Exploring the Middle East


Organiser: Publishers Association - rsvp@publishers.org.uk

Venue: Online , Virtual

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Exploring the Middle East is the second in our series of webinars for publishers. In recent years, publishers have visited the region to participate in the two-day SIBF Publishers Conference held just before the Sharjah International Book Fair each November. They have also attended as part of the 2017 UK Guest of Honour programme at the Sharjah Book Fair and the 2012 Country Focus programme at the Abu Dhabi Book Fair.

The Middle East provides an opportunity for members to grow their export business with rights sales and exports in trade and academic publishing, as well as the increasing number of book fairs and fellowship programmes. Learn more about the region from our expert speakers on the state of publishing, distribution, retail and rights.

This event is delivered by the Publishers Association and attendance is free for members.

If you are not a member of the Publishers Association, the fee is £30 (excluding tax), which you can redeem against the cost of your membership if you join the Publishers Association within 90 days of the webinar taking place. If you’d like to find out more about membership, get in touch: membership@publishers.org.uk


Bill Kennedy, Director of Avicenna Partnership Ltd, UK

Avicenna Partnership Ltd is a UK-based company which acts in the capacity of sales agents and rights brokers, working on behalf of UK, USA and European publishers of academic, professional, reference and scholarly product exclusively in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Bill Kennedy held a number of posts in international publishers, book distribution companies and consultancy roles before creating Avicenna in January 2003. His connection to the MENA region dates back to 1979 and since then he has travelled extensively throughout the region… until the travel restrictions were imposed by the pandemic in March 2020. By his own admission, Beirut has always been one of his “favourite city on the planet”, a view formed not only by the beauty of Lebanon and its hugely strong publishing, book distribution and cultural footprint but also because of the dynamism, talent, warmth and kindness of the people he meets – many of whom he regards as friends.

“When news of the catastrophic devastation caused by the blast and shockwave which destroyed Port de Beyrouth and seriously damaged much of the city on August 4th 2020, words of comfort and support to my friends there was simply not going to be enough … I absolutely had to DO something”.

Bill Kennedy set up a crowdfunding initiative, Our friends in Beirut, to help people in the publishing and book distribution communities locally recover from the devastation.

Lynette Owen, Lynette Owen Consulting

Lynette Owen worked at Cambridge University Press, Pitman Publishing and Marshall Cavendish before spending most of her publishing career at Pearson Education, latterly as Copyright Director. She now works as a freelance copyright and rights consultant and runs regular training courses in the UK and abroad, including courses for UAE publishers and has been a regular visitor to the Abu Dhabi and Sharjah book fairs. She is the author of Selling Rights (8/e, Routledge, 2019) and is the General Editor of Clark’s Publishing Agreements (10/e, Bloomsbury Professional 2017, 11/e in preparation). She was awarded the London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 and an OBE for services to publishing and international trade in 2009.