Thursday, 15 January 2015

MENA. Online. Literature. Today.

Well, the day after tomorrow, actually.

This two day event - a day of conference and a day of workshops - is taking place at the Townhouse Gallery Rawabet Space in Cairo on the 17th and 18th January 2015 and features panel sessions, talks, discussions and workshops which will set out to examine and illustrate the current state of publishing in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Some may recall, the event was postponed from last December because of a localised outbreak of demonstratin'...

The conference is being organised by Townhouse's Dina Kafafi and is an initiative of the Digital Resource Library in collaboration with Townhouse, the International Media Network Services for Human Rights, Sweden and the Goethe-Institut, Cairo. So you'd better eat your greens.

The speakers are a stellar lot, including The Goethe-Institut's Stefan Winkler,'s Ashraf Maklad, Al Arabi Publishing's Sherif Bakr, joined by a number of prominent and interesting writers and publishers, educationalists, cultural organisations and social activists.

And, you guessed it, I've infested the agenda, too. I'm doing a bit of moderatin', a bit of talkin' (mainly about how the Middle East publishing market is struggling, a little bit about how we're finding new freedoms thanks to t'Internet and some more about how the UAE is seeing a transformation in its literary and publishing scene) and also giving a two-hour workshop on self-publishing tools and how to get your work into shape and into print.

I must say I'm excited to be going back to Cairo. It's been years and years since I was last there and yet I used to run an office in Garden City and travel as constantly as I later did to Jordan. I have always had a powerful love hate relationship with the city but never find my time there anything less than fascinating.

There's no entrance fee for the conference or associated workshops: you can just rock up with empty pockets. Registration starts from 9am Saturday and the event starts at 10am. There's coffee and stuff.

If you just want to pitch for the self publishing workshop, it's at 1pm on Sunday. At 3pm there's a demonstration of the publishing and distribution tool set for Arabic writers and Mohamed Altaher is giving a workshop on online security tools at 5pm.

There's a Facebook page, linked here for your Facebooking pleasure.

And, finally, there's a map. It's here:

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