well read - Doha International Book Fair

Mosque, Isfahan, Iran
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The annual Doha International Book Fair takes over Doha Exhibition Center for ten days in December as authors, publishers, and visitors celebrate the written word.


Organised by the Ministry of Culture, Art and Heritage, the 22nd Doha International Book Fair will run from December 12 to 22, attracting hundreds of publishers, agents, and exhibitors from countries across the globe, with thousands of titles in Arabic and other languages to discover.

At the invitation of Qatar’s Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, HE Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari, the nation of Iran will be ‘guest of honour’ for 2011. This afords Iran the opportunity to present its culture and publications to the world.

Held in conjunction with the Fair is the Doha International Children’s Book festival, under the auspices of Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP), to celebrate authors of children’s books, and encourage a culture of reading from an early age. The festival will feature prominent authors and speakers from the Middle East and beyond who specialise in children’s literature.

Book Reviews

THE TOBACCO KEEPER (English and Arabic)
By Ali Bader, translated by Amira Noweira

Long-listed for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2009, The Tobacco Keeper recounts the investigation of the life of a celebrated Jewish-Iraqi musician who was expelled to Israel in the 1950s. Having returned to Iraq, the musician is expelled as an Israeli spy; but, returning for the third time under a forged passport, he is murdered in mysterious circumstances. The journalist writing the story of the musician’s life discovers an underworld of fake identities, mafias, and militias.


Edited by Ahdaf Soueif

From 7th-century Qur’ans to exquisite carpets, remarkable portraits, and items dating to the present day, the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar showcases one of the finest collections of Islamic art in the world, including some of its rarest objects. Reflections, produced in conjunction with the museum, offers insights from 27 leading writers and thinkers as they reflect on and celebrate the riches of Islamic art within the pages of this beautiful tome edited by internationally renowned Anglo-Egyptian author Ahdaf Soueif.


UTOPIA (English and Arabic)
By Ahmed Khaled Towfik, translated by Chip Rossetti

Written by one of the Arab world’s most prominent authors of fantasy and horror genres, this is a futuristic account of Egyptian society in the year 2023, where the wealthy are sheltered from the grim life outside the walls of their gated communities. When a young man and a girl break out to see for themselves the lives of their less fortunate countrymen, they are confronted by a world they had not imagined possible.


VERTIGO (English and Arabic)
By Ahmed Mourad, Translated by Robin Moger

Ahmed is a society photographer in a renowned Cairo nightclub. One night he has the misfortune to witness a friend horrifically killed in a fight between business rivals. Forced to escape the scene of the crime and go into hiding, Ahmed becomes tangled in a web of cover-ups and crimes that the people responsible will stop at nothing to conceal. Ahmed is forced to confront the ruthless criminals, but if he puts a foot wrong he could pay with his life.

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