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Bodour al Qasimi, the head of Sharjah’s Kalimat publishing house, gave a rousing explanation of why her company has entered into a publishing partnership with the esteemed French publisher Gallimard, the latest in a series of partnerships that Kalimat has established in recent years.

Speaking at the Salon du Livre in Paris, which wraps up on Monday (19 March) she said: “While we are pleased with the return on investment in all our partnerships, that isn’t necessarily the reason we are doing this.  It’s more about opening new markets for us and our belief that this is an important thing to do.  We need these partnerships more than ever at the moment.  We live in a world where there is much misunderstanding of other cultures and both ourselves and Gallimard believe that reaching children is an important way of spreading understanding of other countries.”

Bodour was talking at a panel session with Gallimard President Hedwige Pasquet on the subject of partnerships with local publishers.  The session was moderated by Paris-based journalist, Olivia Snaige of Bookwitty.  Both speakers expressed admiration for the other’s companies, based on mutual respect and dialogue.

The partnership between the two companies will see each house publishing around 10 of the other house’s titles. Kalimat has just published the first graphic novel version of Antoine de Saint-Expery’s much-loved classic The Little Prince, and Gallimard has just taken Kalimat’s Les Oiseaux d’Adel.