I am very happy to present my brand new cover for Melouq! Since I first published Melouq, my debut YA novel, I’ve been looking and looking for the perfect cover. I didn’t get it right the first or second time, but maybe I should have known! Third time’s the charm!
This Tuesday the 25th of July was the book signing ceremony of The Lion that Dressed as a Sheep and The Magic Palm! Diwan Maadi was kind enough to host the ceremony. There I met young readers, spoke about my experience in writing, and read sections of each book for the audience.
I am very happy to finally release my third children’s book! The Magic Palm is a short story written with a lot of love about an Egyptian boy who lives on a date farm with his family… and experiences an unexpected bit of magic.
Last Saturday, the Egyptian Board of Books for Young People (EBBY) and the Shoura Assembly of Agriculture held an awards ceremony at the Zamalek Library. Well attended by local and regional publishers, authors, and illustrators, the day began with an award ceremony for the four winners of the Ardena or “Our Land” competition. Organized by EBBY and Shoura, this competition encouraged writers to submit stories about Egypt’s land or agriculture for children. The awards were given by Dr. Nadia Al Khouly and a Shoura representative to first and second place winners of two age groups, elementary readers and young adult. Congratulations!
Afterwards, Dr. Yasmine Motawy spoke on her experiences judging for the Hans Christian Anderson Award. She explained the requirements for an author or illustrator to submit their work and how best to organize their portfolio. Amongst the most important points was the need for an excellent translator and the ability to showcase the growth and lifetime of an artist’s work.
The day ended with further round table discussions between authors, publishers, and illustrators on the progress and development in children’s publishing in the region and worldwide.
Last Tuesday, I was invited to dinner at the British Embassy as a finalist for the UK Alumni Award – Category: Professional Achievement. The British Embassy in Egypt organized an inspiring event where they brought together UK alumni with significant achievements in: professional, entrepreneurial, and social achievements.
It was a wonderful night where these hard working alumni discussed their work they were proud of achieving after their degrees. Needless to say, I met incredible people who were all more impressive than the person sitting next to them.
This Wednesday, I had the privilege of visiting the Canadian International School in Egypt where I spoke to students from different grades about writing in Egypt and my two books, Melouq and The Lion that Dressed as a Sheep.
The day started with a warm welcome from the elementary school and a presentation to Grades 3 and 4 in the school auditorium. As 135 students looked on, I explained my personal experience writing from the age of nine to where I am today. I entertained questions from the students – many of which I had difficulty answering.
Afterwards, I met with several grade 7 and 8 classes and the grade 12 creative writing class. We discussed writing as a career, the range of opportunities available, and what to keep into consideration. I stumbled through a question on writer’s block that I doubt I answered very satisfactorily. If anyone has found a way to get through it, I’m all ears!
The day ended with a book signing booth in the lobby, where students picked up the book which interested them. It was a wonderful day, and I hope I can meet CISE’s great and curious minds again.
During CAC’s book fair last week, I was asked to introduce my book “The Lion that Dressed as a Sheep” to the elementary students in a story telling session. We sat on comfortable bean bags after school, surrounded by books and holiday decorations.
Further information can be found at this article published by CAC here.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of visiting the American International School in Egypt. I walked onto the beautiful campus with the goal of speaking to the middle school about my debut novel, Melouq. Furthermore, I was informed that it would be the end of reading month at AIS, so anything I could add about the importance of reading or writing would be much appreciated.
Personally, I knew the perceived (and actual) challenges of writing a novel, so I wanted to explain that even with setbacks, anyone with something to say could become a writer, and eventually an author.
I read what I considered was one of my first stories “If I Were the Sun” to demonstrate what my writing was like at the age of 9. Later, I also read an excerpt from Melouq. Upon finishing it, I asked the audience which was better and received mixed replies.
I have to admit I was slightly disappointed, though not completely surprised.
The questions at the end were plentiful, and I was impressed with the audience. I hope I may be able to visit them again.
Yesterday marked the date of the first book signing of Dina Elabd’s debut book, Melouq. After initially being released online via Amazon Kindle Stores, Melouq is officially for sale in Diwan bookstores across Cairo.
The event was generously hosted by Diwan bookstores in their spacious branch in Maadi, Cairo. First, a short summary of the book was explained, and an excerpt of the book was read. The event concluded with questions about the inspiration behind the YA adventure and mystery novel set in Egypt.
The 35th IBBY International Congress came to an end, and I’m sure all attendees can agree that it was a great success and that they will miss New Zealand. The complete list of IBBY honor list books are presented in a video here.
A great deal of interesting talks and seminars were held. What stands out were talks by Sir Richard Taylor, producer of Lord of the Rings, Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia, Leigh Hobbs, author of Mr. Chicken Lands on London, and many more. Librarians from Australia and New Zealand explained new techniques they used to encourage children to read such as categorizing books according to interest like pets or football. The amount of research and information about the development of children’s literature was incredible.
The 5 day conference concluded with a Gala dinner where all 500 attendees from around the world were in attendance. It was a real pleasure to have the Hans Christian Anderson Award Winner, Chinese Cao Wenxuan, give his remarkable acceptance speech. The winning illustrator, German Rotraut Susanne Berner was regrettably not in attendance, but sent a beautiful, personally illustrated video for all of us to watch as her acceptance speech.
All IBBY member states signed off the week by voting on changes in author and illustrator dossier content and submission requirements. Further details will be announced on the IBBY official site.
Here is a slideshow with a few snapshots of the conference. Enjoy!