Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press is a world-class publishing house founded on the best international practices, excellence, and innovation. HBKU Press strives to be a cornerstone of Qatar’s knowledge-based economy by providing a unique local and international platform for literature, literacy, scholarship, discovery, and learning. Headquartered in Doha, Qatar, HBKU Press aims to promote the love of reading and writing by helping to establish a vibrant literary culture in Qatar and the Middle East and to cultivate new talent in the region. We recently spoke with HBKU Press to find out more.
When did you launch?
HBKU Press originally launched in 2010 as Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP). Following a successful partnership which oversaw the publication of nearly 200 Arabic and English titles, we evolved as a publishing house and re-launched as HBKU Press in January 2016.
What was the inspiration behind the publishing house?
Prior to our launch, there was no world-class publishing house in Qatar, and only a few in the wider region that were producing high-quality, original books, in both Arabic and English, that reflected the creativity from Qatar and MENA. Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser realized that this void existed and BQFP was born. To accompany that, we strove to establish a vibrant literary culture in Qatar, and the region, by supporting emerging Arab voices, boosting established authors, and promoting the love of reading and writing amongst both children and adults.
Furthermore, the re-launch of HBKU Press signaled the beginning of the first university press in Qatar. With over twenty university campuses and research institutes combined, Qatar is a hub for education and research. The university press supports these three arenas by publishing academic books, scholarly articles, and original research worldwide.
What kind of books do you offer?
We offer both Arabic and English language titles in adult fiction, non-fiction, young adult, and children’s from over 180 authors from the region and beyond. As a university press, we also offer academic titles as well as original research and articles in a number of academic journals.
What’s your selection process?
Everything starts with the submission process; we receive writers’ manuscripts in Arabic and English, those are reviewed by our editorial team and are selected if they carry literary, educational, or commercial weight. Alongside that, we pair the authors with illustrators or cover designers that best represent their words as images and draw in potential readers.
Where can people shop from?
Our books are available at bookshops across the globe and can be ordered on Amazon.
What’s the future of HBKU Press?
Because publishing is a relatively new industry in Qatar, it is important for us to provide support and opportunities for aspiring writers and illustrators in the region to be exposed to residencies, workshops, and networking opportunities that nurture the community.
Since we transitioned into a university press, we aim to become a household name associated with quality writing and research that engages the Arab world yet has global reach.