WAM Sharjah, 5 Dec. 2010 (WAM) — Sharjah-based Kalimat Publishing House, the award-winning publisher of high quality Arabic children’s books, has announced that the recently published young adult novel Faten, written by award-winning author Fatima Sharafeddine, has been named �Best Book’ at the 54th Arab Beirut Book Fair.

Faten is Fatima’s first young adult novel that traces the metamorphosis of young and hardworking Faten from an immature inward looking young teenager to an outward looking mature adult who works tirelessly to improve her position in life.

The announcement was made on the first day of the Fair – the oldest, most established and most prestigious book fair in the Arab region – which is being held at the Beirut International Exhibition and Leisure Center (BIEL) from 3 to 16 December 2010. Sharafeddine received the award on behalf of Kalimat. Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and CEO of Kalimat, will be visiting the Beirut Book Fair on the weekend to check on Kalimat’s stand and to participate in the celebration of the winning book.

Set against the backdrop of the Lebanese civil war in Beirut, Faten tells the story of a young teenager set on excelling at school but who has her normal life disrupted by the war. Forced to leave her village to work as a maid in the city, Faten confronts several difficult situations that she manages to overcome with her wit, ambition and the aid of a few supportive friends. This compelling story is the saga of her ultimate escape from these bonds to achieve the life she always dreamt of.

Speaking of the award, Sheikha Bodour said, “The Beirut Book Fair is a very prestigious international event, and the longest-running one in the region, making this award a particularly great honour. Fatima Sharafeddine is an extremely talented author, and we are delighted to have someone who clearly cares so much about Arabic children’s literature working with us at Kalimat.” “Faten is a highly moving and contemporary story set in wartime Beirut that deals with typical teenage issues, including conflicts with parents, refusal to follow traditional social norms, forbidden love, and friendship. The novel is highly deserving of this award, and I am confident that Ms Sharafeddine’s work will continue to attract international attention and accolades, and that this, in turn, will help bring literature to our children and help engender in them a life-long love of reading.” Fatima Sharafeddine is one of the most prominent contemporary authors of Arabic children’s literature. Born in Beirut in 1966, over the last five years, Sharafeddine has written and published more than 45 books, mainly for children under 12 years old, and translated several others from English and French into Arabic.

She has also won a number of awards, including the National Committee of the Lebanese Child’s best book award for Mountain Rooster in 2007, and in 2009 her book There is War in my City was included on the honour list of the Anna Lindh Foundation. Sharafeddine was also shortlisted both this year and last year for the most prestigious prize in children’s literature – the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

Kalimat is the first publishing house in the UAE dedicated solely to publishing and distributing high-quality Arabic books for children aged 0 to 16 years. With a portfolio of internationally acclaimed authors and illustrators, Kalimat’s extensive range of books highlights traditional Arabic culture alongside the modern challenges faced by today’s children, with the aims of engendering a life-long love of reading and Arabic literature among Arab children.


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