A writers workshop in Abu Dhabi that went from 12 to 2,500 members. A pay-to-get-in bookstore in Japan. A book exchange at a train station in Pakistan. How children’s books went from japan to Mosul in Iraq. And how the lyrics of the Moroccan national anthem came to be written.

We start today with a visit to Japan, where Publishing Perspectives takes a look at an interesting variation on the traditional bookstore. You pay to get in.

Tokyo’s New Bunkitsu Bookstore: Designed With an Admission Fee

That’s not in itself new – TNPS reported on such a store in Portugal –

The world’s most beautiful and bizarre bookstores 1. The bookstore 3,000 people a day pay to visit

but there the appeal was that the bookstore had some Harry Potter heritage and the entrance fee, offset against purchases, was to deter fans from just coming in to take photographs.

In Japan it’s different. You pay 1,500 yen (US$13.89) and the entry fee is meant to correspond to the cost of a cinema ticket or museum entry charge, and the store carries a very limited stock of each book in its collection, with the idea,.

To re-fashion the experience of a bookstore and discovery of a book.

Read more over at Publishing Perspectives.


From Tokyo, capital of Japan, to Rabat, capital of Morocco.

Moroccan writer Ali Squalli Houssaini, who died in November, was Man of the Year

His funeral was widely marked, including attendance by the Crown Prince and the head of government, which will show the esteem in which his writing was held.

What did he write? The words to the national anthem, which until 1969 had been only a melody.

The occasion that warranted lyrics?

Morocco in 1969 qualified for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

Read more over at Morocco World News.


Heading across to Pakistan next, where the story is,

Books at Train Stations

Again, nothing new here, perhaps, except that in this case it’s some enclosed bookshelves at a rural train station.

Mudassir Hussain did much of the legwork on creating the new “Take a book, leave a book” project of Rabhar Trust.

The enclosed bookshelves at Princeton Junction train station have the goal of,

promoting harmony among community members and hopefully encourage Book Swapping among individuals.

Read more at Pakistan’s Community News.


From Pakistan we follow the journey of children’s books in Japan that found their way to Mosul in Iraq.

How Japanese Children’s Books Came to Mosul

Mosuli historian-blogger Omar Mohammed — who for years wrote pseudonymously as “Mosul Eye” — has been collecting books to rebuild Mosul’s libraries.

This is a delightful story you can read more about at ArabLit.


Finally for today, and staying in the Middle East, this time in the United Arab Emirates.

Abu Dhabi Writers’ Workshop publishes first collection of short stories

The Write Stuff is the first collection of short stories from the Abu Dhabi Writers’ Workshop. It is a beautifully produced paperback, featuring 14 stories by authors of varying experience from around the world. Each of them attends the weekly gatherings at La Brioche, a French eatery near Khalifa Park, to share ideas, experiment with prose and – crucially – support one another.

That The Write Stuff exists at all is a remarkable achievement. In June 2015, Olearski, a graduate of the Manchester Writing School, posted a message on the website Meetup.com, proposing that Abu Dhabi’s writing community – if such a thing even existed – come together to chat about reading and writing.

Only 12 to start with … now there are nearly 2,500 members of the Abu Dhabi Writers’ Workshop.

Read more over at the UAE’s The National.