Writers, poets gather for ‘Literary Majlis’ in Qatar

A literary gathering brings together writers, poets, artists and enthusiasts in an effort to increase interest in literature in Qatar.

DOHA, QATAR (APRIL 28, 2015) (REUTERS) – On a warm and humid Doha evening, poets, writers and enthusiasts gathered for the ‘Literary Majlis’.

The fourth edition of the literary festival was held at the Museum of Islamic Art in the Qatari capital on Tuesday (April 28).

The event is a gathering hosted by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP). It brings together poets, writers, artists for literary readings and discussions, with an aim to boost the country’s literary scene.

Managing Director at BQFP Arend Kuster said the Majlis is a way to instil the love of reading and writing, as well as serve as a point of cultural exchange.

“We started the Literary Majlis as a way to engage the public into literature and reach out between cultures, East-West, different areas, focus on different areas. We had the idea of doing a Literary Majlis with some Turkish writers to celebrate the Turkish culture and to give a cultural exchange between Turkey and Qatar,” he said.

This edition featured Qatar Poet and Playwright Abdulrahim Abdulhamid Alsiddiqi and Turkish writer Iskender Pala as part of the Qatar-Turkey 2015 year of Culture celebrations.

Pala said direct encounters with interested audience was a source of inspiration for writers.

“Amidst all the material daily strife that we all undergo and the general materialism that we live in, something like literature, which is less tangible and more towards the heart, is something warming to say the least. So, being with individuals that are in the same interest group, is also a very inspiring experience,” he said.

Professor at Northwestern University, Qatar, Khalid Hroub moderated the Majlis session.

Hroub said that he has seen the audience grow in numbers over the years. However, it was still dominated by regular followers.

“All over the world, and not only in Qatar and the Gulf, cultural and literary events have a limited audience. You need to double your efforts to reach a wider audience. I think to some extent, this literary Majlis, partially achieves this goal,” he said.

Qatari poet and playwright Abdulrahim Abdulhamid Alsiddiqi read some of his poems in Arabic.

“Usually in theatre, you see spontaneous audience reaction. In television, you have to wait. While in poetry, it depends on the audience. It’s a good thing to interact with the audience at evenings and literary gatherings,” he said.

Bloomsbury’s Literary Majlis is becoming a regular event . Each gathering features a local Qatari writer and a foreign one.

Organisers say that presenting exceptional literary and poetic works from the region and beyond helps in fostering cultural diversity in the society.