LISNA – The 35th Book of the Year Award of Islamic Republic of Iran's ceremony was held on Feb 7 at Vahdat Hall in Tehran. President Hassan Rouhani, Culture Minister, Seyyed Abbas Salehi and a number of writers, publishers, translators and other cultural figures attended the ceremony.
In his speech, president Rouhani expressed his gratitude to the present guest in the ceremony. "I am honourned to be among the scientists, writers and intellectuals during the Fajr period."
Iran recently celebrated its 39th anniversary of Islamic revolution marked by the 10-day period known as Fajr, starting from the arrival of Ayatollah Khomeini to Iran from exile on 1st of February 1979.
Rouhani described the Islamic revolution as a turning point in Iranian history. "Just like arrival of Islam into our country" he said "The Islamic revolution is a turning point in Iranian culture and civilization."
He called the post-revolution period of Iran an era of 'Dignity and flourishing' as opposed to era of 'humiliation of Iranian people by the colonizers and tyrants' during the pre-revolution times. "The Islamic revolution respected the thoughts and perspectives of people as well as our religious and national identity." Rouhani stated "Books had a critical role in this transformation. They enabled our arts and culture to enter a new realm."
The Iranian President also talked about issues that today may seem simple but during the early post-revolution time were major challenges. "The revolution opened new horizons for us. I was the director of the council of Radio and Television from 1981 to 1984 and at that time we used to have a lot of discussion with Imam Khomeini about issues that may seem simple today, but at the time were considered complex. The revolution was a step forward for the religious communities to get in touch with culture, especially the arts. They also paid more attention to books and reading."
Rouhani also mentioned about the crack downs during the Pahlavi regime only for possessing certain books. "The first target of assaults on houses was the libraries." He continues "The revolution was created from thoughts. These thoughts shaped new movements and environments that growth was evident in it. In this environment the future of our society was made."
He showed his support for digital publishing by saying "In the past books were written with ink on paper and today it is made digital. What's important is the thought and content in them."
President Rouhani criticized the censorship process and requested experts to take part in the Book Audit of the culture ministry. "I myself wrote a book that was stuck in the Book Audit for a few months." He said "Later I found out the auditor wasn't able to understand my book at all."
He asked the minister to leave the book auditing to expert associations of books and culture for a while. "If it didn’t succeed, we will restore it back again."
Rouhani expressed his support for the publishers and writers and asked the culture minister to do what they can to support them and the cause of reading. He also talked about the importance of social media and the internet. "There was a time when the authors, scientists and intellectuals would write and people would read, but today people are writing too. It is a two-way channel of communication now." He stated "Social media has created a new world. We should use this possibility for creativity and innovation in our country."
Iran's Culture Minister, Seyyed Abbas Salehi stated in this ceremony: "The Islamic revolution was born with book, just as Islam was born with a book. After the revolution books filled the streets and books were flowing in the streets of Tehran and other cities. The Islamic revolution needs books for its sustainability."
Salehi described books as the connection between science, culture, arts and social development.
The president of the jury of the 35th Book of the year award of Islamic republic of Iran, Mohammad Ali Mahdavi delivered a brief report of this year's books in his speech. "This year we had more than 51 thousand first edition books." Mahdavi said "This year 770 books were reviewed and 255 books made it to the final round."
The number of judges were all around 865. Among the nominees, 12 books won the main award and 28 books were given an appreciation prize. Mahdavi also stated that more two thousand books were submitted for the foreign category and among them 9 books were awarded.
The winners of The World Book Award of the Year of Islamic Republic of Iran:
· Richard E. Payne, A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity; University of California Press, 2016
· Silvia Balatti, Mountain Peoples in the Ancient Near East: The Case of the Zagros in the First Millennium BCE; Harrassowitz Verlag. Wiesbaden, 2017
· Pavel Pavlovitch, The Formation of the Islamic Understanding of Kalāla in the Second Century AH, Between Scripture and Canon; BRILL, 2016
· Nasrin Askari, The Medieval Reception of the Shāhnāma as a Mirror for Princes
· Sandra Aube, La céramique dans l'architecture en Iran au XVe siècle, les arts qarâ quyûnlûs et âq quyûnlûs; PUPS, Presses de l'Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2017
· Klaus von Stosch, Herausforderung Islam, Christliche Annäherungen; Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, 2017
· Regula Forster, Wissensvermittlung im Gespräch, Eine Studie zu klassisch-arabischen Dialogen; BRILL, 2017
· Shi Guang, Annotation and Translation of Tānksūqnāmeh, The Ilkhanate Treasure Book of Khatay&rsquos Sciences and Technologies; Peking University Press, 2016
· Ismail K. Poonawala, Epistles of the Brethren of Purity, Sciences of the Soul and Intellect, Part III, An Arabic Critical Edition and English Translation of Epistles 39-41
· Carmela Baffioni, Epistles of the Brethren of Purity, Sciences of the Soul and Intellect, Part III, An Arabic Critical Edition and English Translation of Epistles 39-41