As part of the Children’s Literature Initiative supervised and managed by writer and plastic artist Lina Al-Aali, the Qatar Forum For Authors hosted Saturday evening novelist and writer Issa Abdullah, director of the cultural creativity centre, to discuss the topic “Role of Stories for the Young in Children’s Literature.” The session was broadcast live via the Forum’s YouTube channel.
Abdullah spoke about his trilogy directed to the young at age. It is a novel which is considered the first of its kind in the history of Qatari literature, and is thus a source of pride for him, especially that it will be translated into English and published in the coming period after a publishing house bought its copyrights. Abdullah indicated that he chose writing to the youth because of the rarity of works directed to this age group. This he had noticed since he was at a younger age. His choice and orientation were successful because of the scarcity of work in this literary field in the Arab world, particularly in Qatar. He pointed out that he focuses on historical imagination in most of his works because of his love of history, historical monuments and museums, which made him combine fantasy with history. He even extended the scope of some of his novels in search for Islamic civilizations until the events of the novels took that direction(??). He spoke in a different context about his work in Dar Roza Publishing House, indicating that the Corona pandemic has affected the publication operation, but not the literary and cultural production. Dar Rosa still has its doors open to authors. He expressed his regret that most book exhibitions around the world are closed. He further confirmed that the Publishing House’s publications are available in most outlets The Dar Rose is currently opening the Alef Bookshop which is the first Qatari bookshop that contains all editions. As for electronic distribution, this is available through the social media, the website and several applications in Qatar. On a global level, Dar Roza is cooperating with the Jamalon website that delivers books all around the world.
Among the smart solutions that Dar Roza created in the exceptional circumstances Qatar is recently experiencing along with the rest of the world was the issuance of an electronic magazine for children in cooperation with the initiative-taking professor Mozah Al-Kawari. This is a small 4-page magazine that aims to raise awareness about the Coronavirus, prevention and all that is related to health, with a set of drawings and riddles that attract the child to read.
Issa Abdullah also stressed the importance of cultural salons and gatherings that enriche and open some fields of writing to those writers who have difficulty in finding a theme to write about and motivates others who have moved away from writing to return to their creativity. He considered that the Qatar Forum for Authors has taken great strides in this field, especially with the sessions that are broadcast through the social media.
He also stressed that a book’s value lies in its content, images and goals, and that there is no difference between hard or soft copies in terms of value since each has its audience and what is important that they motivate all age groups to read.
Issa Abdullah considered himself still in the learning and self-developing stage. He, therefore, declines from offering some workshops to youth and children and nominates specialized academics for fear of inadequacy and repeating oneself because he desires to present a rich and integrated material that make available all what is new and useful to the workshops beneficiaries, especially in relation to paid workshops.