Sharjah, November 03, 2023 : Sharjah Literary Agency (SLA), the first-of-its-kind in the Arab region dedicated to the promotion of Arabic literature, brought together some of the world’s leading literary agents at the ongoing 42nd Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) for a dialogue to enlighten and inform publishing and creative industry stakeholders in the Middle East. During SLA’s participation, they informed and inspired attendees on ways they can create quality content while protecting their rights as well as their intellectual property and creative assets in a tech-driven world.
The evolving role of literary agents in the digital era
During a panel discussion on Thursday, SLA Director, Tamer Said offered a comprehensive overview of the ever-evolving role of literary agents in the digital age. He was joined by London-based literary agent Sophie Hicks, who represents New York Times and Sunday Times bestsellers on both adult and children’s lists, and is a member of The Book Society and Women in Publishing; and Yasmina Jreissati, founder and director of Raya Agency from Lebanon who provided valuable insights into the changing landscape of the publishing world and the opportunities presented by the digital era.
Commenting on the role of literary agents within the market, the SLA Director stated, “Embracing the digital age is a necessity for literary agents and our role as intermediaries in the literary world is also evolving. We must adapt, innovate, and continue to champion the power of storytelling. A large aspect regarding the future of publishing is digital, although there will always be a market for traditional books, and we, as literary agents, are the bridge between authors and readers in this ever-changing landscape.”
Fostering connections with Arab writers
SLA also extended a warm welcome to local and Arab writers by hosting a reception during the book fair, offering a platform for the literary community to become acquainted with SLA and its wide range of services, facilitate knowledge exchange and bring diverse voices together.
By acquainting writers with SLA and its array of services, the agency not only supports and empowers writers but also fosters a sense of community within the Arab literary sphere. These connections serve as bridges, allowing stories and perspectives to reach a broader, international audience, promoting a dialogue that goes beyond words on a page.
Sharjah Publishers Conference: SLA facilitates important roundtable session
In the lead-up to SIBF, Tamer Said led a roundtable discussion at the Sharjah Publishers Conference. This exchange, which primarily focused on Business-to-Business interactions with global publishers and rights holders, explored the prospects of collaborations and deals within the publishing industry. Titled “Buying from the Arab World,” the roundtable was a platform for in-depth discussions about the vast potential in the Arab literary market and proved to be instrumental in creating understanding about the region as well as mediating deals between attendees.
While SLA’s immediate emphasis centres on genres such as fiction, children’s literature, and graphic novels, the agency is deeply dedicated to the diversity of Arabic literature. SLA actively seeks and represents talented authors from across the world, creating a platform for cross-cultural literary exchange, and during SIBF they enhanced their presence in the market.