Saudi novelist Sultan Ayaz’s ‘Crossing Thoughts’ to be adapted into manga

Saudi novelist Sultan Ayaz’s ‘Crossing Thoughts’ to be adapted into manga
Sultan Ayaz finished writing the story of “Crossing Thoughts” in 2014, and says the adaptation deal with Manga Arabia is the result of a decade-long dream. (Supplied)
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Updated 11 April 2024
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Saudi novelist Sultan Ayaz’s ‘Crossing Thoughts’ to be adapted into manga

Saudi novelist Sultan Ayaz’s ‘Crossing Thoughts’ to be adapted into manga
  • Ayaz’s novel, written in English, tells the story of humans defending their lands against the oppression of demons
  • In the book, humans fight off demons by using elemental magic and swordplay

RIYADH: A fantasy novel by a Saudi author has been chosen for adaption into a manga, Japan’s famous style of graphic novel.
Sultan Ayaz finished writing the story of “Crossing Thoughts” in 2014, and says the adaptation deal with Manga Arabia is the result of a decade-long dream.
Manga are comics or graphic novels originating from Japan, conforming to a style developed in the late 19th century, though the form has antecedents in earlier Japanese art.
Ayaz’s novel, written in English, tells the story of humans defending their lands against the oppression of demons. It is about the eternal conflict between humans and demons, and a man who stands in between.
In the book, humans fight off demons by using elemental magic and swordplay.
The narrative begins with Drake, a little boy, who, along with his family, lives in tranquility in a tiny town. But the town is destroyed by a demonic attack, which Drake miraculously survives.
Three characters emerge — Aria, Ray and Amber — and study the nature of elements at the Grand College of Elements in the Kingdom of Iora. They learn how to use the elements as weapons against their demonic foes.
“Crossing Thoughts” is full of drama, action and a hint of terror.
Ayaz told Arab News: “I was always into writing in English since high school, and I was influenced by video games and anime, which strongly developed my imagination. Along with daydreaming and creating scenarios in my head, I always wanted to have my own story. So, I started to write short stories from time to time to fulfill this desire.”
The Saudi author said he was “ecstatic” to sign a deal with Manga Arabia and adapt his novel.
“‘Crossing Thoughts’ is the result of hard work and sincere dedication, and I am very proud of it. Since I finished writing the novel back in 2014, I always wanted to have it adapted into a manga or an anime, because I believe it is suitable for such adaptation,” he said.
“When I signed the contract with Manga Arabia, I felt overwhelming happiness, because, for 10 years, this is exactly what I was aiming for. I am very proud of this achievement and honored to be chosen among other talented Saudi authors to be part of this project.”
In 2020, Ayaz became one of the first Saudi novelists to have a fiction work published internationally when a British publishing house, Olympia Publishers, acquired the rights to publish “Crossing Thoughts.” The book was first released locally in 2017 and sold in Virgin Megastores.
“During this journey, I faced many obstacles and hardships that almost forced me to drop my novel and just focus on balancing my life. My father passed away. I had to drop college for a couple of years, and worked in several minimum wage jobs just to contribute to covering the living expenses of my family. But, eventually, I was inspired by my mother’s strength and decided to push myself to the limits and overcome all that, and I succeeded,” Ayaz said.
The writer used two monthly salaries just to cover the printing and publishing expenses of his work.
And though he faced some criticism because the novel was authored in English, “Crossing Thoughts” sold well in Saudi Arabia, attracting the attention of Olympia Publishers.
“I am rather pleased with ‘Crossing Thoughts.’ It is the first English-language fantasy book by a Saudi author to be published, and it helped me overcome my anxiety of failing by landing me live TV appearances and magazine features. It is the sole outcome of real commitment and persistent work,” Ayaz said.
His advice for young writers is to never aim for fame, set your goals straight and persuade audiences with continuous effort. Always remember that “the journey’s experience is priceless,” he said.
Last month, Manga Arabia chose five Saudi authors to have their novels turned into comic stories.
“Drawing Nothingness” by Ashraf Al-Faqih was already featured in the Manga Arabia Youth magazine.
“The Voyagers” by Kendah Jambi, Ayaz’s “Crossing Thoughts,” “The Awsaj” by Al-Jawhara Al-Rimal and Ghada Al-Marzouqi’s “I Live My Memories Upside Down” will also be published in Manga Arabia magazine’s print and digital editions.
The project is part of joint efforts between the Saudi Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission and Manga Arabia to support businesses in the publishing sector.
The manga initiative has been hailed as a “cultural leap” in the presentation of Saudi literature worldwide, and an indicator of progress in the Kingdom’s burgeoning creative industries.


SFDA fines facility for changing expiration dates

SFDA fines facility for changing expiration dates
Updated 10 sec ago
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SFDA fines facility for changing expiration dates

SFDA fines facility for changing expiration dates
  • SFDA visited a warehouse and found the violating food items, in addition to the tools and labels used to change the expiration dates

RIYADH: The Saudi Food and Drug Authority has seized around 4 tonnes of expired poultry with tampered expiration dates. It also seized poultry and meat from an unknown source in a warehouse in Riyadh, kept to sell and circulate through food stores and markets.

The authority said that while carrying out its inspection tours on food products and facilities, it visited a warehouse and found the violating food items, in addition to the tools and labels used to change the expiration dates.

