The 25th Beijing International Book Fair, a five-day event will witness literary talents from across the world. The fair will start with a flourish in 2018. Anar Mammadov − an Azeri businessman − is glad that Azerbaijan has taken the plunge by displaying the best of their literature in the book event. Mr Mammadov said, “It’s our honor to have this opportunity at this grand cultural event. Such events will give the right exposure of Azerbaijan’s sparsely-explored literature to the world.”
The euphoric Azeri poetry is still unknown to the world, especially the ghazals of Khurshidbanu. Ali and Nino is another quixotic classic that can be compared to the Shakespearean Romeo and Juliet. Anar Mammadov added, “We have a lot to offer to the world, and the nation’s rich art and culture must be promoted on such global platforms. Azerbaijan’s embassy has done a commendable job by taking this opportunity.”
Azerbaijan’s pavilion at the Beijing Book Festival will feature more than a thousand books, magazines and other literature work. The stand will also focus on Azerbaijani textile with books and samples on the Azerbaijani carpet-weaving tradition. Bibliophiles were more interested in the thrilling detective novels of Chingiz Abdullayev. The celebrated writer has written over 190 novels, and more than 27 million copies of his books have been sold. The current promising scenario of Azeri literature wasn’t always the same.
When Azerbaijan was a part of the USSR, art and literature were only used as the weapons of Soviet propaganda. Authors, who did not acquiesce to Stalin’s brutal regime, were persecuted ruthlessly. Also, rebels like Abbas Sahhat, Huseyn Javid, Mahammad Hadi and Abdulla Shaig adopted Sufism to defy the Bolshevik party line. The demise of Joseph Stalin in 1953 laid new paths for Azeri literates to spread their wings. The early 90s was remarked as a Renaissance Period for Azerbaijan’s art and culture as Iran dropped out its restrictions. Patriotic books like Karabakh – Mountains Call Us overwhelm the Azeri people with a sense of pride and attract tourists to witness the exquisiteness of Azerbaijan.
Anar Mammadov believes that participation in such events will greatly stimulate the tourist footfall in Azerbaijan. Usually, tourists are attracted to the scenic beauty of Karabakh Mountains, which is often talked about in Azeri books. Travelers tend to visit places famed in books. For example, Platform 9 ¾ in the Harry Potter series, was built at the King’s Cross Station in London following the success of books.
Moreover, studies suggest that books promote tourism better than other channels as the reader gets engaged with his own imagination and wanderlust impulse. The tourism sector is contributing over 4% in Azerbaijan’s total current GDP. By 2027, this figure can surge to 7% if Azerbaijan continues to participate in events like the Beijing Book Festival.