photo: Eddy van Wessel


Friday, August 14, 2015

Read me a story in the park

“Mummy, I want a storybook,” the little girl kept asking. She was walking with her mother in one of the parks of Kurdistan’s capital Erbil. The mother answered that she did not need it, and from the way she was talking it was clear she did not really understand what her daughter wanted or why.

That little scene is so abnormal in the Kurdistan Region that it keeps popping up in my mind. A little girl, asking for a book to read whilst walking in a park. In a country where reading is in no way promoted at school, where most schools hardly even have libraries, and where many mothers, like the little girl’s, have not learned to understand the value of books.

In this case, the girl must have seen the book shop outside the park’s gate, another abnormality in a country where most people buy their books at book fairs—the main place for publishers to sell.

A country also where most publishers ask the author to pay for the publishing of his book, as I found out when I tried to get one of mine published recently. Or where in the best possible case, the translator will be paid, but not the writer.

Read the whole story here

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