Qatar Foundation realigns publishing house to form Hamad bin Khalifa University Press

Press release
Published December 23rd, 2015 - 06:34 GMT

Following a successful seven-year partnership with Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) is to launch its own publishing house called Hamad bin Khalifa University Press (HBKU Press). The move marks the evolution of publishing in Qatar and will expand the nation’s capabilities while continuing to serve the objectives of disseminating knowledge and nurturing literary and artistic production at home and across the region. HBKU Press will publish children’s books, fiction, academic, and education books in both English and Arabic.

Created in 2008, Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation (BQF), was a partnership between the two entities and included under its umbrella both a publishing house and an academic research publisher, Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP) and Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Journals (BQFJ), respectively.

The joint initiative was set up to play a role in achieving QF’s mission to unlock human potential and foster an engaged society that is interested in life-long learning and research; while also helping to establish a vibrant literary culture in Qatar in a bid to transform the nation from a carbon-based economy to a knowledge-based one.

Having achieved its purpose by establishing a strong publishing framework in Qatar, both entities recently agreed to end their successful partnership.  This progression of BQFP to HBKU Press will continue to provide a unique local and international platform for Arabic and English language literature, literacy, scholarship, research, discovery and learning.

In a statement, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc said: “As indicated in our Interim Statement in October, the contracts for Bloomsbury to provide Qatar Foundation with publishing services to enable knowledge transfer to QF to have a self-sufficient publishing company reach the end of their term this month. We are now handing over to the strong local team we developed having completed this mission, who will continue to publish on the foundations established. QF now has the tools, knowledge and experience to take the reins and fully run its publishing house.”

HBKU Press will continue the tradition of releasing books of excellence and originality, promoting the love of reading and writing and transferring publishing and related skills to Qatar through regular internships and secondments.

During its tenure, BQFP published more than 200 titles in fiction, non-fiction, art, academics, and business for an audience of adults and young children alike. The partnership also introduced ‘Ready, Steady, Read’, a pilot training programme with hands-on activities for developing an active and stimulating school library.

Among its other successes, BQFP authors were honoured with international literary awards, including the First Book Award by the Edinburgh International Festival of Literature and the High Commendation by the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation.

In November 2015, BQFP won Best Story from the Arab World’s premier children’s literature prize, the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature. It was also shortlisted for the prestigious International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Furthermore, the seven-year partnership produced numerous initiatives geared towards helping writers hone their skills such as an eight-week Arab writer’s residency programme which was held in London, in partnership with the Delfina Foundation.

HBKU Press will also take on the work of BQFJ, which was responsible for launching the Middle East’s first open access, academic research platform, QScience.com. Since early 2011 it has been home to a variety of research journals covering law, design, public health, cardiology, education, family research, and healthcare. Not only are all articles peer-reviewed, they are freely available for use and re-use online under a Creative Commons licence. Uniquely, each article has its abstract translated in Arabic.

BQFJ also used its QScience platform to provide a home to the proceedings of many conferences held in Qatar, making them citeable and archived for future generations.

More recently BQFJ expanded into academic publishing, with a wide range of freely-available books online covering subjects such as psychology, migrant worker rights, Islamic finance, and archaeology.

HBKU Press will forge towards a future of producing its own notable achievements while continuing to uphold international standards of publishing and maintaining the highest level of quality and production. It will also provide an enhanced offering for print, e-books and digital open access and will incorporate BQFJ and its established work in peer-reviewed, online academic publishing. 

Background Information

Qatar Foundation

Qatar Foundation (QF) is a non-profit organization made up of more than 50 entities working in education, research, and community development.

Our unique ecosystem—supported by partnerships with leading international institutions—is built on initiatives that address our most pressing challenges, create global opportunities, and empower people to shape our present and future.

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