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Modern-day 'cultural Sinbad' spreads literature across Iraq

Star Mohsen Ali is unique in his travels across Iraq's provinces to sell and promote books to a generation increasingly thirsty for literature.
Residents shop for books at Mutanabi Street in Baghdad April 18, 2014.  REUTERS/Ahmed Saad (IRAQ - Tags: SOCIETY) - RTR3LSX2

The worsening violence plaguing Iraq has not prevented the bookseller Star Mohsen Ali from organizing book fairs in cities and provinces across the country. Since his first exhibition in the southern town of Shatra four years ago, Ali has held 53 book fairs, including in the roiling cities of Mosul and Tikrit.

The owner of a bookshop on well-known Mutanabi Street in Baghdad, Ali believes that reading is a must. Books, he thinks, are not meant to adorn bookshelves. Iraq's provinces are suffering from a weak provisioning of books, leading to a shortage in the supply of new and rare publications, so Ali delivers the publications he manages to obtain to those in need.

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