Final day of fair underway

‘The Cemetery of Lanterns’ debuts in Arabic at Erbil International Book Fair

ERBIL — The final day of the International Erbil Book Fair will host a celebration for the release of the Arabic edition of the late renowned Kurdish poet Sherko Bekas’ “The Cemetery of Lanterns.”

The book, translated by Hiwa Osman (the head of 964media) will be highlighted at an event scheduled for 5 p.m. today at the Meda Corner of the fair. Osman will be signing copies of the book and is due to lead a panel discussion in Arabic on poetry.

“The Cemetery of Lanterns,” a verse novel by Bekas, narrates the stories of victims of the Anfal campaign, during which Kurds were targeted. Originally published in 2004, this year marks the 20th anniversary of its release, and it has now been translated into Arabic.

Osman has been grappling with translating this work from the Kurdish for several years. Arab poets and writers who have reviewed Osman’s Arabic rendition praise it for its elegant and accurate conveyance of Bekas’ emotive and poignant verses. Osman has also successfully translated other works by Bekas into Arabic.

The Arabic edition of “The Cemetery of Lanterns” was released by Meda Publishing House and showcased for the first time at this year’s Erbil International Book Fair. The event, which began April 17 and concludes today, featured 964media as a media partner.

In the foreword to the Arabic edition, Osman writes about the deep emotional and historical significance embedded in the work, describing it as “the latest work I have translated into Arabic, but due to its deep expressions of suffering, pain, and aspirations, I felt compelled to prioritize its publication over my other projects.”

Osman expresses hope that while the Kurdish language still grapples with the questions raised by the Anfal, the Arabic language can find answers to how and why the Anfal happened.

Ali Badr, a well-known Iraqi writer, wrote a preface for the book, and Zia Azawi, the renowned painter, designed the cover and created several expressive paintings based on the text of the poems.