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Whistler Reads: MAURITANIA

abstract:Whistler Reads next event presents a rather unique personal circumstance. As the director of this program I have had the honour of putting on some 36 book events hosting various authors from near and far. This time the topic of discussion is a book I published this January. Some dear Whistler friends have offered to host the book launch and discussion in their lovely home. Please join us April 20th, 2013 between 6 and 8pm at the Nadeau residence 8417 Big Sky Terrace in Whistler BC, V0N 8B0 (click link for map). I hope the topic intrigues you. This is a large profile coffee table book on the West African nation of Mauritania (published by Ewrks Media, January 2013) containing photographs and text in three languages: English, French and Arabic. If you browse the travel section of most well-stocked book stores, you will not find another book on Mauritania like this in the English language. Books on North Africa may offer a few pages in between Morocco and Algeria. Books in French are a decade old.

I will seed the discussion on the facets of this fascinating, but little known emerging nation: its landscapes, history, culture, economy and place within the geo-political climate since the Arab Spring.

Having traveled to the country twice, first with the CEO of Red Back Mining, Rick Clark who introduced me to President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the Minister of Tourism and the Minister of Mines to determine the intent and scope of the book. Then for a second trip in April and May of 2011 in the company of my photographer, Gary Fitzpatrick, our trilingual interpreter, escorts and drivers who joined us for the material collection phase—which entailed travel throughout the capital, to major towns and medieval villages in the countryside and within the Sahara desert, to UNESCO World Heritage sites and wildlife sanctuaries in order to capture photographs and conduct subject interviews.

We returned with over


April 01, 2013
— 10,000 photographs and interviews with people spanning all walks of life: artists and musicians; academics and educators, students of all ages; Senators and government workers; business people and merchants; miners, fishermen, and farmers; nomadic peoples, herders and dairy workers; security agencies and military; newspaper editors and radio station broadcasters; religious leaders and supplicants; NGO and aid workers, foreign national executives and workers.

What we discovered was a proud nation with a long history and distinct traditions in the midst of transition - all eager for stability, progress and opportunity. I hope you will join us.

My thanks in advance to Anastasia and Rod Nadeau, co-hosts Lindsay and Keith Lambert. This book would not be possible without the support of the Red Back Mining and Kinross Gold Corp, the Mauritanian Government, all the people on our in-country and post production "dream teams", and the kind and generous people of Mauritania who spoke with us, hosted us and gave so graciously of their time and hospitality.

Copies of the book will be on hand. Please join our Facebook page.

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