The Khaleejesque team continually ponders with the barrage of research, commercial trends, and click bait articles that have called ‘time of death’ on our respective field of publishing. With our collected knowledge, network, and experience in what is seemingly a “dying field,” we set to formulate our own research more focused on the MENA publishing scene on a global scale—namely, niche and independent publishing platforms, whether print or online, founded and staffed by young Arabs and Muslims from around the world. 

As a platform that strives to amplify the voices of creatives and activists alike, we are dedicated to sharing our findings on a burgeoning field amongst creatives of the MENA region and beyond. As traditional publishing houses increasingly diminish, these independent platforms are paving the way for a new movement—heralding a cultural paradigm shift towards an egalitarian voice in publishing far from the constraints of traditional print and online media.

As a result, we’ve published a MENA Indie Zines and Platforms feature which can be accessed here.

In addition we’ve reached out to individual Zines who have shared with us their intricate workings and their missions and visions for their platform.  

These are collective answers from the team at Sumou Magazine. 

by Khawla Almarzooqi
  • About the Platform:

We have received nothing but positive feedback ever since we established Sumou. The opportunities that came our way were and are never-ending. We intended for it to be an online scrapbook, a little virtual bubble outside the toxicity within social media platforms, and we managed to successfully do that through highlighting young voices and talents. Our journey has been nothing but beautiful and we’re growing every day.

  • Content: what is your publication concerned with and what kind of content does it feature?

Sumou is an online magazine by + for creative youth. We amplify their voices through showcasing their means of self-expression (and whatever that lies in-between). We publish two themed issues per year and push the general submissions to our website, which is moderated every day. In it, we ensure that our site is a safe platform for youth, where it serves as a direct projection to the adolescent experience. We give youth the spotlight that other platforms may suppress due to the requirement of former experiences, however at Sumou, everyone has a chance to express themselves. We always say, “voice your thoughts and keep creating”. 

Sumou Magazine cover art
  • The team behind the platform: 

For two years, it has been a one-woman show. Jood AlThukair, the founding editor-in-chief, had been in charge of editing, proofreading, publishing, networking, commissioning, and web designing all on her own. Recently, we hired three new editors to help us enhance the quality of the work we publish. Rania Dawud, our opinion editor, Tasneem Maher, our fiction editor, and Zeina Jhaish, our poetry editor, are now all in charge of editing and proofreading the submissions before they get sent to publication. The four of us are a dream team and are so passionate about highlighting young voices.

We leave this to the freedom of our contributors. Each time, it’s a different contributor that writes/illustrates/photographs a submission. We think it’s important to give young creatives the freedom to explore and experiment with what they love doing, so we give them the space to do that. We really admire their passion.

Lani Pierre
  • Work Space:

The good part in being an online platform is that we can recruit contributors from around the world and not worry about physical distance. None of the four members have actually met together, yet we work harmoniously. Everything revolving around Sumou is moderated online, so being in the same location does not matter.

Sumou Magazine content

Images courtesy of Sumou Magazine.

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