“It’s scary, in a beautiful way” those were Shaden’s word, the co-founder of Inkitab one of the organizers of Noon Book Fair, or as I like to call them: the little-known soldiers. I thought I understood what she meant when she said it over the phone, but when I got to the site an hour later and saw the culture street finally living up to its name and thronging with thirsty book lovers, instead of just hungry employees during a typical lunch break on any given day in Shmeisani, only then I could say I knew what she meant.
I had the great pleasure and honor to be part of Noon Book Fair, Inkitab’s second book fair for used books, as I was there to sign my novel قبل السفر, which I had talked about here an awful lot. I’ve had a book signing before but this one was something else. It was the whole spirit prevailing over the place, the eagerness and excitement in the air, the happiness you can see in the faces of those who worked so hard to make it happen, and the familiarity you feel even with those you don’t know, but just because you know you share the same love and the same passion, and that idea everyone probably have on the back of their head: We’re a nation that actually reads. It’s like you want to yell at all these new faces: Where have you been? We should be best friends!
And then there were those asking about the book, what it’s about, and those who told me they read it and loved it, and then it started to rain and I wore that scarf over my head which made me look like a street beggar, but as you know being a writer in the Arab world is often compared to that so I would say that I looked the part. And then to the cherry on the top was this gift by a friend of mine, a handmade personalized bookmark and I’m a sucker for handmade things, personalized gifts and bookmarks, so you can imagine how happy I was to have all the 3 in 1. Thank you, Ali!
I don’t think I have the right words to thank everyone who had worked on this, you guys are amazing and I love you, and I thank God that my I’ve crossed paths with such wonderful souls, full of passion and creativity. Keep it up!