Qatar Launches ‘Katara Publishing House’

Four years after launching the Katara Prize for the Arabic Novel — which has apparently already brought out around 60 novels in English, French, ad Arabic — Qatar has launched the “Katar Publishing House,” to consolidate the production of these and other works:

The Katara Prize, which offers a $200,000 top award, also promises to translate works into English, and has apparently already brought out a number of titles, including prize-winning books such as Salmi Nasser’s Blue Tongues; Ali Al Refaei’s Mero Family Genes; Mustapha El Hamdaoui’s Princess Shadow; Saad Mohammed Raheem’s Shadows of a Body; and Nasser Iraq’s Al-Azbakia. But while these books have registered ISBNs and seem to have been published by “Katara Cultural Village,” there is no other information about how one might obtain them.

Enter the Katara Publishing House, launched on Thursday at a ceremony that also honored Qatari writer Dr Hassan al-Nama.

According to a release, “Katara Publishing House will represent Qatar at Arab and international book fairs and exhibitions, said Dr al-Sulaiti. He called on writers and intellectuals to benefit from this project.”

Khalid al-Sayed, the house’s new manager, said in a prepared statement that the idea was to bring together all Katara’s publishing projects: “Every year, we have been publishing about 60 novels under the Katara Novels project plus other books on Qatari history, culture, heritage and traditions. We wanted to bring all these under one umbrella to make publishing more professional and systematic.”

Al-Sayed further said:

We want to promote writers and the publishing industry in Qatar. Katara Publishing House will serve as a link between readers and writers. We have plans to promote e-books and audio books, which are the new trends worldwide. There are a lot of other activities being planned, which will be announced later. We want to give a big push to publishing business in Qatar on a commercial level.

Katara Publishing House released five new books during the opening ceremony, and promises a focus on “topics such as pearl diving, oud, falconry, pigeons, dhows and Arab art,” as well as on literary novels.