Disrupt!/Books!/ in Amman: disruptive ideathon for a publishing start-up

February 24, 2015

Do you want your book to be published? Do you have a disruptive idea for a publishing start-up? Maybe it is a book idea that you believe readers all over the Middle East are waiting for? Or maybe it is a new app that allows for dynamic reading of Arabic eBooks? It could even be a web platform to distribute content to readers everywhere.

Disrupt!/Books!/ will take place in the first week of March in Amman, Jordan. The four-day ideathon is created by a start-up, for start-ups, and aims to bring together the right mix of thinkers, doers and facilitators. Disrupt!/Books!/ is organised by the Jordanian publishing platform Project Pen and Mideast Creatives, in close collaboration with Oasis 500 and Zain Innovation Campus. Start-ups, entrepreneurs, co-working spaces, incubators, relevant media and lovers of tech and start-ups are encouraged to apply.

Event Schedule

Selected applicants will be invited to attend the weekend at Zinc Campus in King Hussein Business Park on 5, 6 and 7 March 2015. Applicants will work almost around the clock to turn promising concepts into new start-ups and compete against one another in a final 3-minute pitch battle.

Beginning with open pitches on Thursday, attendees with creative publishing ideas test their ideas against some of the most promising concepts with teams focusing on customer development, idea validation and creating a viable product. By Saturday evening, participants pitch their ideas and receive valuable feedback from a panel of professional expert judges and jury.


We are excited to announce various prizes for the top three pitches. Prizes up for grabs are a cash prize of 2000 JOD for first place, followed by two publishing deals with Project Pen for second place and a surprising undisclosed award from Zain and Oasis 500.

Here is some of what the event’s organiser Eman Elshafei has to say about it in a blog post (Ed. – paraphrased for length and clarity):

“Disrupt!/Books!/ is the latest addition to the disrupt series to hit the Middle East. An idea conceived by Mideast Creatives, the disrupt series is a series of competitive ideathons that have brought together innovators within the MENA region within a specific sector of the creative industries such as gaming, animation, design, music, etc.,  and helped take their project idea to the next level.

All serious writers in the Middle East know what it means to write and publish in the Arab world.  As an avid writer myself, there are preordained ways of approaching the writing and publishing industry; we plan, we write, we scan and shake the hands of publishers. Then we publish, that is, if our handshakes prove telling enough!

But writers in the MENA region often feel lost, dragged down by the social and cultural challenges of the region. The publishing industry can be hostile and quite unforgiving to many writers, erecting walls around their creative spirit.

Fortunately, great publishing houses like Project Pen get what it means to write and publish in the Middle East and combat these boundaries. This is why they are so effective at presenting the wonderful contributions of writing talents in the MENA region to readers worldwide.

Training creative people is about teaching them how to make something of their idea by finessing the idea itself.  It’s about finding that great symbiosis or synthesis between the business promise of a creative pitch and being faithful to the creative spirit, and that is what we intend to show the world in March 2015.”