Sharjah – MENA Herald: As the UAE celebrates 2016, the Year of Reading, Noura Al Noman, Emirati children and Young Adult author, has launched ‘Makhtoota 5229’ – the first Emirati publishing house dedicated to producing Arabic content in science fiction and fantasy.

Based in Sharjah and taking its name from the Arabic word for ‘manuscript,’ Makhtoota 5229 will publish and translate novels in the rarer genres in the Arab world: science fiction, fantasy, and historical myths. Featuring elements of suspense, paranormal mystery and supernatural phenomena, Makhtoota 5229’s body of work aims to attract adolescents and young people to reading and ignite their passion for discovery.

“We are delighted to launch Makhtoota 5229, which is in line with UAE’s vision to celebrate and promote reading. This will introduce young readers to literary works that broaden their minds, develop their imagination and increase their desire to learn about the unknown, particularly in the realm of science fiction and mysterious history. We believe that this new dedicated publishing house is a welcome addition to Sharjah’s publishing landscape, which enjoys significant stature in the region’s publishing industry,” said Noura Al Noman, Founder and CEO of Makhtoota 5229.

“Makhtoota 5229 is the first Emirati publishing house dedicated to publishing science fiction, fantasy, horror and paranormal stories. Our selection of this genre stems from our desire to help fill a gap in Arabic literature. Through this ndeavor we hope to stimulate minds and support creativity, innovation and invention in young people, inspiring them in the same way that many prominent scientists have been inspired by science fiction,” she added.

Al Noman explained that Makhtoota 5229 was named after a 10th century manuscript, when Abbasid Caliph Al Muqtadir sent his envoy Ahmed Ibn Fadlan Al Baghdadi to the King of Volga, Bulgaria. During his travels, Al Baghdadi met a diversity of cultures with exotic lifestyles and wrote his observations in a 420-page manuscript, which is now displayed at Turkish Museum under the title ‘MS5229.’ She said that the new publishing house is named in honour of this rare work and that its logo uses the word ‘Makhtoota’ exactly as hand-written by Al Baghdadi on the original manuscript.

Makhtoota 5229 has already launched two books since its inception. The first, ‘Writing Fight Scenes’ by Rayne Hall is a guidebook that primarily targets novelists, offering them methodologies for writing plausible fight scenes. The book reveals that writing a fiction story is something that doesn’t rely on talent alone but can be an effectively learned process.

The new publishing house’s second translated book, ‘Ancillary Justice’ is the first in the ‘Imperial Radch’ series by Ann Leckie. This science fiction trilogy takes the reader into a vast alien world, engaging them with fascinating themes that combine humans and machinery in a completely new concept.

Noura Al Noman is the first successful Emirati science fiction writer. Her debut novel ‘Ajwan’ was published in 2012 and won the Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature for ‘Best Young Adult Book’ in 2013. The talented author had written illustrated books for children, namely ‘Qutta Qutna, ‘Kunfuth Kiwi’ and ‘Shamsa Wal Sushi.’ Al Noman followed with book 2 of Ajwan, titled ‘Mandaan,’ also published by Egypt’s Nahdet Misr in 2014.
Information about the newly launched Makhtoota 5229 and its publications can be found on: www.ms5229.com. The house’s productions can be purchased through online stores such as E-kutub.com and Neelwafurat.com.