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French Version


Lebanese wins award for young publishers

The creative director of a Lebanese publishing house was awarded the British Council's 2006 International Young Publisher of the Year Award at the prestigious London Book Fair on March 6. Joanna al-Mir, 33, of Samir Editeur, said that the award was secondary to the opportunity she had as one of nine finalists from around the world to tour the U.K.'s publishing industry and establish contacts there.

"We had access to all the major publishing houses and the opportunity to ask all the questions we had been wondering about," she said. "What we discovered was that most of the time we did the same thing but on different levels and in a different market."

Mir and the other finalists were able to discuss common problems such as copyright infringement, an issue Mir said was of particular concern for her company, which specializes in children's literature and textbooks.

The award is locally administered by the Creative Industries Project in Lebanon, which was launched in 2004 by the British Council in connection with the Lebanese Association for the Development of Private Funding for Culture.

The project aims to encourage the country's creative economy by presenting awards in the fields of publishing, music and design to promising young entrepreneurs between the ages of 25 and 35.

Each of the awards coincides with a major industry event in the U.K., so that finalists have the opportunity to network with major international partners and bring innovative ideas back to their home countries.

"There are not a lot of awards like this in Lebanon, at least not for creative entrepreneurship," said Fatme Masri, projects coordinator of the British Council in Lebanon. "Lebanon must realize that all these industries can contribute to the socio-economic development of the country."

Mir said creative fields in Lebanon are often undervalued, and the award will increase exposure.

"Publishing really needs a boost; it's in the corner, especially for young people who don't realize they can make a living illustrating children's books," Mir said.

Beirut 27-03-2006
Meris Lutz
The Daily Star



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