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A little piece of Baghdad in the Bay

One of Caifornia’s loveliest independent bookstores is The Great Overland Book Company, located in the Inner Sunset. Owner Beau Beausoleilnot only runs the bookstore, but also runs the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition--a community of writers and artists that produce a collection of work to raise awareness about in support and commemoration of a major bombing on the street in Iraq in 2007.

Al-Mutanabbi Street been Baghdad's literary center for centuries. Poets, authors, thinkers, and provocateurs have all come together on the winding Al-Mutanabbi street to exchange ideas and sell books for more than 800 years. But three years ago, the street was bombed. Many booksellers died, and hundreds of priceless books were destroyed.

When that happened, one San Francisco bookstore owner took it upon himself to help out. Beau Beausoleil runs The Great Overland Book Company, a bookshop on Judah Street, in the Inner Sunset. He started the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition, a growing group of local writers, artists, poets, and printers, who create awareness about the bombing of Al-Mutanabbi Street through print. 

KALW’s Hana Baba visited Beau Beausoleil at his bookshop on Judah Street, and asked him about his interest in Al-Mutanabbi Street.

Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.