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Tales of an island

June 6 - June 12, 2024
Gulf Weekly Tales of an island
Gulf Weekly Tales of an island

Gulf Weekly Naman Arora
By Naman Arora

A popular book which shares the stories of 100 Bahrain lovers, both citizens and expatriates from across the island, will once again be available for eager fans next Wednesday.

Spellbinding storyteller Tanzeel Jabbar-Khadir, 45, is set to release a reprint of her popular book 100 Bahrain Stories, which was first released in 2018.

“Six years have passed since this book’s initial publication and nearly a decade since its inception. In that time Bahrain has witnessed shifts, yet its essence endures,” the Australian expatriate with Indian-Pakistani heritage, who has lived in Bahrain for 16 years, told GulfWeekly.

“This re-release upholds the tradition of celebrating humanity.

“The stories are so special, I want them to be loved and appreciated all over again. 

“Over the years, people have contacted me asking if I still have copies of the book. Now I can finally say there are more copies available!”

Featuring stunning portraits, alongside quoted vignettes of each featured individual’s life, Tanzeel’s self-funded project is, from start to finish, a product of Bahrain, highlighting local stories, and being printed locally.

The first print of 1,000 copies quickly sold out, after online followers of the Facebook project spread the word and made it a success.

“Facebook was still in vogue in 2015 and when I initially began posting each story online, my project gained a steady following,” Tanzeel reminisced.

“Once it went to print, I think it was my followers that spread the word of the book’s release and made it a small success. “It was also exciting that part of the profits from the sale of the book were donated to local charities like Rotaract Bahrain and The Saturday Biryani Party With Workers. It was good to give back to the local community in some small way.”

In her introduction to the book, Tanzeel, a lawyer by profession who lives in Janabiya with her husband and two children, emphasises that the “construct of identity is a central theme in most, if not all of the stories.”

In the reprint, she has also included a small tribute to those who have passed away since the book was first released.

Among these is the late journalist and entrepreneur Abdullah Jonathan Wallace, who died last year, aged 79, in Bahrain where he made his home for the previous 18 years. In his foreword to the original book, Abdullah had spoken of how it reflected “not only the broad spectrum of the multinational community of expatriates living in Bahrain today, but the diversity of  Bahrainis themselves, whose ancestry has been shaped over five millennia of recorded history.”

With stories from nationals hailing from Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, UK and the US, the book is a true mosaic of the kingdom’s cultural canvas.

Tanzeel, who did most of the interviewing, writing and photography for the book, getting help with a handful of stories and photographs from some of her talented friends, has already started collecting stories for a sequel.

“I am working on another Bahrain Stories – I’m not sure it will be a 100 this time,” she added.

“I am in the process of interviewing once again and it’s exciting to get back to it. I am looking for more stories, so if readers want to recommend someone, please feel free to message me on Instagram.

“I am excited to be guided by the people my audience wants to hear about. I’m also trying to post primarily on Instagram and am also considering Substack. Facebook seems a little archaic now!”

The reprint of 100 Bahrain Stories will be available for BD13 at Jashanmal with more bookstores to be announced soon.

For more details, follow @bahrain_stories on Instagram.

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