It has a vocation for perenniality. Like Don Juan Tenorio, which returns in November, The Thousand and One Nights returns to the Madrid Book Fair in symbiosis with Casa Árabe. A collaboration that began last year on the initiative of its directors, Eva Orúe and Irene Lozano, respectively, and which has been strengthened for this year's edition, from 26 May to 10 June.
"For us," says Lozano, "it is a great opportunity to be part of such an extraordinary cultural event as the Book Fair". She points out that, as well as repeating and reinforcing the collaboration between the two institutions, there will be innovations. Thus, in addition to the parades of dance and music from different traditions of the Arab East and West, which will unite the two venues, the Book Fair and Casa Árabe, concerts will be held in the latter in the evening. From the ethnic roots of El Naán to the Afro-Mediterranean melodies of Sinouj, including the poetry set to music by Walid Ben Selim, the rap of Free Sis Mafia (Huda, Laura, Siyahamba and Silvia) and the trap of We$t Dubai.
The core of the collaboration, "The Thousand and One Nights", will have three reading workshops this year, coordinated by the writer Jesús Urceloy, in which the paths taken by this prodigious book, which has indelibly marked world literature, will be analysed.
Irene Lozano highlights the importance of the Virtual Mathematical Walk through al-Andalus. It will take place in the Caixabank Pavilion at the Fair, and in this virtual tour of the Alhambra in Granada, the Mosque and Synagogue in Cordoba and the Giralda, Torre del Oro and Real Alcázar in Seville, visitors will be able to enjoy a different view of their Andalusian heritage, integrating science, art and history with the help of the latest technological tools.
Casa Árabe is also reinventing the oral tradition with the help of professional storyteller Héctor Urién. This biologist proposes to take the audience by the hand through The Arabian Nights and the Arabian oral tradition, peppering his narration with unsuspected scientific elements from the Arab world.
Eva Orúe, the director of the Book Fair, points out that this event "takes place every year for seventeen days, in the heart of the Retiro Park, surrounded by cultural institutions". And it has been proposed that the collaboration already established with Casa Árabe should be extended to Casa de América, the Prado, Reina Sofía and Thyssen museums, Caixaforum, Ateneo, Círculo de Bellas Artes and the Royal Academy of Language. A hub and a network which, together with the Book Fair, place Madrid at the head of the world's great cultural capitals.
She herself magnifies "the haven of peace that the Casa Árabe garden represents", as the best way to conclude days packed with people and full of conferences, colloquiums, book presentations and book signings by their authors.