Check-out the latest Bahrain-inspired literary offerings
Time Out Bahrain staff
Our little island has long been the inspiration for artists, poets and writers and current-day Bahrain is upholding that heritage.
This month has seen the launch of three impressive books, one that chronicles the island in pictures, another that tells intimate stories of Bahrain in the inhabitants’ own words and and an interesting travel guide with a difference – it was written by someone who actually lives here.
Between Two Seas was conceived by Bahrain-based international photographer Andrew Weaver and contains more than 250 amazing images of modern Bahrain including culture, landscapes, wildlife, business and lifestyle. The aim of the book is to show the country’s unique natural beauty as well as man’s impressive urban achievements over the past decade.
It’s published in three sizes ranging from BD4 to BD25, and is available in most good bookstores.
An exhibition of the book’s images is being planned for early April but the date was unconfirmed as we went to press. Call (39 445 102) or email email@example.com for details.
Also out this month, My Beautiful Bahrain is a collection of short stories and poetry about living and life in the kingdom edited by best-selling British author Robin Barratt and written by both Arabs and expats. The book has 50 contributions from 40 writers hailing from 15 different countries and aims to show both the wealth of talent on the island and, more importantly, despite the current unrest, that Bahrain is still a great place to live.
It contains fascinating personal ‘life’ stories, quite a few tourist-type information and fact-based contributions, some wonderful poetry, an occasional piece of fiction (set on the island) and a mixture of other diverse and captivating prose.
Although many of the contributors are members of the Bahrain Writer’s Circle, entry was open to everyone and the criteria were simple and straightforward; to write about life and living here with no other - or hidden – agenda. The only conditions were that there was to be no political or religious agenda or criticism of any kind and writers keep in mind the title: My Beautiful Bahrain.
StreetSmart Bahrain 2012 covers everything from the country’s ancient archaeological sites and museums to its restaurants and leisure options such as pearl diving and sailing, plus where to lay one’s head at night.
What makes this book unique are a couple of special features, such as walking tours of particularly interesting areas accompanied by beautifully illustrated maps and insider tips from people shaping Bahrain’s lifestyle (chefs, designers, DJs, artists), who share some hidden gems. Filmmaker Mohammed Buali, for example, suggests a stroll along a particular strip of Muharraq’s coast where fishermen might invite you into their stilted huts for tea.
“Bahrain never ceases to surprise me,” says South African-born author Melissa van Maasdyk. “Just when I think I know it all, I stumble upon a brilliant herbalist in the backstreets of the souq or a tucked-away café serving delicious food for under a dinar; then there are all the wonderful heritage areas, where time seems to have stood still. But most of my discoveries have been haphazard, and I wanted to share some of these gems, so that visitors with no time to waste don’t miss out.” StreetSmart Bahrain 2012 is available priced BD7.9 at Jashanmal and other good book stores. For more information call (39 239 308) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.