Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Saturday, October 18, 2014
I met Layal in Beirut during one of the famous tea ceremony at Yasmeen’s. Which was somehow funny as my own daughters’ names are Layal and Yasmine. Layal works as a translator and her name popped up naturally when I needed some proofreading for the Arabic sentences. She was as picky as I desperately wanted (and as I am myself), finding missing shaddehs or suggesting proper caesurea. Without her intervention, "The Beirut Book" would not have been as neat as I had in mind. That’s a fact.
Friday, October 17, 2014
I met Micho through a very good friend we have in common. He is the kind of gentle guy you have the chance to meet once in a while, always ready to help. After getting Celine’s work, he came to my place to explain the minor modifications I had to make on "The Beirut Book". And for that matter, we spent a night to listen to Lebanese songs, to check their lyrics online. Micho loves his culture and all the popular Lebanese songs. And I, I respect his roots as I love his spirit. That’s a fact.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
I met Yasmeen a few years ago in Beirut. My best (Lebanese, not Canadian) friend introduced her to me as his sweety. She turned to be a passionate person and an talented translator. In 2011, she managed the translation of my second book, "Beyrouth sur écoute / Wiretapping Beirut" (Amers Editions). Then, I had no doubt to ask her for some translation and copy editing in Russian to complete "The Beirut Book". She moved back to Kiev last February and I miss her very very much. That’s a fact.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
I met Eileen last June in Beirut (thanks to Valérie Nehmé by the way), after posting on Facebook asking for someone able to write/edit/create in Armenian. Eileen happens to be a talented Armenian singer and composer. So I asked for her help to compose… sentences in Armenian. We met a couple of times, she told me stories about her people and one day, she came to my place with some books. Books from Armenians authors I’ve never heard about. Of course. We picked some sentences together, she gave her father some phone calls just to be sure of some words’ meaning. Without her help, "The Beirut Book" would not have been complete. That’s a fact.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
I met Celine last November in London. We were both part of a design exhibition at the Graffik Gallery. I did not know her but when I discovered her work, I was charmed. By the refinement of Scene Beirut's designs, and by her brand's manifesto. Back to Beirut a few weeks later, I was pleased to buy a couple of pouffes from her collection. Finally, last spring, I asked her to pick sentences from songs or books in Arabic and to create a font specially for "The Beirut Book". And she did an amazing job. That’s a fact.
Monday, October 13, 2014
I met Tania a long long time ago in Beirut. In 2000 if I’m correct. She worked as a freelance journalist for the weekly Magazine where I spent 6 years as the sub-editor. She was the kind of girl to have one hundred ideas per hour during our editorial conferences. Since then, she founded Tamyras, one of the most active publishing houses in Beirut. Last year at the Beirut Book Fair, she wrote something on Beirut Prints’ wall: "Beyrouth n’est pas impossible." That’s a fact.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Autumn smells good in Beirut. Beirut Prints is proud to announce David Hury's fourth book, soon to be published by Tamyras, a Beiruti publishing house managed by Tania Hadjithomas Mehanna. Production is under way at 53Dots Dar el-Kotob printing house, color correction and proof reading will soon lead to the final step: printing and binding the book.
So, what's "The Beirut Book" about anyway? Twelve months ago, David managed a booth at the Beirut Book Fair, here in Beirut, asking people to write a few words about their city.
David's foreword says it all:
The Beirut Book was born from a series of illustrations inspired by the enamelled blue name plates found at the corner of Beirutís streets, and created by Beirut Prints, a collective of photographers formed three years ago. Initially, these illustrations relied on a simple principle: twist the phrasing of well-known quotations to include the word "Beirut". The very first one was inspired by the U2 song "Where the Streets Have No Name". An observation that turned out to be false since the streets of Beirut actually have names even when its inhabitants are rarely aware of them. Later, this phrase spawned others, all drawn from the language of Shakespeare and pop culture: "Star Wars", Nirvana, "Aliens", Orwell...
A few weeks later, in fall 2013, the idea was reimagined as an interactive activity during the book fair "Salon du livre francophone de Beyrouth". (...) Visitors of the book fair were able to try their hand at the exercise. They wrote what they wished about the city. In ten days, more than three hundred people had taken part in the game. Lebanese visitors, foreigners, authors. Swedes, Frenchmen, Afghans and Lebanese. A Goncourt winner. A Renaudot winner, and other eminent figures. And later more "penmen" such as composers, photographers, filmmakers, a prime minister, an ambassador... In this book, everyone has been treated equally and identified with a first name and an initial.
All these words were mixed with those of ordinary passers-by and with those that social media users put up online. And naturally, languages followed suit. On the wall plastered with pieces of paper and blue ink, there was English, French and Arabic of course, but also Armenian, Croatian, German, Swedish, Russian, Dutch, Spanish, Italian... This diversity is in Beirutís image. Difficult to faithfully reproduce.
(...) "The Beirut Book" has neither page numbers nor chapters or theme classifications. The pages that follow reflect the way Beirutis (at heart or just stopping over, and whatever their origins) perceive their city: chaotic, tender, full of hatred, libertarian, fettered, amorous, sexy, nostalgic, critical, unbearable, cynical...
So, stay tuned to know more about "The Beirut Book". We'll soon talk about the people involved in the project.
In the meantime, you can like Beirut Prints Facebook fan page, Tamyras Facebook fan page, or follow David on Instagram or Twitter.