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The winners of the second edition of the Sharjah Rights Connection Award were announced during a ceremony at the 13th Publishers Conference, recognising the invaluable contributions of publishing rights professionals striving to make an impact in the industry. 


HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, CEO of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), accompanied by Mansour Al Hassani, Director of Publishers Services Department presented the awards for the two categories. Elina Harutyunyan, Head of Publishing at Antares Publishing in Armenia, was presented the award in the individual professionals selling translation rights in publishing houses category. Her tireless efforts to expand the reach of literature to international audiences and dedication to the translation movement has significantly enriched the global literary landscape by bringing Armenian voices and narratives to readers around the world.


In the independent professionals working with agencies specialised in selling book rights to publishers and licensors category, the award was presented to Yasmina Jraissati, founder and director of the Raya Agency in Lebanon. Jraissati’s agency has not only successfully sold translation rights for numerous clients but has also played a pivotal role in facilitating cross-cultural literary exchanges. Her commitment to fostering collaboration between authors and international publishers has made a substantial impact on the accessibility of diverse voices in the publishing sector. 


Attendees were also witness to WIPO’s ABC Accessibility in Publishing Award, organised by  the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC), marking its debut in the Middle East at the Sharjah Publishers Conference. This award, through a video presentation, honoured individuals and initiatives pivotal in enhancing content accessibility for people with disabilities, highlighting inclusivity in publishing.


The ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing acknowledged leaders in both publishing and project initiatives, showcasing outstanding contributions in improving access to e-books and digital publications for the visually impaired and print-disabled. The selection panel, comprising accessibility experts, based their decisions on criteria such as content availability in accessible formats, integration of accessibility standards, supply chain collaborations, innovative practices, and positive impacts on those with disabilities.


The awards featured three categories with the Publishers Award going to Hegas from Sweden, the Accessible Reading Award being received by Chetana Charitable Trust in India, and finally a Special Commendation Award being awarded to UAE’s Kalimat Foundation.