C O N T E N T S :
< Arab Writers Focus on Life's Big Questions
< Europe Forum Results in Strategic Marketing Tool
< Connect with MAI
< Homegrown Literature Just Makes Sense
< Join Hands with MAI: Your gifts will double
< MAI in 2011
< Celebrating 25 Years
There's no comparison to my mom's homemade apple pie when I get a craving. Likewise, there's no substitute for homegrown books and articles to fill the hunger of a reader's soul.
In this issue, we land in Beirut where writers cooked up original manuscripts to suit the tastes of Middle Eastern readers. This year our trainers are traveling around the world to help end the global famine of homegrown literature.
We wish you a blessed 2011, with a reading buffet that delights, challenges and transforms you.
-Dawn Herzog Jewell, Editor
Arab Writers Focus on Life's Big Questions
by Dr. Miriam Adeney
"Who are you, God? Tell me before my son is old enough to talk. Otherwise I will conclude that you are not there."
Abdul's* story riveted the 12 other Arab Christian writers at a workshop in Lebanon November 10th to 14th. Disillusioned with religion, Abdul had given it up. But when his son was born, he faced a crisis. As he cradled the precious child, he asked, "What will I tell you about the purpose of life? And about the ultimate framework of the universe?"
From a friend’s neighbor, Abdul borrowed a New Testament. He opened Matthew, and read, "Love your enemies." By the end of the book, Jesus became his Lord. Many adventures followed, eventually leading him to our writer workshop where he crafted gospel thoughts for his people.
Other book manuscripts focused on parenting, child protection against abuse, environmentalism and reflections on books of the Bible. Novels and children's books spiced the mix. All are being written in the Arabic language.
Ophir Publishers in Jordan initiated this workshop and the Christian Arab Writers’ Initiative, a three-year training program with MAI to equip talented writers in the Middle East. The best manuscripts will be published.
Participants from Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon served up opinions to co-trainer Mark Carpenter and myself before quieting to take up pens and laptops. Teachings about a theology of culture, biblical worldview, and the stories of biblical writers particularly were appreciated.
Writers lodged at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, thanks to the local coordination of Sawsan Tannoury, director of Dar Manhal al Hayat publishing house.
"Who are you, God?" Abdul’s question echoes across this region. More than 300 million Arabs worldwide deserve compelling answers that make sense. In this workshop, writers sharpened creative responses.
*Name changed for security precautions.
Photo courtesy Fadi Hallisso
Europe Forum Results in Strategic Marketing Tool
Publishers at the MAI-Europe Publishing Forum last September created plans for BRIEF, a shared online catalogue that showcases best new titles by local authors. This strategic marketing tool will enable publishers to expand their audience across Europe and beyond. MAI is working with web developers now to create this new catalogue.
More than 60 delegates representing 20 countries attended the September 6th to 10th Forum in England. The theme, "Maximizing The Market in times of Crisis and Change," challenged participants to face future opportunities with enthusiasm and confidence.
"It was the best time of my life, to be there and to talk with all of you," said Ukrainian publisher Vitalii Dobroshtan.
>>View photos of the Forum on facebook
Homegrown Literature Just Makes Sense
On a recent snowy day in Chicago, I interviewed a potential college intern, explaining the need for locally authored Christian materials in hard places of the world.
The intern looked thoughtful. "I never considered that, but it makes sense," she said. "I like MAI’s vision for developing literature in the heart language of readers."
Others have voiced similar surprise. They weren’t aware of the shortage of "homegrown" Christian books and articles in many countries and cultures. Then, they hear someone like Congolese author Benjamin Kisoni
, and the need crystallizes.
"Books coming to Africa from Western countries are scarce and expensive, and often less relevant to our context," Kisoni said at MAI’s 25th anniversary celebration.
"At school I read books describing snow, its color and beauty. Not until I came to the U.S. at age 50 did I see snow. My countrymen have yet to see the snow, but they are still reading the same books and learning the same examples!"
The over-abundance of imported books creates another image of "whiteness," the mistaken idea that Christianity is a Western religion.
"I thank MAI for its focus on the African continent," Kisoni added. "Christian writings have the power to touch lives and transform an entire society.
"Publishing is one of the most efficient ways to touch Africa for God’s glory."
In 2011, MAI will equip Christian publishing staff and writers not only in Africa, but also the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Latin America. With God’s help and your partnership, we are helping to end the famine of homegrown
Christian literature in the hard places of the world.
J O H N M A U S T
P R E S I D E N T
Join Hands with MAI:
Your gifts will double
Every dollar, pound, euro, peso or other currency you give may be doubled, thanks to a generous foundation. Help us end the famine of global Christian literature.
>> Learn more.
>> Give online. It's easy.
Photo courtesy Michael Collie
MAI in 2011
Kenya - February
Publishing Training Institute
Bulgaria - April
Fiction writing workshop
Southeast Asia - April
Editor and writer training
Argentina - July
Design and editor training
Middle East - To be announced
Second training for Arab Christian writers
Mongolia - September
Hong Kong, China - November
MAI-Asia Publishing Forum
Celebrating 25 Years
MAI celebrated 25 years of ministry on October 21. More than 100 people attended the international dessert celebration in Wheaton, Illinois, featuring keynote speaker Jerry Jenkins and Congolese author Benjamin Kisoni.
Pictured above from left: Jay and Julie Link, Dr. Richard Schultz, Anna Pugsley and Lisa Haskin. Photo courtesy Carol Nevin