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Final Call! Al-Mutanabbi Street Broadsides - Round Four - Summer 2009

Al-Mutanabbi Street Broadsides - Round Four - Summer 2009
To protest & commemorate the bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street, the centre of bookselling in Baghdad, on March 5th 2007, the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition* has been organising readings and other events since April 2007 as fundraisers for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

The broadside image here is by Darren De La Pena

On March 5th 2007, a car bomb was exploded on Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad.

Al-Mutanabbi Street is in a mixed Shia-Sunni area. More than 30 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded. Al-Mutanabbi Street, the historic centre of Baghdad bookselling, holds bookstores and outdoor bookstalls, cafes, stationery shops, and even tea and tobacco shops. It has been the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community.

Any group that wants to control a people also wants to control the content of every printed page, and they inevitably come to regard any other unsanctioned page as a possible threat. Oppression extracts not just a terrible human toll, but it also subtracts the words and images of the writers/ artists who hold and express the cultural memory of any people.

"I've come to feel that wherever someone sits down to read, or where someone takes up their pen and paper to write, it is there that al-Mutanabbi Street starts." - Beau Beausoleil - Founder of the al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition.

We are extending our call to letterpress printers to contribute a personal response to the bombing on al-Mutanabbi Street.

To date, we have received 90+ broadsides from letterpress printers in the USA, Canada, U.K. Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. The first 42 broadsides may be viewed at the Florida Atlantic University/Jaffe Center for Book Arts site:

The third and fourth calls for works will also be archived on the website. We would like to invite more artists from around the world to add to the archive, to bring the total to 130 broadsides, which is the approximate number of people killed and wounded on al-Mutanabbi Street that day.

We are interested in a personal response from You. Your own writing, or the writing of poets in combination with powerful visuals can speak to the commonality of al-Mutanabbi Street with our own streets that hold a bookstore or cultural institution.

We only need 21 more printers to complete the project so please join us!

Can you contribute a broadside print?

Here’s how it will work: We are asking each printer to contribute at least fifteen signed and numbered broadsides so that we can make sets and sell them.

Proceeds will benefit Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Broadsides should be between 9" x 12" and 12" x 18" (portrait or landscape orientation). Paper is the choice and responsibility of the printer. PLEASE be certain that copyright permission is held for any work you undertake; we will be unable to include the broadside in the sets for sale if copyright is not indicated. The content is your choice.

Download the instructions file and

Deadline for the broadsides: 15th September 2009

For further information or if you are interested in participating please contact: Coordinator of Mutanabbi Street Broadside Project IV, Beau Beausoleil at:

You will be added to an email list and will receive information as it develops, and we will know how many broadsides to plan to receive.

Thanks, and we look forward to working together.

Upon completion of this project we hope to show all 130 broadsides to the public in one large show- a complete set of 130 broadsides will be donated to the iraqi national library in Baghdad.

UK / European artists who would like to contribute, to save postage costs to the USA, you can send your prints to Sarah Bodman (by 1st September 2009), to be sent on at no cost to you, at:

Centre for Fine Print Research
UWE, Bristol
School of Creative Arts
Kennel Lodge Road

Tel: +44 (0) 117 32 84915.

Please e-mail : to say they are coming when you send them.

If you prefer to send your prints directly to the organiser, the address is:

Beau Beausoleil
Al-Mutanabbi Street Broadside Project
c/o The Great Overland Book Company
345 Judah Street
San Francisco, California, 94122 U.S.A.

Please email:

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here!

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