"Basrayatha" is a literary tribute by author Muhammad Khudayyir to the city of his birth, Basra, on the Shatt al-Arab waterway in southern Iraq. Just as a city's inhabitants differ from outsiders through their knowledge of its streets and stories, so Khudayyir distinguishes between the real city of Basra and the imagined city he created through stories, experiences, and folklore. By turns a memoir, a travelog, a love letter, and a meditation, "Basrayatha" summons up a city long gone, yet which lives on in the memories and imaginations of its people. In the tradition of Calvino and Borges, Khudayyir's mesmerizing work itself illuminates and enriches the story of this magnificent city.
Muhammad Khudayyir was born in Basra, Iraq, where he still lives. Author of several collections of short stories, he was awarded the Oweiss Prize in 2004. William Hutchins is the principal translator of several books, including The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz and Ten Again and Other Stories by Ibrahim al-Mazini.