New import duties on books hits Iraqi publishing sector. Some claim it’s censorship by taxation

Iraq has enjoyed relative publishing freedom in recent years, but there are signs that might be coming to an end. New import duties are pushing up the price of books to Iraqi consumers, but is this just an ill-advised taxation issue or an attempt to control what Iraqi’s can read? Writing for The Arab Weekly, Read More …

Kurdistan’s 13th Erbil Int. Book Fair reminds us censorship is a balancing act, not a line in the sand

38 books have been prevented from sale at the 13th Erbil International Book Fair in Iraq’s Kurdistan, and the silence from the freedom of speech supporters has been deafening. In stark contrast to the outrage occasioned by Kuwait’s (admittedly larger scale) censorship – A mermaid wearing a bra among the books banned in Kuwait, but Read More …

Arab Renaissance 3: Baghdad’s Al Mutanabbi Book Street thrives again

 After a devastating car-bomb attack in 2007 Baghdad’s famous book street, Al Mutanabbi, has been a shadow of its former self, but a revival began in 2015. As we enter the eleventh year since the devastation, Al Mutanabbi Street, which reaches almost to the Tigris, is thriving again. In March there will be special readings Read More …

Arab Renaissance 1: The book café themed like a book

In the First World west we take for granted luxuries like book cafes. Elsewhere the concept is not so familiar. Last September the town of Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, got its first book café. That’s noteworthy in itself. More noteworthy still, in a patriarchal society like Iraqi Kurdistan, is that the movers behind the new Read More …

Iraq to allow export of books without a permit

This is breaking news from Nasher, “the world’s first professional hub for Arab publishers,” and details are spares, but it seems the Iraqi government has / is about to lift the restrictions  on publishers sending books abroad. In Nasher’s own words, In response to requests by publishers to aid the revival of the publishing industry Read More …