Qais Sedki with his Manga novel The Gold Ring. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Despite being an information technology specialist, he did not stay up night after night thinking about servers and their quirks, he instead looked to find his true passion — Manga novels.

And graphic novel lovers were given a treat yesterday when the creator of the UAE's first Manga novel, Qais Sedki, was on hand to share his thoughts and experiences about working on his piece, The Gold Ring.

"Actually, I studied information technology and worked in that field for over eight years but in the last three years or so, I began having doubts that it was my true passion.

"I mean, I'm good with computers but it's not like I had sleepless nights thinking about servers or anything like that," Sedki said, laughing.

So the Emirati IT specialist began looking around to see just where his true calling was and discovered it in the most unlikely place.

"I love Manga, anything Japanese actually. Even though I was still searching for my passion, I knew that I also wanted to make an impact. And soon, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do something for children. So I began working on The Gold Ring, which wasn't easy but it paid off.

"I received a message from a girl on my Facebook page, which really touched me. She said that she had never seen her brothers read anything that wasn't required until they began reading The Gold Ring. The graphic novel not only caused them to become interested in reading again, but because the main character has a falcon they became interested in falconry as well," he said.

Another reason Sedki also chose to write The Gold Ring was because he felt that more could be done to create interest about Emirati culture and heritage.

"It's not that our culture is uncool or not engaging but it seems that the effort is not there, or it's there but is somehow misguided so I decided to try my hand at creating that interest, instead of just sitting back and just talking about how there's not enough effort going into preserving our culture," Sedki said.

"I'm also critical of a lot of things that are being done to catch children's interest. It's not enough to just tell them ‘you have to be brave' and so on. You have show them a situation where the character acts bravely so they understand," he added.

The Emirati author is now in the process of translating the first part of his series into English while also working on the second book in Arabic.

"I'm translating the first book in my series into English for the local market," he said.

"I'm also struggling with distributing my books here. Part of that is on purpose because it takes a long time to create a graphic novel and in half an hour you're done reading it. But at the same time, I really didn't want to annoy the audience because there's a huge cliffhanger in the first book and I didn't want to keep them waiting too long," he said.

Stand closed down

The management of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair has shut down the stand of a publishing house participating in the fair for breaking copyright law.

Al Mass Publishing House was shut down and blacklisted for five years for selling CDs and educational material without following copyright laws, which is contrary to the fair's conditions. "As the violation was proven and the publisher admitted to the violation, we closed down the stand immediately," Juma Al Qubasi, Director of the Fair, said.