October 4, 2023

The opening of the 34th Book Fair of Işık Bookstore was at the Kızılbaş Youth Centre in Nicosia

By Heidi Trautmann..

For many years I have been following the annual event, and so, it was a sort of meeting my family when I entered the Kızılbaş Church yesterday early evening to be with them for the opening, to congratulate them, Nahide Merlen and her team, after the silent two years of the covid pandemic.

I had enough time before the opening and space to go through the rows of books on display, to talk to my friends who were still in the middle of preparations, laying cables for lights, fridge and loud speakers, setting up tables and chairs, while a nice fresh breeze made us sigh with relief. Nahide Merlen, the mastermind, had opened the doors of the building with a big welcoming smile and waiting guests enjoyed the occasion to be the first to look for some nice books laid out, also because on all books were 10% discount during the next days.

A young writer, Söhret Basaran Howells, with her new book, an Isik Bookstore publication, had some guests queuing for her signing her new book in front of the entrance to the building, a festive sight.

In front of the building, were some more activities, there were some ladies preparing the cocktail, with fresh fruit, juices and wodka, for the many visitors, while the well-known musicians Ersin Sururi and Kayra Sururi were setting up their equipment, and tv-cameramen and journalists were making the round. Artists, writers, poets, book lovers and a crowd of children, soon filled the big space, they got together in groups, sat around wooden tables and on the floor, which increased the impression of a big family reunion.

The Book Fair will host evening events on many topics such as panels, music, poetry, literary talks, environment and media for 12 days with a theme given “Idare ve iradede sona doğru şimdi ne?” it is about the present situation in the country and what is to be done…. The programme promises interesting contributions, however it will all be in Turkish.

During the pandemic, the only people not despairing and complaining were literature people, they had had ample time to write, to sit down without any interruption and create and I am sure that never have more books been written and published than in these two or three years. Nahide Merlen said in her opening speech, that books were for many people in isolation a very important item, which helped them to vanish for some hours into another world, the book became a friend.

Işık Bookstore had decided to grant awards for the service in the fields of literature and the arts in cooperation with the Artists and Writers Union to the caricaturist Musa Kayra, to the artist Nilgün Güney and the poet Zeki Ali. The Nicosia Mayor Mehmet Harmancı had the pleasure to hand over the award to the three award winners.

After the speeches, Ersen Sururi and Kayra Sururi, surprised us with music by Django Reinhardt, jazzy gypsy music and that is music Ersen is a master in, I have heard him play this music many times.

I wish them a good week with many book lovers; it is an event one should really visit and we have to thank Nahide Merlen and her team for this big effort.

23 Aug – 03 Sep 2022 with evening programme

Visiting will be daily 09.00-13.00 and 17.00-24.00. The activities to be held within the scope of the fair will start at 20.30 hrs.

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