Bookseller ‘fundraising for a dream’ to open Arabic bookshop in London - The Guardian

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A erstwhile bookseller astatine London’s largest Arabic bookshop, which closed astatine the extremity of 2022, has acceptable up a crowdfunding entreaty to motorboat a caller bookshop and assemblage space.

Al Saqi Books successful Bayswater opened successful 1978, and sold books connected the Middle East and northbound Africa successful English, and connected each subjects successful Arabic. It closed connected 31 December, with bookshop manager Salwa Gaspard saying it was a “difficult determination that had to beryllium made due to the fact that of caller economical challenges, specified arsenic the crisp increases successful Arabic-language publication prices”.

The bookshop was founded by André and Salwa Gaspard and the precocious Mai Ghoussoub, 3 friends who had settled successful London from war-torn Lebanon. Its publishing arms Saqi Books and Dar al Saqi stay open, operating from caller premises successful westbound London.

Now Mohammad Masoud, a Palestinian bookseller who worked astatine the bookshop, has launched an entreaty to rise wealth for a caller bookshop called Maqam, saying helium is “fundraising for a dream”. The fundraiser has truthful acold raised conscionable nether £6,000 of its £90,000 goal.

“Maqam volition beryllium a location for radical who emotion the Arabic connection and are searching for belonging,” helium continued. “This volition beryllium a abstraction for everyone careless of inheritance to prosecute with Arabic creation and lit nary substance however overmuch oregon small they cognize of it, a abstraction wherever some Arabs and non-Arabs tin travel to learn, relearn and bask this fantastic and affluent language.”

Masoud said that since moving to London successful 2020 helium had seen a fig of spaces focused connected Arab civilization and assemblage adjacent down, and helium was keen to “create a abstraction that volition big our creativity for overmuch longer generations”.

Maqam would beryllium a “safe abstraction for each these originative minds” and “protect and make the literate country successful the UK and Europe”, said Masoud.

Maqam, according to the crowdfunding website, “aims to enactment a peculiar absorption connected the voices of the younger generations of writers and readers who person been marginalised and excluded successful the publishing industries” from the south-west Asian and northbound African region. As good arsenic being a bookshop, it volition besides beryllium a assemblage space.

Masoud is hoping to bargain leftover banal and supplement it with his ain important collection.

The bookshop’s mission, outlined connected its fundraising page, says it volition beryllium a “space for sharing ideas and stories, enjoying literature, calligraphy, embroidery”.

“It volition beryllium a haven wherever you tin beryllium down with your favourite publication and a blistery drink,” the entreaty continues. “A location distant from home, for the students, writers, professionals, and readers from each walks of life, hoping to prosecute the wealthiness of the taste practice Maqam has to offer.”

The entreaty has 4 milestones; the archetypal £25,000 raised volition spell to buying publication stock, mounting up a due website and acquiring a retention unit, portion the £50,000 milestone volition unafraid fractional a year’s rent.

The 3rd milestone of £75,000 volition screen hiring a squad and operational and stocking costs for six months, portion the afloat £90,000 volition screen a year’s rent and afloat operational and events fund for 12 months from launch.

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