In “A Writer and A Book” session, the Qatari Authors’ Forum hosted the author and artist Moudi Al-Hajri to present her experience in photographing and authoring her book “Yemen is a Love That Captivates You”. The session was held within the forum’s cultural program, moderated by the media journalist Saleh Gharib, who interviewed her about the contents of the book, which he described as a book of travel literature, 435 pages of large size. The book documents an aspect of Yemen’s cultural heritage and monuments.
Modi Al-Hajri started her speech by referring to her pride in this experience in writing a book on Yemen, the beautiful and ancient country that is rich in treasures that many people do not know about and do not realize its value and status. She noted that the issue started from a simple idea to travel and tourism with her husband. Yet, she found herself amid a great civilized experience, a good and ancient people, traditions, beautiful meanings and architecture whose beauty cannot be conveyed by mere description as well as the astonishing nature of mountains, valleys and waterfalls. “I thought it was just a journey,” she added, “but I saw wonder in every region, village and city. I was like Alice in Wonderland of Yemen, on a journey that spanned over seven years, which I strengthened by researching history, roots and origins, and answer questions such as: What do we mean to them? What do they mean to us?
On the plan for preparing and authoring the book, Modi Al Hajri said, “The first stage was for photography and with travel and movement, it became stories and tales worthy of narration. I started writing headlines and notes, and then I moved to a comprehensive plan in which I chose to write my personal notes and tell my story and narrate the facts of my trip and my observations. I also wrote notes about the photos taken and what they meant for me. Although I worked hard to cover and photograph historical and archaeological monuments, I chose to leave the historical dimension to specialists of that field.
She said that she made a great effort and took a long time spanning over eight months to choose the best among the thousands of most expressive photos, which provides an integrated vision and story about the experience.
The writer and photographer Moudi Al-Hajri presented notes on some of the book’s stages, speaking about her personal experience with the people of Yemen during trips that spanned over seven years. She spoke to people from cities, Bedouins, and coastal residents and fishermen. She wrote about landmarks and cities, including: Socotra Island, its nature, trees, and its inhabitants, and the cities of Shibam Kawkaban and Shibam Hadhramawt and Amara and their characteristic architecture of what is known as the Arab skyscrapers or Manhattan Yemen. She also wrote about the Raymah Mountains, the Yemen Gate, the Great Mosque in Sanaa, and the Throne of Bilqis in Marib as well as the cities of Saada and Radaa.
She concluded her speech by referring to the completion of preparations for the issuance of the English version of the book “Yemen is a love that captivates you.”
Modi Al-Hajri obtained certificates of thanks and appreciation from the General Secretariat of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf in 2001 and the Artistic Creativity Centre for Girls in 2002 and Qatar Centre for Voluntary Work in 2003. She participated in individual and joint exhibitions inside and outside Qatar, an international exhibition in Kazakhstan and the Arab Heritage Exhibition in Paris in 2006. She also participated in The Asian Visual Arts exhibition and the “Yemen is a love that captivates you” Exhibition in 2013.