Kafez

Literary

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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Saturday, 4 October 2008

October 5, 2008

An electrifying parade by Ireland's Nigerian residents on Dublin's main thorougfare, O'Connell's street, today. Also, hilarious Halloween clowns on Dawson's. The wintry afternoon failed to dampen Dublin's exuberant party mood. It's the city's buoyant energy that stays enriching. I bought novels and dvds on alternative cinema. I'm waiting eagerly for Roopa Farooki's Corner Shop - I so love the title - but went home with a hardback... Alaa Al Aswany's much talked about novel, Chicago and also Waterstone's successfully hunted down their last paperback of AIDS Sutra: Untold Stories of India for me.

Almost every South Asian and Middle Eastern novel/non-fiction in the English Language makes it here. Of recent titles, everything did with the exception of two Malaysian novels published in the UK: Evening is the Whole Day and Little Hut Leaping Fishes. They did not appear to have stopped by Ireland's capital city. When a title is sold in the UK, it is sold too in Ireland.

Another sad reality is that despite her excellent reading at Cork recently, Wena Poon's short stories are still not available in Dublin but then they never were; not even while she was being long-listed for an Irish prize. On the contrary, Jhumpa Lahiri's second collection of short stories called Interpreter of Maladies lines almost every book display.

Still, there is always the Web and these things can easily be rectified with frontline publicity and awareness. And Ireland is always a good place to publicize one's work. Times may be hard but book-buyers haven't lessened in number. Just that a potential customer needs to have heard of the author beforehand. As far as I know, there was no MPH title displayed in the main Dublin bookshops.

What a loss in any case, in terms of potential sales and to miss an opportunity when it did strike; especially that the Irish are avid readers, love their bookshops and stay curious about new titles.

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