The central Iranian city of Yazd, which was selected as Iran’s Book Capital for the Iranian year beginning March 20, 2019, has several plans to expand the designation to the World Book Capital 2022, said deputy culture minister for cultural and media affairs in Yazd Province.
The 32nd edition of the Tehran International Book Fair (TIBF) directed special attention to Yazd and thus located the Yazd pavilion in the open space of the TIBF to introduce the high capacity of the province in terms of literature, authorship and book publication.
The provincial officials did not limit the city to Iran’s Book Capital of the Year and have further plans for promoting a book reading culture.
Speaking about the process of obtaining the designation of Iran’s Book Capital of the Year, in an interview with Iran Daily, Khalaf Hootizadeh said that this was the result of four years of sustained efforts by governmental and non-governmental organizations, cultural and literary associations, as well as the private sector.
The Yazd pavilion at the TIBF imitated the historical architecture of Yazd and it provided a special opportunity to the city to present its cultural potentials, Hootizadeh added.
Touching upon important book-related projects in Yazd, he explained, the first Iranian art and culture passageway was launched in Yazd in Mazariha Alley and the first university book garden was also in Yazd.
Iran’s per capita book reading is very low, he said, although paper and printing costs are big issues and book production is highly dependent on demand, Iranians have a long way to get accustomed with the culture of reading.
Selecting Yazd as Iran’s Book Capital was based on the province’s programs to promote per capita book reading among the rural population and nomads, he said.
Among the programs for children are “Reading Angel” and “Book Music.” The latter motivates children to read books through music, he said, adding that one of the future plans will be launching a book champion league.
“We are making great efforts to be nominated for World Book Capital 2022,” he said, pointing to Yazd’s nomination for the title in the past, which was unfortunately not accepted.
The head of the Yazd Art Bureau, Mohammad-Sadeq Koochakzadeh, said to the Iran Daily reporter that Yazd is the first mud brick city of the world, and the second historical city whose 700 hectares of the old texture of Yazd are registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Recently, Yazd has been highly active in book publishing and the promotion of book reading, as well as constructing libraries throughout the province. In addition, there has been a lot of literary criticism sessions and unveiling ceremonies, he said.
A book entitled, ‘10th of Farvardin,’ compiled by Javad Behboodzadeh, has been published in two volumes. The 10th of Farvardin (March 30) is a day when people in Yazd held a public protest against the Pahlavi regime, and the date is marked as Yazd Day.
Yazd, Tabriz and Mashhad are among the three influential cities in the victory of the Islamic Revolution. The book is a research project in which Islamic Revolution-related events during 1963 and 1979 are included.