The Netherlands-based NGO Hivos recently sponsored a Disrupt! Books! event in Amman “dedicated…to investigating the possibilities of the internet for the traditional Arabic publishing industries”:
The event was held in partnership with Amman’s Project Pen. Participants went to talks and workshops, and then pitched their ideas to a judging committee on the final day. Four winners (two projects tied for second place) were chosen.
Perhaps what’s most interesting is that these are not technology-oriented at all, nor do they rely on the internet in any fundamental way. These are not technological or creative “disruptions” as much as editorial supports. From Wamda:
The first place prize of 2,000 Jordanian dinars (around $2,800 USD) and a publishing contract with Project Pen went to Hiba Aleiwat, who is planning to start her own instructive website that would help Arabophone writers through the complicated process of publishing their work.
The second prize which featured a publishing contract with Project Pen, went to two entrepreneurs: the first idea belongs to Rawan Bibars, who intends to use photography to fight autism. Sisters Fatima and Alnuha Sharro took home the other prize, with their recreation of Arabic folktales through Japanese Manga-style caricature and a modern twist.
Finally, as the third place winner, Diana Ishaqat…wants to start her own editorial services website where Arab writers can get consultation, editing, and cover illustrations.
Indeed, it’s interesting how traditional the projects are.