In what was four action-packed days at the Bologna Children's Book Fair Illustrators Cafè, a group of the Arab world's most prolific talents in the children's illustration book field have been at the forefront of the industry's newest creative conversations. The young illustrators, all participants in Warsha, were invited to attend the prestigious book fair by the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature as part of the award’s commitment to nurturing the children’s book industry in the region.
Held on the sidelines of the Bologna Children's Book, the Illustrators Cafè offers fair goers the opportunity to gather and discuss innovations in illustration, meet with publishers, writers, and favourite artists, and to introduce themselves to professionals looking for new talent. The programme, which ran from the 30th of March to the 2nd of April, offered a diverse programme of events including the opportunity to meet with award-winning illustrators as well as a variety of workshops and lectures that explore a range of topics of great importance to the illustration community.
The four day event was a melting pot of cultures and conversations, and the Arab illustrators made use of the opportunity to contribute to the overall creative discussion on how to create visually fascinating books that capture children’s imaginations and inspire them to read more.
Speaking about the illustrators’ participation in the Bologna Children's Book Fair, Marwa Al Aqroubi, President of the UAEBBY Executive Board said: “We wanted to give the Arab illustrators the opportunity to attend this leading international art programme which is dedicated to update illustrators on the latest developments and trends in illustration for young adult and children’s books. The event is also a great platform for networking with international children’s illustrators”.
"In order to allow our children's imaginations to soar, we must allow those creating the conversations the opportunity to be involved in greater concepts that expose our vision for the region globally," continued Marwa Al Aqroubi.
Warsha, which was launched at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2013, is a division of the prestigious Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature. This trailblazing initiative aims to support and inspire a new generation of writers, illustrators, and publishers who are passionate about creating Arabic books for children and young adults in the infant to 18 year age range.
The programme consists of a range of workshops in Illustration, Writing, and Publishing, as well as the opportunity for participants to gain international exposure – with the aim of building the capacities of young individuals in the creation of books that are both rooted in local Arabic culture and that both meet and exceed international standards.
The AED 1,000,000 Etisalat Award for Arabic Children's Literature continues to expand and by doing so, offers a voice to authors, illustrators and publishers.