By Edward Nawotka
AMELI — the Association Maghrebine des Editeurs du Livre Independents — was launched late last month. Ameli, the Arabic word for “hope,” starts with 22 members and one of the first goals of this association is the presentation of our products inside and outside the Maghrebian countries, including the Frankfurt Book Fair. The new initiative was sparked by two years of publishers training offered by the Frankfurt Book Fair’s Frankfurt Academy.
(This workshop series in Maghreb is made possible by the financial support of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.)
Nacéra Khiat of Tunisia’s Editions Sedia attended the most recent three-day December workshop, which focused on “creating attractive media for children.” Some of the questions addressed included: Who are my target groups? Where do I stand in the local market? What are my weaknesses and my strengths? How and where can I find good authors and illustrators?
Reflecting on the event, she noted, “This series of workshops if very useful for Maghrebian publishers and a brilliant initiative of the Frankfurt. It would be a good idea to continue these trainings and this exchange by Maghrebians themselves in order to enhance the profession as a whole.” And the timing was, she said, “perfect.” It is her hope that the workshop and resulting association will “help create new opportunities and unleash talent,” not only for children’s books, but for the whole of the region, which is currently lacking in organized educational activities for key publishers and editors to learn from each other.
Look for more to come from this burgeoning region of the world.