Retrospective by critics and academics in Basra

Celebrating the literary legacy of Yusuf Yaqoub Haddad

BASRA, January 28 — The Basra Writers Union has celebrated the release of the complete short story collection by the late writer Yusuf Yaqoub Haddad, an event that also highlighted his significant contributions to the city’s cultural heritage through his well-known ‘Haddad’ printing press in Ashar.

Poet Wathiq Ghazi, speaking to 964media, highlighted Haddad’s humanitarian side, “He printed for several writers for free since the sixties… Haddad was concerned and interested in the city and the continuity of its literary life, making him worthy of being remembered by Basra.”

The session, led by critic Jameel Al-Shubeibi, included insights from Dr. Aqeel Abdul Hussain, Dr. Diaa Al-Thamari, Dr. Adel Abdul Jabbar, and Mr. Emad Qasim. They discussed Haddad’s impact on the literary world and his unique role in Basra’s cultural scene.

Khalid Khudair Al-Salehi, an Iraqi critic, expressed to 964media his concerns about the critical overlook of Haddad’s legacy, “The late storyteller has been forgotten critically; he suffered neglect from critics, and we don’t see genuine interest in what he offered.”

Al-Salehi attributed this neglect to the political influence over Iraqi culture, noting, “Nationalist critics studied nationalist writers, while communist critics focused on communist writers! This is also what the poet Hussein Abdul Latif suffered from.”

Dr. Aqeel Abdul Hussain, speaking to 964media, discussed the theme of tragedy in Haddad’s stories, “It’s as if the creators were incapable of confronting society, customs, and traditions. This is evident in the departed storyteller Yusuf Yaqoub Haddad, whose stories mostly had tragic endings.”

Dr. Abdul Hussain linked this narrative style to the broader context of Iraqi culture, which he said “leaned towards sadness due to political issues and the prolonged injustice that prevailed in the country.”