DİHA - Dicle News Agency


Fair in Amed draws avid child readers

17 May
10:32 2015

DİYARBAKIR (DİHA) - As the first ever Amed Book Fair draws to a close today in Diyarbakır after five days of talks, book signings and activities, readers of all ages are heading home with their finds. Two of the most determined book fans at the fair were two children who came hoping to get a book signed by their favorite author—unaware that he died more than twenty years ago.

İsmet Tancı, 13, and his 11-year-old brother Zafer were not at the fair to hear a talk by Marxist geographer David Harvey, long-imprisoned Turkish academic İsmail Beşikçi or to attend a Kurdish poetry reading or concert. Instead, they were looking for their favorite author: Brazilian novelist José Mauro de Vasconcelos—who died in 1984. The boys explained that their favorite book was "My Sweet Orange Tree," based on the author's experiences growing up in a crowded family in the poor town of Bangu in Rio de Janeiro. Hearing that there was going to be a book fair in town, they hoped that the author would be among the writers signing books yesterday.

"We were looking for the writer, but we couldn't find him," said the boys. "There's a writer sitting at every stand. He must be here somewhere." They were hoping to get their copy of the book signed by the author.

The boys inquired at every stand at the book fair for the half-indigenous, half-Portuguese author, known for his imaginative works that tell the story of the lives of the poor. His most important works draw on his experiences of working as an agricultural laborer, fisherman, boxing instructor and other jobs. Of İsmet and Zafer's favorite book, José had said that, "I wrote it in 12 days, but I carried it in my heart for 20 years."

"'My Sweet Orange Tree' is a really weird book; you get bewitched by it. We heard there was a discount for children here so we came," said the boys. "We got his books 'Let's Wake Up the Sun' and 'Loose Cannon' [the sequels to 'My Sweet Orange Tree'], but somehow we couldn't find the author. We came so he could sign our books, but we still haven't seen him.

"He's probably not coming today. Maybe he'll come another day," said the boys.