SCRF 2021 offers insights into the collaborative world of book publishing
Key role of partnerships in transforming ideas into books was discussed by
Safia Al Shehi and Katie and Kevin Tsang attheSharjah Children’s Reading Festival
Sharjah, May 23, 2021
Publishing a children’s book is a collaborative process. Along with the author, several creative mindscome together to partner in producingthe books that see the light of day. Who are these people and how does this partnership work? This was thetopic of discussion at the cultural session, ‘Be my Partner’, held at the12thSharjah Children’s Reading Festival.
“Children are my first partners, followed by the publisher, translator and the editor,”saidEmirati TV presenter, moderator, and voiceover artist, Safia Al Shehi who has published two children’s stories,The Golden Birdand Maha and the Paper.“I wouldn’t have been an author if I had not become a mother. Motherhood was my launching pad as an author”.
Joining the bilingual discussion from London to give their views on the topic were Katie and Kevin Tsang, ahusband-and-wife duo who have partnered as co-authors on the Sam Wu and Dragon Realm series of children’s books.
“We write all of our books together,” explained Kevin.“To make sure we both stay sane, we do all the planning, brainstorming, and outlining together on a white board,way before we begin putting down words on a page.Sometimes we may have entirely different perspectives on how a scene will develop,and I’ve realised that those materialise into some of the strongest ones in our books.”
“Another person who partners with us in this process is definitely our editor, and the illustrator is also a valued partner,” added Katie.
Apart from a host of creative professionals, the three authors agreed that it is the young readers who contribute significantly to the development of a book. Conducting workshops with children not only helps writers stay inspired,it also gives them a grip on what kids prefer to read these days.
“One of ourworkshops,‘Create a Dragon’,served as an inspiration for our future dragon characters. We also ask kids the names they would give their dragons, for instance.We try and make our books as excitingand as pacey as any anime show or video game used by our target audience,” elaborated Katie.
“What I love is how untethered their imagination is. That inspires me,” said Kevin.
Organised by the Sharjah Book Authority, the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival aims to unleash the creativity of children and young adults by fostering the imagination. The 11-day event, running daily at Expo Centre Sharjah concludes on May 29.
– Images during the session