PublisHer Holds a First Rio Event During the Bienal do Livro

In News by Porter Anderson

The international network of women in publishing, PublisHer, has its first gathering in Rio during this month’s 21st Bienal do Livro.

Participants in the PublisHer programming with Brazilian Publishers at the Bienal do Livro in Rio. The previous and current presidents of the International Publishers Association, Bodour Al Qasimi and Karine Pansa are at the center. Image: PublisHer, Nabs Ahmedi

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Brazil’s PublisHer Chapter Was Established in São Paulo
Having closed its 2023 run on Sunday (September 10), the Bienal do Livro in Rio de Janeiro was the setting for the latest gathering of a national chapter of PublisHer, the international network for professional women in book publishing.

Not unlike the Madrid-Barcelona biennial program for Spain’s or “Liber,” Brazil’s big book fair moves back and forth between São Paulo and Rio. In 2022, when the show was in São Paulo, Bodour Al Qasimi, the founder of the PublisHer program, joined the Brazilian Publishers program at that fair to establish Brazil’s PublisHer chapter.

Last week’s event was the first time the Brazil chapter has held a meeting during a Rio run of the book fair—the programming of which we previewed here—and Al Qasimi made the trip to lead one of the program’s signature rounds of presentations and dinners, something that now has been repeated in many international markets, recently including such an event in June during the 2023 Seoul International Book Fair.

Al Qasimi, the Sharjah founding publisher of Kalimat Group who is the immediate past president of the International Publishers Association (IPA) and now president of the American University of Sharjah, was joined by IPA’s current president, Karine Pansa, who is editorial director at Girassol Brasil Edições in São Paulo.

Al Qasimi: ‘Power in the Group Dynamic’

Speakers in the PublisHer and Brazilian Publishers’ program at the Bienal do Livro in Rio. Image: PublisHer, Nabs Ahmedi

During the presentation, a discussion was held with Al Qasimi, moderated by journalist Talita Facchini. And then a group discussion followed with Al Qasimi, Pansa, Facchini, and:

  • Flavia Alves Bravin of Saber Educação and SNEL, who chairs the Brazilian PublisHer chapter
  • Ana Lima, Rocco
  • Roberta Machado, Grupo Editorial Record
  • Camila Perlingeiro, an independent editor
  • Lizandra Magon de Almeida of Editora Jandaíra
  • Paula Carvalho, Tinta-da-China Brasil

Onstage, Al Qasimi urged the program’s attendees, “Don’t tolerate any form of discrimination or encourage it by being silent.

“Speak up, stand up, and share your voice. It might be challenging, but that’s the process.”Bodour Al Qasimi, PublisHer

“Speak up, stand up, and share your voice. It might be challenging, but that’s the process. No real change happens without sacrifice. There’s power in the group dynamic, so work together, support one another, and create strong, supportive networks.”

In talking about her first iteration of the PublisHer event model during the 2019 London Book Fair, Al Qasimi said she refused to accept that the world’s publishing industry—the workforce of which is predominantly female—is disproportionately run by men. “I was amazed by the similarities in stories we heard,” she said, “from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and North America, which confirmed that we were facing a global culture of unfairness.”

While in Rio for the PublisHer program, Al Qasimi toured the exhibition floor of the Bienal do Livro with Martha Ribas, a Partner of MapaLab, and the show’s curator.

More on PublisHer and its programs is here. It’s hoped that chapters of PublisHer will be set up in more Latin American markets, going forward.

PublisHer founder Bodour Al Qasimi tours the Bienal do Livro exhibition floor in Rio with curator Martha Ribas of MapaLab. Image: PublisHer, Nabs Ahmedi


More from Publishing Perspectives on the PublisHer program is here, more on women in publishing is here, more of our coverage of international book fairs and trade shows is here, more from Publishing Perspectives on the Brazilian and Lusophone market is here, and more on publishing in the Latin American region is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the International Publishers Association’s world media partner.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.