PublisHer Signs Visa as Sponsor of Its New Lounge at Sharjah’s Conference

In News by Porter Anderson1 Comment

As the PublisHer Lounge makes its debut at Sharjah, the women’s organization announces a new partnership with Visa.

Vertical panels lining Weam Ibrahim’s PublisHer Lounge design carry the Visa livery, announcing the new partnership at the 2024 Sharjah Booksellers Conference: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

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

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At Sharjah’s Booksellers Conference: The ‘PublisHer Lounge’
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‘Immediate, Practical Value to Bookwomen’
As the new PublisHer Lounge had its first outing at the Sharjah Booksellers Conference here in the United Arab Emirates, it was learned that the retail electronic payments network Visa CEMEA (Central Europe, Middle East) has become a corporate sponsor, entering a partnership to support women in the international book-publishing space.

Publishing Perspectives readers will recall that the PublisHer Lounge introduced during the Saturday-and-Sunday (April 27 and 28) conference with more than 550 attendees from 76 nations had a roster of its own workshops geared to the interests of women working in or close to book publishing.

The organization itself reportedly has more than 1,000 members who participate—as members, instructors, advisors, mentors, and/or board members.

Related article: ‘Sharjah’s Booksellers Conference: “Ecosystem Stakeholders.”’ Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

The PublisHer founder, the Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi of Sharjah, has released a statement to the news media about the new Visa partnership, saying, “We always seek to help women build their publishing careers, but the first PublisHer Lounge, in partnership with Visa, is a different approach for us.

“Women tell us consistently that they value hands-on tips and guidance, and what we’re doing at the Sharjah Booksellers Conference, much of it thanks to generous volunteers, is our response.

“We’re offering immediate, practical value to bookwomen, to complement the network building that is PublisHer’s abiding strength.”

While details of the size or nature of this sponsorship haven’t been offered, Visa’s interest in PublisHer signals its interest in supporting women in various fields.

Related article: ‘At Sharjah’s Booksellers Conference: The ‘PublisHer Lounge.’ Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

Other sponsors for PublisHer include:

  • Sharjah Book Authority, of which Al Qasimi is chairperson
  • AirArabia
  • Ingram Content Group
  • Ake Arts and Book Festival in Nigeria
  • Bologna Children’s Book Fair
  • Emirates Publishers Association, another entity founded by Al Qasimi
  • Kuala Lumpur International Book Affair
  • London Book Fair, during which PublisHer was founded in 2019
  • Readmagine (May 29, 30, and 31)
  • Sharjah International Book Fair (November 1 to 12)

Easa Raja Al Gurg signs her book, ‘The Power of Authenticity,’ in the new PublisHer Lounge at Sharjah Booksellers Conference 2024. Image: Nabs Ahmedi

On Saturday, the Booksellers Conference featured an onstage “in conversation” interview by publisher Iman Ben Chaibah, CEO of Dubai’s Sail Publishing with Raja Easa Al Gurg. Like Al Qasimi, Al Gurg is one of the United Arab Emirates best-known businesswomen, understood to be an executive to be reckoned with and highly visible for her work with the Easa Salah Al Gurg Group of companies.

Al Gurg inaugurated the PublisHer Lounge by signing copies of her 2023 book, The Power of Authenticity: Three Principles of Leadership Success from Medina Publishing.

Gurg said, “What I’ve learned through the years is that by harnessing the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual energy that resides within each of us, we can develop a leadership style based on personal authenticity, and this can lead to success in any industry you choose.”

At its first outing in Sharjah, the new PublisHer Lounge has been crafted by designer and engineer Weam Ibrahim to be a well-defined but open space for specific sessions and events. It’s positioning keeps it from having a segregated aura. Instead it keeps the venue in touch with the larger event—in this case the round tables of the Booksellers Conference’s workshops.

You can see an updating list of events and programs from PublisHer here.

More from Publishing Perspectives about the Sharjah Booksellers Conference is here, more on PublisHer is here, and more on Sharjah and its market is here.

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 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.


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