The city of Basra is preparing to host the Basra International Book Fair, which is organized by the Al Mada Group for Media, Culture and Art.
It is the first time that Basra hosts such a huge event, which shall be held at the same time each year.
The exhibition will kick off on October 20 and will last for ten days. It will be held under the patronage of the Iraqi prime minister and with the support of the local government in Basra.
More than 250 international and Arab publishing houses will take part, and it will host an array of cultural activities, with several Arab intellectuals participating in them.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Ihab Al-Qaisi, who runs the Fair, said: “Following the great success of the Iraq International Book Fair, which had been organized by Al Mada late last year, and the high turnout seen at its pavilions, my management team was compelled to think of Basra as the site of its new exhibition."
"Holding a distinguished cultural activity in Basra could draw many intellectuals to the city, as had happened a decade ago in Erbil. More than 500 Iraqi intellectuals took part in Al Mada’s Fair there, and it provided them with an opportunity to delve into the region’s cultural experience,” he added.
According to Al-Qaisi, a number of books will be donated to the libraries of institutions in Basra and Basra University.
The Union of Iraqi Writers and the Union Basra Writers will both be heavily involved, holding a variety of cultural sessions. The Union is also tasked with facilitating the arrival of exhibition visitors from Baghdad to Basra.
On the Fair’s first edition being named after Iraqi poet Badr Shakir Al-Sayyab the Fair’s director said: “As it is known, many book fairs follow this cultural tradition, and, for our part, we have chosen a figure who had been among the most prominent names in the Iraqi and visual cultural scene for over seventy years. In the middle of the 20th century, he led a renewal movement in Arabic poetry. The poet will be honored with the reprinting of his poem, Rain Song, and organizing critical sessions and poetry readings about him."