It’s the early stages of the second phase of the AED 5 million ‘1001 Titles’ project by one of Sharjah’s primer reading initiatives Knowledge without Borders (KwB), and they have already received 794 submissions seeking their support and patronage. This unique publishing initiative was launched in 2016, and has been boosting the intellectual output of the UAE by publishing 1,001 Emirati first-edition titles every two years.
After the resounding success of the first phase of this pioneering cultural project in the UAE, the initiative is engaging authors, illustrators and publishers once again to produce good quality books for children and young adults for its 2018–19 edition, and has seen tremendous response from the local and regional book industries within a few months of its launch this January.
Of the 794 titles that were submitted to compete for the 1001 Titles grant, 64 have been shortlisted and approved by the advisory committee this far to be published under the initiative. The second phase is also allowing authors to directly approach the initiative and submit their manuscripts themselves without the involvement of a publisher. The 1001 Titles selection committee has received 72 direct submissions by authors.
In this second phase, the lion’s share of the AED 5 million budget of the 1001 Titles initiative will go to titles put forth by the membership of the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA). Of the 1,001 books that will be supported by the project, 700 will be taken up by EPA members and the remaining 301 will represent other publishers and authors.
Majd Al Shehhi, Manager of ‘1001 Titles’, said: “In its second phase, the initiative is enjoying the fruits of the reputation and success it established in its first phase. It’s been only six months since phase two was launched and we have received an overwhelming response from Emirati and Arab publishers, authors and illustrators seeking our patronage and support.
“The 1001 Titles initiative is every bit unique in the way it aspires to enrich the libraries of children and the youth with outstanding original content, and simultaneously develop the UAE’s publishing industry by offering a great impetus and a competitive environment to those who are dedicated to bettering the intellectual output of the country and the region. Having received nearly 800 titles already, we are hopeful that the number of submissions will only grow bigger in the coming months.”
The first set of approved books targets children and young adults, categories that have been receiving increasing attention from publishers in the UAE. The titles also deal with issues of national history and heritage, while other books some others deal with education, intellect and self-development.
The selection criterion for 1001 Titles includes requires that the content of the manuscripts must be written in classical Arabic, and reflect Islamic, Arab and Gulf values and traditions. Other essentials are that the books must be creative and should be able to capture the reader’s interest and imagination. Of course, information in the submitted manuscripts must be accurate and up-to-date.
The ‘1001 Titles’ initiative was launched in February 2016 in line with the announcement of 2016 as the ‘Year of Reading’ by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The initiative was established in line with the directives of His Highness Dr. sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to support and help develop the cultural movement, enhance the intellectual product and strengthen the contribution of the local publishing sector in enriching knowledge locally, regionally and internationally.