Bodour Al Qasimi underscores the importance of literary partnerships for intercultural communication

  • Thursday 12, October 2017 in 3:14 PM
Sharjah24: Literary and cultural partnerships are crucial to building cultural bridges between peoples from around the world’ - that was the message delivered by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, founder and CEO of Kalimat Group, at a panel discussion held on Wednesday at Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany.

During the discussion titled ‘Translation Exchanges that all Publishers Can Create,’ Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi outlined the impact of collaboration and joint action on reinforcing the role of knowledge and creativity in expertise exchange, as well as on enhancing cultural dialogue and understanding between the world’s cultures. 

"Originally the idea for Kalimat started when I had my own children and I wanted to make sure that they had access to wonderful books in Arabic. I feel that is still our main message and our main pillar in Kalimat. We wanted to take that further and think of it globally and not just regionally and in the Arab world, but also have our books transported to worlds that are far away and in different languages,” she said.

Sheikha Bodour also expressed her belief that cultural and literary partnerships facilitate mutual understanding and have the capacity to promote peaceful coexistence between cultures. 

"The initial idea of using partnerships to have rights deals with different publishers really opens doors as a publisher, not only for cultural exchange, but also to make sure that children in other parts of the world can understand more about our stories. And it can act as an agent of soft diplomacy and make this world a better place.” Sheikha Bodour said.

Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi said that the inspiration behind her efforts had seen Kalimat grow from a small business to an international publishing group with licensing and distribution in 54 countries across five continents. She extolled the virtues of being in partnership with such renowned publishing houses as Bloomsbury, Quarto and Gallimard and said that the benefits from forging such partnerships were mutual. 

During the panel discussion, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi highlighted the array of opportunities that the region and Sharjah in particular had to offer, especially in light of the emirate being awarded the literary status of World Book Capital for 2019 and also being in the process of opening Sharjah Publishing City, which will be the world’s only publishing free zone once fully operational. 

Along with Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, speakers at the panel discussion included Marcus Leaver, CEO The Quarto Group; Nigel Newton, CEO Bloomsbury Publishing and Hedwige Pasquet, President of Gallimard. It was moderated by Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Publishing Perspectives. 

Since its inception, Kalimat Group has achieved a widespread presence on the Arab cultural landscape and won several awards in recognition of its efforts to advance Arabic children's literature. The publishing house was named the Sharjah International Book Fair’s ‘Publisher of the Year’ in 2012 and was the recipient of the ‘Best Asian Publisher Award’ at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2016 and the ‘Sheikh Zayed Book Award 2017’ in the category Publishing and Technology.

Frankfurt Book Fair features more than 7,150 exhibitors from 106 countries. Each year, the world’s largest book fair hosts around 278,000 visitors and over 4,000 activities. The event in its current form began in 1949, but it has its roots in a centuries-old tradition. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Frankfurt was central to the distribution of books across Europe.