All poultry and meat items were seized and destroyed and that the facility was fined SR500,000 ($133,000) for violating Article 16 of the Food Law, which stipulates that food shall not be handled if “it is adulterated, involves deceptive methods, means or otherwise practices that may mislead the consumers.”

The Saudi aurhotities have called on consumers to report violations of the facilities under its supervision, by calling the unified number (19999), or through its “Tameni” application.


Harvesting season fuels Madinah Date Market

Harvesting season fuels Madinah Date Market
Updated 42 min 58 sec ago
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Harvesting season fuels Madinah Date Market

Harvesting season fuels Madinah Date Market
  • Harvesting of date palms begins in the first quarter of June every year across 29,000 farms in the region
  • Market is characterized by the variety of types of fresh dates on offer, which are famous in Madinah and its governorates

MADINAH: The central Madinah Date Market is witnessing an uptick in activity as the fruit’s harvesting season in Saudi Arabia continues apace.

The harvesting of date palms begins in the first quarter of June every year across 29,000 farms in the region.

The market is characterized by the variety of types of fresh dates on offer, which are famous in Madinah and its governorates, including Routhana, Rabia, Halia, Suwaidaa, Halwa, Lona Musaid and others.

High temperatures affect the speed of ripening at the first stage of the harvesting process, which continues until the end of July. Following that, the date harvesting process begins, lasting until the end of August, when farmers start displaying their dates in the market. Varieties include Ajwa, Safawi, Amber, Medjool, Barhi, and others.

The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture has intensified inspection activities to monitor the operational status of the central date market, to ensure technical and health requirements are met and to verify the quality of produce.

This contributes to exports of dates and their products, and highlights the palm and date sector as one of the main agricultural production sectors in the Kingdom, in line with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.


Saudi Arabia condemns terrorist attack on cafe in Mogadishu

People look at the destruction at a cafe in Mogadishu on July 15, 2024 following a car bomb blast.
People look at the destruction at a cafe in Mogadishu on July 15, 2024 following a car bomb blast.
Updated 43 min 7 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia condemns terrorist attack on cafe in Mogadishu

People look at the destruction at a cafe in Mogadishu on July 15, 2024 following a car bomb blast.
  • Car bomb exploded outside cafe in Mogadishu on Sunday night, killing nine and injuring 20 as patrons were watching the final of the Euro 2024 football tournament

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia condemned and denounced on Monday a terrorist attack targeting a cafe in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Sunday that killed nine people.

A car bomb exploded outside the cafe in Mogadishu on Sunday night, killing nine and injuring 20 as patrons were watching the final of the Euro 2024 football tournament on TV.

The Kingdom affirmed its support for the government and people of Somalia, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Kingdom also expressed its sincere condolences to the families of victims and wished the injured a speedy recovery.


Saudi Arabia invests $46m on cutting-edge veterinary lab

Saudi Arabia invests $46m on cutting-edge veterinary lab
Updated 15 July 2024
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Saudi Arabia invests $46m on cutting-edge veterinary lab

Saudi Arabia invests $46m on cutting-edge veterinary lab
  • Laboratory will conduct disease diagnosis as well as vaccine development and localization in the Middle East
  • Lab is part of the Kingdom’s initiative to develop and produce veterinary vaccines for local disease strains

RIYADH: A state-of-the-art veterinary laboratory will be built in Riyadh to develop local vaccines against animal diseases.

A contract worth more than SR175 million ($46.6 million) was signed by Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli to establish the site.

The laboratory will conduct disease diagnosis as well as vaccine development and localization in the Middle East, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The contract was awarded to a specialized national company. The lab is part of the Kingdom’s initiative to develop and produce veterinary vaccines for local disease strains.

It will serve as a hub for monitoring and controlling the spread of animal diseases, conducting specialized laboratory tests and identifying disease causes through DNA sequencing.

Scientists will develop Saudi-specific vaccines from local microbial strains, boosting the production of local vaccines and conducting applied research that benefits the Kingdom’s animal wealth and health sectors. This includes monitoring and updating standard methods for detecting animal diseases in line with the standards set by the International Organization for Animal Health.

According to the SPA, the facility will spearhead the development of cutting-edge vaccines derived from local disease strains, offering higher immune responses compared to global strains. The move toward localizing veterinary vaccine production will enhance the Kingdom’s ability to control and eliminate local diseases, thereby safeguarding its livestock wealth.

The ministry said that the project aligns with its efforts to develop the animal wealth sector and protect public health by combating zoonotic diseases and cross-species pathogens.

The laboratory will be equipped with cutting-edge technology and staffed by highly qualified specialists, the SPA reported.


KSrelief continues medical projects in Jordan and Somalia

KSrelief continues medical projects in Jordan and Somalia
Updated 15 July 2024
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KSrelief continues medical projects in Jordan and Somalia

KSrelief continues medical projects in Jordan and Somalia

RIYADH: Saudi aid agency KSrelief continued its humanitarian aid projects in Jordan and Somalia, reported state news agency SPA on Sunday.
In Jordan, the aid agency provided medical services to 2,271 patients living in Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees. The services ranged from general medicine for adults and children to dental care and vaccinations.
In Somalia, the kidney dialysis center at Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu, supported by the aid agency, served 348 patients last month.
A total of 163 dialysis patients underwent 1,051 scheduled sessions and 12 emergency sessions.
These initiatives are part of the Kingdom’s effort to alleviate suffering to those in need.