Event held on the side-lines of 35th edition of Sharjah International Book Fair
Sharjah, UAE, 7 November 2016: A group of 20 authors received valuable tuition to help them hone their craft at a series of workshops organised by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY). The three-day activity, which took place at Sharjah's popular tourist destination Al Noor Island, was hosted by Fatima Sharafeddine, an accomplished author of children's books.
Held on the side-lines of the 35th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), which is currently underway at Expo Centre Sharjah, the sessions formed part of the UAEBBY's ‘Warsha' programme - an innovative initiative supported by the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature that aims to build a new generation of professionals working in the Arab children's book industry.
“Through the Warsha programme we are working to achieve the objectives of the UAEBBY and the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature, which aim to elevate the quality of Arabic children's and young adults' books. We are building the capabilities of promising authors, illustrators and publishers by organising workshops conducted and supervised by experts to hone their skills and develop their talents in their respective areas of interest and expertise,” said Marwa Al Aqroubi, President of the UAEBBY Executive Board.
“The creative writing workshop aims to shed light on the principles that need to be adopted and followed when writing for children and young adults. The three-day workshop featured discussions, the exchange of experiences and writing activities that focus on finalising the story and preparing it for publishing,” said Fatima Sharafeddine, author and translator of children's books.
The first day of the Warsha programme's workshops focused on comic books, explaining to the attendees how they can transform words into pictures and illustrations in a manner that appeals to children and young adults. The interactive session trained the participants to extract ideas and reproduce them into a fully integrated story suitable for the Arab children's literature genre. It also highlighted the importance of strengthening ties between authors and illustrators, showing how by working in synergy they can elevate the quality of children books.
The second day of workshops addressed the use of different styles of writing, expressions and idioms, how to edit the text after writing the first draft and how to evaluate the story. It shed light on the importance of choosing publishers, learning their way of thinking and preparing the text for submission. The session highlighted how by using such a structured plan the publisher is able to assess the book's quality, define what makes it distinguishable and decide on its suitability for the target age group.
The third day's workshop in the Warsha programme explored the specifications of young adults' books and discussed the importance of research and planning in creating the story's characters, in particular how to develop the main protagonist. The workshop also addressed how to choose the narrative style, dialogue and story-line, with a focus on the first chapter and the last chapter and the ‘Open End' novel style.
Author Fatima Sharafeddine has won several awards, prizes and honour mentions, the latest being the prestigious Italian ‘Bologna Ragazzi Award' for her book ‘Lisanak Hisanak' (Tongue Twists), published by Kalimat, UAE. She has authored approximately 120 books, many of which have been translated into a variety of languages, including French, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Spanish, Turkish, Chinese and Russian.