PROJECT PEN IN PICTURES — & THANKS FROM THE FOUNDER.

On 31st October 2016, Project Pen was dissolved. This is a personal thank you to everyone that supported us between January 2012 to 2016.

Amman is the most creative city in the Middle East. It is also the most welcoming and kind. Below you can find a cross-section of the talent that helped build project pen — allowing us to augment our audience across the city, out-market organizations several times our size, and sell books in stores across Jordan & Dubai.

Keep Writing.

John Lillywhite
founder

A Discovery in Readers Bookstore, Taj Mall, 2015.

Amman’s greatest Art Dealer @ Maral Tajirian. She made much of the below possible. Thanks Mimi.

King Hussein Business Park, November 2014.

Left to Right: Maisa, Abed, Chris, Tom, John.

Makan House March 2013

Left to Right: Aya and Aysha at an event for poets.

Zain Innovation Campus, March 2015

Mais and Zaid, two RSICA graduates who produced visuals like this, often with borrowed equipment.

9th March 2013, Makan Space

Ali Saadi needs no introduction. He filmed this entire series of spoken word poetry for free. All we did was buy Pizza.

Darat Al Funun, 13th October 2012

Mike V. Derderian — Daedalus. Or “Grumpy Bear,” when he’s talking to us.

Ras Al Ain Hangar, July 2012

Tarakiyee hacked Tumblr to read Arabic, and customized it to receive submissions from around the Middle East. Read the stories here.

International Amman Academy School, November 2012

Laila achieved the impossible at IAA School — she worked with artists and children, to create a program called “Young Storytellers”.

Stone Throw Studios, Sept 2014.

Aya & Tala deconstructing “Generations”, a story narrative based on the history of Jordan. The Royal Film Commission were impressed with their ability to deconstruct and correct a story. It’s not easy.

Stone Throw Studios, Sept 2014

Kal — most chill person in Amman. Provided a beautiful villa in Jebel Webdieh for our team to crash in, when needed. Helped our team write visually.

Left to Right: Sami Nazer, Reem Quttineh, Thomas Wolfing, Natalie Hijazi. [Darat Al Funun Lab Space, October 2012].

Sami owns an amazing comics shop, opposite i-System in Sweifieh. Reem is a polymath, and former hotshot from the Bidaya PR team. Natalie creates cutting edge visuals for Game, and other formats.

Workshop, Zinc, March, 2015

Salwa designed Jamila’s Thread, the book-box, and most importantly made people laugh. Salwa is on Instagram here.

Zinc Space, March, 2015

Farah, the only grown up on the team. She helped to organize a poetry session at Graffiti Cafe and did loads of work on an event called “Disrupt!/Books!”.

Farah recently got married, and now works at the World Food Program.

Muna worked with us on developing a Writers Club at Mlabbas. She also translated Jamila’s Thread into English. After working at the United Nations in Erbil, Muna received a scholarship to study in London. She is pursuing a career in journalism.

Left to Right: Hanaa, Laith [center], Mohammad Al-Kilani & Namaa. [Ras Al Ain, 2012]

Laith & his team project managed a big idea called “Twitter Stories”. “Twitter Stories” invited young people in Jordan and around the Middle East to submit fiction stories in Arabic and English, in 140 characters, from their phone, computers or by SMS. Covered by all Jordanian media, and Dubai TV, the campaign was presented in box-set format to HM Queen Rania in June 2014, at the opening of the Oasis500 Creative Industries Launch.

Twitter Stories, Dec 2012, Abou El Abed

Luma and BeAmman helped us out with early traction and offline outreach. BeAmman was always around to lend a helping hand.

Ras Al Ain Hangar, July 2012

Shalabieh Al Hakawatieh, teller of stories. Find her on Instagram here.

Student Cafe, Jabal Amman, July 2012.

Left to Right: Ola, Dina, Maisa, Morad, John. Awarding a prize for the best Arabic story.

Zinc Space, July 2012.

Thomas Wolfing. Man of Many Masks.

King Hussein Business Park, Feb 2015.

Left to Right: Maisa, Salwa, Eman, Farah, working on a publishing event.

Mlabbas, Rainbow St, March 2015

Mlabbas incubated project pen early on, and supported our first book after it had launched. We generated our strongest book sales here, too. Thank you to Imad & team.

Majalati, Sweifieh, Nov 2012

A workshop teaching creative writers to embed Search Engine Optimization within their narrative style and storytelling, rather than simply as headlines & meta-tags. Jawdat adapted years of expertise in SEO, to deliver a cutting edge series of recommendations optimized for Arabic language writing.

September 8, 2012

Husam, a puppeteer. Husam helped us with Young Storytellers, and debated the art’s over Chai with John. He got married in 2014 and moved to Prague to study on scholarship.

Stone Throw Studios, Sept 2013

Before project pen became a Startup, everything was ran by volunteers. This meant we had nothing to market with. So we gave an 15 year old artist AKA ‘Sin’ some spray cans & a Graffiti Stencil. It seemed like a good idea, at the time…

13th March, 2015

Group pic from “Disrupt Books”, sponsored by Middle East Creatives.

Amer, spitting a verse. Aysha, wishing for a new Tee. Watch Amer here.

King Hussein Business Park, June 2014

Ibrahim and Raya designing a plinth for a visit from HM Queen Rania. The plinth was later put to good use, by U.S Deputy Secretary Antony Blinken.

IAA November, 2012

Aseel at IAA School, helping out as she so often did. Aseel went on to study at Notre Dame in the United States; last time we connected, she was working on developing digital audio content.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Aug 2014

Group pic from Instagram Stories, sponsored by LG Levant, Mode Marketing & PR, Viva.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Aug 2014.

Big thanks to Rania and Lena, and everyone at Al Faridah publishing. They gave us free advertising and helped promote our events.

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Aug, 2014.

The one girl army that is Hadeel. Hadeel gave us a push on Twitter during a difficult Ramadan in 2013.

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Aug, 2014.

Best. Selfie. Ever.

Leaving Party, March 2016, 7iber Rooftop.

Special Thanks.

Sitti Suha Shoman & Nadine Toukan for supporting Storylabs.
 
Sarah for helping us bridge business with art.
Ahmad Humeid for the mentorship on digital & Syntax Pro-bono.
Ahmad Sabbagh for the remarkable branding.
Hussein Alazaat for the graffiti stencil work.
Zayna Hamarneh for sprinkling PR fairy-dust over Instagram Stories.
Omar Al Sharif for securing critical funding on Generations & Disrupt Books. 
Anwar Khoury for the author platform, remote assistance and a late night drive to QAIA.

To our Writers & Readers.
For proof of concept & the future of publishing.


“Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would have not set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.”
Itaca, C.P. Cavafy