Sunday, May 5, 2013

Indian bookstore in Marrakech brings South Asian, Indian and World Literature to Moroccan Readers

Here is an article from about an Indian bookstore that just opened in Marrakech. I hope to get a chance to check it out sometime.


Indian bookstore in Morocco promotes Indian literature 


by Madhusree Chatterjee

New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) India is writing a new literary chapter in Marrakesh with a boutique bookstore, "Kathakali", which is opening up the world of South Asian, Indian and world literature to Moroccan readers.

The bookstore - the first to be owned by an Indian business conglomerate, the Apeejay Surrendra Group - is managed by director of the group Priti Paul, who also looks after the affairs of the Oxford Bookstore chain across the country.

"I have just opened my bookstore in Marrakesh. It is like a boudoir of books offering readers selections from French, Arabic and English languages. The shop has a huge section devoted to African books as well," Priti Paul, director of the Apeejay Surrendra Group told IANS in the capital.

Paul, who lives in Africa, divides her time between India and Morocco to conduct her book business.

"The literacy rate in Morocco is low and books are expensive. They do not have special-priced editions like in India. But Moroccans' passion for books is amazing. Even the expensive books in my shop are selling," Paul said.

The bookstore has a distinctly Arab feel to it with a rich Islamic decor in bright red bases and Moroccan furniture.

The highlight of the store is the collection of Indian writing that has been received well people in Marrakesh, Paul said.

"I have taken Indian authors who write on relevant and universal subjects like Gandhi and children's books published by Katha, a Indian publisher with a strong commitment to tradition. It has more than 150 titles for young readers," Paul said.

The director of the Apeejay Surrendra Group said "the books by Katha were an introduction to Indian cultural and literary heritage for Moroccans".

"There is no Indian diaspora in Morocco. But why can't African and Moroccan readers buy Indian books when we are familiar with African literature. It is difficult business proposition given the competition from bi-lingual bookstores and publishing houses in the country. French and Arabic are the two predominant languages in Morocco," Paul explained.