Members of the Qatari Authors’ Forum have intensified, since the beginning of the home quarantine, their cultural activities in order to invest time in purposeful reading and cultural production and encourage those interested in culture to stay at home by presenting a rich and varied cultural material. A group of members presented new initiatives while others remotely continued their activities that they started before the crisis.
Among the initiatives that have continued and intensified in the current situation is the activity of the “Baitul Rawy Salon” created and managed by writer Rasha Sunbul, a member of the forum, since October 2018. The salon discusses literary novels, after choosing one by the members, and the meeting takes place once a month.
With the development of recent events, a novel, “A hundred years of isolation,” was discussed remotely for the first time via the Zoom application on March 28. Contrary to usual, and for breaking the immobility accompanying the Corona crisis the meetings were held once a week instead of once a month. Two novels were presented per week over the course of April. Novels discussed are the Museum of Innocence, Men in the Sun, Mayhood and the Fairy, Eastern Mediterranean, The Beggar, Utopia, Half-Yellow Sun, Hero of this Time.
Return to the normal system of discussions, which is meeting once a month, beginning in May. The novel (Little Death) was discussed through the Zoom application on Saturday, May 16.
Dr. Hashem El-Sayed recently converted his “Al-Khattab” novel into an audio version,
which is a novel published by Dar Al-Wedad and is in 156 pages of medium size. The novel presents the story of a girl who has lived a traditional life in her family’s home since childhood, and then her life is witnessing exciting transformations that make her lose everything.
Dr. Hashem El-Sayed said, “This is not the first time that I have converted one of my books into an audiobook. The previous audiobook was of my novel “The Saga of Sakhra”, supported by some pictures that help the viewer follow and deepen his thoughts. This audiobook has won more than 150,000 views so far. as for my novel “Rhetoric” and after its success through paper publishing, I have also worked on converting it to an audiobook. The same is currently being done to my novel “Our family without an heir.” The motive behind this is the popularity audiobooks are gaining, as it does not need to devote time to reading. Rather, one can continue with his book while going to work, driving, or doing other work by downloading it to a smartphone, tablet, computer, or any other device that possesses such properties, along with the effect of sound which makes the person more attentive and alert than when he is reading a book or a novel. Now, in the crises of the “Coronavirus,” audible books can become an opportunity to open to a more spacious world and benefit from the time spent in quarantine.
Mr. Muhammad Al-Shabrawi, member of the forum, continues the “Konnasha” initiative, which focuses on the Arabic language and literary heritage and on building a communication bridge between today’s youth and their immortal heritage. The initiative has provided about 80 seminars and lectures in Arabic literature since its launch, as well as a number of free training workshops in Arabic grammar, rhetoric, logic, journalistic and creative writing, and voice skills. This initiative communicates remotely through the social networking sites of Mr. Al-Shabrawi. Each time he provides useful information to young people for improving the level of their writing and pronunciation of the Arabic language. This initiative has presented a number of purposeful workshops in cooperation with the Qatar Author’s Forum on more than one occasion, the most important of which is the Doha International Book Fair, in its thirtieth episode.