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  • Writer's pictureGina Wilkinson

Where Fact Meets Fiction: Mutanabbi Market

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

There's a saying that Cairo writes, Beirut publishes, Baghdad reads. The proof is at Mutanabbi market, where I snapped this shot in 2003... The dictator Saddam Hussein had just been ousted, and for the first time in over a year I could venture out with a camera without fear of being branded a spy, jailed, or worse, I made a beeline for the old quarter to photograph my all-time favorite book market.

Over the years Mutanabbi has survived crackdowns by the former regime and bombings after the Iraq war. Today it continues to be a hub for Iraqi novelists, artists, and intellectuals. Rania and Ally, two of the main characters in my upcoming novel, When the Apricots Bloom, meet for the first time at this wonderful market. To find out more, or to receive a free excerpt, please subscribe to my newsletter.

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