Doha International Book Fair is in its full swing at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC) where cultural programmes, seminars, cultural evenings, lectures, workshops and book signing sessions as well as children’s activities continue to attract the public till January 18.
Qatar Forum for Authors is a hub of activities as every day new books are launched and discussed at the kiosk where writers, predominantly Qatari authors, are seen sharing their thoughts on different new books.
Sameera Obaid is one such female Qatari writer who has been long been writing poetry, short stories and academic books. A graduate from Qatar University in Arabic Literature, she is a critic, publisher, artist, pianist besides being a poet, writer and the literature teacher at the university.
Speaking to Community about her new book Washm Hareb min Alteen and about literature, Sameera said, “I am also a publisher. I am part of different Arab literary societies. I run Cultural Saloon in Doha. This is a literary society promoting not only Qatari literature but Arabic literature as well. In Arabic we call it Albnfasij. I have so far written four poetry books. One of my books is purely academic explaining how to write literary and creative pieces. Three books contain short stories. Currently, I am doing my fellowship with the Ministry of Culture and Sports.”
Washm Hareb min is an anthology of short stories. “There are stories about myself and about different people. Some stories are true and some are fictional. There are 16 short stories and some stories are only two sentences long.”
The short stories have also been translated into Urdu by Obaid Tahir, an Indian expatriate who works with Qatar Radio. It is named as Naqsh-e-Guraizan. Reading the interesting stories with attention makes it clearer that the author at many places is alluding to the ongoing Gulf crisis – the unjust blockade of Qatar. Her underlying strain is that the Gulf region cannot be divided as the people cannot move away from their origin.
Sameera has been writing from very early age. “I started writing diaries noting down my memories. I think I was 11-year-old when I started writing my memories. In my school, I was the part of the first team that started the school magazine. I collected the works of all girls who were writing poetry in the school at that time.”
Since then poetry and creative writings have become a part of Sameera’s life. “Poetry is my breath. It is my life. I cannot live without poetry and music. Whenever there is some situation I feel strongly about, I write about it. I feel myself a different person. I note down the happenings and my memories and then from my memories I write poetry. I prefer and write in blank verse. The first poetic piece I ever wrote was, I think, in 1979.”
The poetess considers that art is for the life sake. “Life is base of my writings. I believe in bringing about positive changes through literature and art. It is my way of life to try and work for betterment of society through my writings. I am also an artist/painter. I explain life not only in words but also in colours.”
Sameera expresses her satisfaction over how much interest Qatari women are taking in the literature and creative writings. “There are more female Qatari writers than their male counterparts. Literature is more popular among women. We have different literary forums that encourage women writers to publish their books. We also work with female writers other than Qataris. I also work with writers from other countries.”
The poetess feels further encouraged by the presence of the platform of Qatar Forum for Authors for the Qatari authors. “It was started in 2016. We have the booth for the forum at the book fair since 2018. Any Qatari writer who has published a book can come to the forum and promote his or her book. I also work with forum as a supervisor. Every day, we have around 20 people coming to us and talking about their books. This year, there are so many Qatari women who has brought their books to the fair. Here they can meet other writers and exchange their views.”
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