London’s Al Saqi Books Closes Its Doors End of December

London’s Al Saqi Books Closes Its Doors End of December
TT

London’s Al Saqi Books Closes Its Doors End of December

London’s Al Saqi Books Closes Its Doors End of December

Sad news! London’s Al Saqi Books, which served as a cultural center for 44 years, announced closing its doors on December 31.

The general situation, long lockdowns, and the increasing costs of papers and shipping have aggravated the crisis of libraries, publishers, and everything related to books. Like many victims affected in these fragile professions, especially those working in the field of Arabic books, this esteemed library, which played a central role for Arabs and non-Arabs interested in Arabic books in the UK, has decided to put an end to its journey.

“The various lockdowns and the ensuing breakdown of supply chains negatively impacted many independent businesses, such as ours. But as a specialist Arab-world bookseller sourcing our stock from the Middle East and North Africa, we also had to contend with sharp increases in Arabic-language book prices, shipping charges and exchange rates,” owner Salwa Gaspard told the Bookseller Magazine.

“For me, Al Saqi is more than just a library. I grew up in Al Saqi, my sister and I spent hours playing around books. I was honored to work in it with my parents. We will miss the library but we are looking forward to the next chapter in Al Saqi history from our new location in western London. We are thrilled to bring the best new and classic books from the Arab world to the United Kingdom and other countries within the coming years,” saddened Lyn Gaspard said about the library that her parents co-founded with Mai Ghoussoub.

Al Saqi Books, London, was established in 1979 by friends Mai Ghoussoub and Andre Gaspard, it was the first Arabic library in the UK. In 1982, they opened a special section in the library for English books about the Middle East, and then launched English publishing in 1983. Al Saqi started Arabic publishing in 1987 supported by its strong ties with its readers and other London-based publishers.
Dar Al Saqi publishing was founded in Beirut, in 1991, pledging to promote intellectual innovation and the renaissance of Arabic culture.

It acted as a bridge between the Arabic and western cultures by encouraging dialogue, introducing the western culture to the Arab readers, and showcasing causes that concern the Arabic society in the west.

The Arabic publishing house, which also established “Al Saqi Kids and Youth” in 2012, won many prizes. After its closure in London, Al Saqi is still alive and struggling for survival in Beirut.

“Although Al Saqi is closing its doors in London, its heritage will continue with its two independent publishing houses: Dar Al Saqi for Arabic Publishing (Beirut), and Saqi Books for English publishing in London,” Dar Al Saqi said in a statement.



Kate, Princess of Wales, Says She’s Making ‘Good Progress’ in Cancer Treatment

 Britain's Kate, the Princess of Wales, Patron of The Forward Trust visits HMP High Down in Sutton, England, Sept. 12, 2023, to learn about how the charity is supporting those in the criminal justice system to manage and recover from their addictions. (AP)
Britain's Kate, the Princess of Wales, Patron of The Forward Trust visits HMP High Down in Sutton, England, Sept. 12, 2023, to learn about how the charity is supporting those in the criminal justice system to manage and recover from their addictions. (AP)
TT

Kate, Princess of Wales, Says She’s Making ‘Good Progress’ in Cancer Treatment

 Britain's Kate, the Princess of Wales, Patron of The Forward Trust visits HMP High Down in Sutton, England, Sept. 12, 2023, to learn about how the charity is supporting those in the criminal justice system to manage and recover from their addictions. (AP)
Britain's Kate, the Princess of Wales, Patron of The Forward Trust visits HMP High Down in Sutton, England, Sept. 12, 2023, to learn about how the charity is supporting those in the criminal justice system to manage and recover from their addictions. (AP)

The Princess of Wales said Friday she is “making good progress” in her cancer treatment and will attend Saturday’s royal Trooping the Color ceremony, Kate’s first public appearance since her diagnosis.

The 42-year-old wife of Prince William has not made any public appearances this year. She announced in March that she was undergoing chemotherapy for an unspecified form of cancer.

“I am making good progress, but as anyone going through chemotherapy will know, there are good days and bad days,” Kate said in a statement released Friday, adding that she faces “a few more months” of treatment.

“I’m looking forward to attending The King’s Birthday Parade this weekend with my family and hope to join a few public engagements over the summer, but equally knowing I am not out of the woods yet,” Kate said.

The announcement is a significant milestone, but does not mark a return to full-time public duties for Kate.

Trooping the Color, also known as the King’s Birthday Parade, is an annual military parade that marks the monarch’s official birthday in June. King Charles III, who also is being treated for an undisclosed form of cancer, is due to oversee the ceremony, in which troops in full dress uniform parade past the king with their ceremonial flag, or “color.”

Kate is expected to travel in a horse-drawn carriage from Buckingham Palace with the couple’s children — Prince George, 10; Princess Charlotte, 9; and Prince Louis, who is 6 — before watching the ceremony from a building beside the parade ground. She may also join other royals for a traditional Buckingham Palace balcony appearance.

Kate’s announcement in March came after speculation proliferated on social media about her well-being and absence from public view. She has revealed few details about her illness, which was discovered after what she described as major abdominal surgery in January.

In a March video message, Kate said the diagnosis had come as “a huge shock, and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family.”

On Friday Kate thanked members of the public, saying she had been “blown away by all the kind messages of support and encouragement.”

“I am learning how to be patient, especially with uncertainty. Taking each day as it comes, listening to my body, and allowing myself to take this much needed time to heal,” she said. “Thank you so much for your continued understanding, and to all of you who have so bravely shared your stories with me.”

Charles, 75, disclosed his cancer in February, and has recently eased back into public duties. He attended commemorations this week for the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe on June 6, 1944.

Charles is likely to travel to Saturday’s event by carriage with Queen Camilla and is expected to watch the ceremony seated on a dais, rather than on horseback as he did last year.