Warsha, a groundbreaking initiative supported by the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature and organised by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), has concluded its participation in the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC), which took place at the National Library of Singapore from the 30th of May to the 4th of June this year.
The Warsha delegates made full use of the festival’s exciting line-up, which included a diverse series of talks and lectures presented by celebrated international authors, illustrators, and experts in children’s literature and the children’s book industry as well as a number of exclusive masterclasses, focused on publishing, writing, and illustration, that were presented on the concluding day of the festival.
Marwa Obaid Al Aqroubi, President of the UAEBBY Executive Board, remarked, “Warsha’s aim is to stimulate the creation of truly innovative children’s books and event’s such as the Asian Festival of Children’s Content provide an excellent platform through which to accelerate this process. There are a lot of talented aspiring writers, illustrators, and publishers in the Arab world and this festival was an excellent opportunity for the Warsha participants to both hone their skills and gain experience and exposure on an international level.”
Abdulaziz Taryam, CEO Advisor and General Manager of Etisalat in the Northern Emirates, said: “The work being done by the Warsha training initiative is extremely exciting and we are delighted to be involved as sponsor of this trailblazing programme. Our children deserve access to every possible tool to ensure their success and a love for reading is without a doubt one of the most powerful tools we can equip them with. The creation of quality children’s books is therefore vital and we look forward to seeing the positive contribution that the Warsha participants are sure to make in this arena.”
The masterclass ‘From Cover to Cover: Designing a Book in One Day’ gave aspiring publishers the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind book with a provided text within the span of one day. Presented by author and designer of books, researcher, and teacher Mariko Takagi the class was an introduction to experimental book design, in which participants were guided on how to design to suit the flow of a story, choose appropriate typefaces for lettering, and to arrange text and visual elements on the page for best impact.
Writers and authors had the chance to take part in ‘Speculative Futures: Re-imagining the world’. Presented by Tiptree and Hugo Award winner Maureen McHugh, this masterclass explored the art of worldbuilding through the craft of storytelling. Participants had the opportunity to delve into the art of creating compelling worlds through writing, and explore themes and issues through the lens of fictional histories or futures, leaving them with a thorough understanding of how to grow believable worlds with fantastical settings and how to incorporate social commentary into riveting stories.
In the field of illustration, acclaimed illustrators Frané Lessac and Javier Zabala presented ‘Finding Your Illustrator’s Voice’ a masterclass that aimed to help participants to find their own graphic voice. The full day session focused on exploring the essence of characters, composition, colour, and graphic and narrative rhythm, and gave its participants the opportunity to develop their own style and investigate the collaborative process of blending text and art.
Focused on three key areas, namely illustration, writing, and production, the goal of the Warsha programme is to hone and expand the skills of young individuals to stimulate the creation of fresh and innovative Arabic children’s books that both meet and surpass global standards, while still remaining rooted in local Arabic culture.
For more information please contact:
Yousef Al Taweel
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