindbad’s editor: Acquisition (reading and evaluating the literary quality of submitted Arabic books, assessing their adequateness for the French market, verifying the translations’ quality).
:: Seven Stories Press, New York
>> Middle sized independent publishing house.
—Assistant to the Open Media Pamphlets’ editor, an imprint of political non fiction books: Editorial, research, press (were published in the Open Media Pamphlets: Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, Eqbal Ahmad, Tanya Reinhart, Ralph Nader and others).
I created RAYA agency for Arabic literature in 2004. It is dedicated to promoting quality Arab fiction - and occasionally represents non fiction titles. RAYA is the only literary agency working according to international standards in the Middle East known to this day.
RAYA focuses on building an image of a literary agency representing quality literary fiction. In March 2008, this effort was rewarded by the Arab Man Booker prize, as three of the agency’s authors were among the six finalists to the prestigious prize.
The agency’ strategy has been to involve as many established international partners as practically possible. Today, the agency has several key partners, co-agents who are convinced by the quality of the represented titles, and have largely contributed to making RAYA’s work known.
Mubtada wa khabar
Mubtada wa khabar is an ongoing project.
It is a collaborative platform for the Arabic written content, that aims at contributing to an enhanced presence of Arabic written content in our daily lives, by using new web technologies.
As a first step, mubtada wa khabar focuses on books, and works towards invigorating the Arab book production by bringing books closer to readers. Its strategy is to make quality information available, and fight the opacity of the book market.
Since the platform is collaborative, users, who are part of the written word production chain, are relied upon to generate content. Consequently, the platform also seeks to create a community around the written word across the wide geographic area covered by Arabic speaking countries.
The platform has thus three key functions:
METADATA ON WRITTEN WORKS
Nowadays, there is no continuous, structured and reliable information regarding published works. Moreover there is little distribution and diffusion. The opacity of the market has consequences ranging from the quality of the productions to the shrinking place publications, among which books, hold in our daily lives.
The web based, collaborative platform we are creating aims at informing the public and the professionals on the activity and health of the Arab book industry, for free.
Publishers and other trusted users can add content to the platform, mainly book metadata as a first step. Other professionals and trusted users can also add book reviews, studies, interviews, etc.
The web based platform creates a space for every stakeholder of the industry: authors, illustrators, agents, scouts, translators, publishers, critics, journalists, readers and more. Publishers can regularly update their profile, communicating on their latest productions, authors can publish their biography and bibliography, etc.
As a result, the platform will serve as a tool to create a community around books across the Arab countries.
ARABIC CONTENT ON THE WEB
Thus, with this tool, mubtada wa khabar also answers a widely felt need for structured Arabic content on the web.
We will be operating under a Creative Common license.
:: Conference on rights and piracy
Invited at the Tripoli Book Fair, Libya
:: Developing rights sales in children literature in the Arab world
Invited at the Sharjah International Book Fair, UAE
:: I have a dream! - A collaborative platform for the Arab book industry
Invited at the Sharjah International Book Fair, UAE