Somaliland: Hargeisa International Book Fair, 16th to the 21st of August 2013


Somalilandsun – Redsea-Online Cultural Foundation and its partners are delighted to invite you to the sixth Hargeisa International Book Fair (HIBF) taking place from the 16th to the 21st of August 2013 in Hargeisa, Somaliland.

Hargeisa International Book Fair has grown exponentially over the past six years, both in size and significance. It not only represents the main platform for the arts in Somaliland, but it is now one of the largest public celebrations of literature in East Africa.

The main aim of the HIBF is to promote a culture of literary arts through reading, writing, and engagement with authors and artists, and to make books, by local and international writers, accessible to members of the public. We aim to enable and encourage young people to access a range of cultural heritages and to stimulate their own creativity in order to bring about a revival of all forms of arts and human expression, including painting, poetry reciting, storytelling, drama composition and writing.

HIBF is honoured to host and present the work of diaspora Somali writers and scholars including the highly-esteemed playwright Said Salah, Professor Giorgio Banti, the writers Abdi-Latif Ega, Ahmed Sheikh Jama, Dr Mohamed Dahir Farah and Rashid Sheikh Abdilahi, and the Islamic scholar, public intellectual, and journalist Sheikh Mahmoud Sheik Dalmar. We are also delighted to welcome and introduce the upcoming talent, Ugaaso Abukar Boocow.

This year we are delighted to have attracted more mainstream writers and investors, such as the British poet, lecturer and translator of the work of the great Hadraawi, W.N.Herbert, the author and journalist, Michela Wrong, and the Nigerian lawyer, writer and publisher of African Writing magazine, Chuma Nwokolo Jr. Old friends are also coming, including Coco Ferguson and BBC Africa Editor and author of Getting Somalia Wrong? Faith, War and Hope in a Shattered State, Mary Harper.

HIBF has since its inception been a creative space for visiting artists from neighbouring countries. This year we again see many prominent authors and artists from Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia present their work and contribute to critical thinking and artistic dialogue in the region.

The International Book Fair also nominates a guest country as we are keen to increase the knowledge and awareness of the political landscape, culture and literature of other African nations. This year, our guest country is Kenya, and we are delighted to announce our partnership with ‘Kwani Trust’ a Kenyan literary network dedicated to developing creative writing and committed to the growth of the creative industry.

Theme: Journey

As visitors of the HIBF have come to expect, the weeklong discussions and events are centered around a theme. This year’s theme will be around the idea of ‘Journey’. ‘Journey’ is an inspiring word, relevant to Somalis in so many ways. The journey of the many around the world forced to abandon homes and seek new ones. The journey of the remaining souls who watched loved ones leave and saw their country change. The word ‘Journey’ tells the tale of the Somali existence. It tells the tale of optimism and hope, of being reborn through chaos, of the thirst for survival. This is our focus: the varying contexts and levels of a journey, whether they be social, political, individual or personal.

We are excited to have a photography exhibition on the recent history of Somaliland by three amazing photographers, Hamish Wilson, Petterik Wiggers and Kate Standmore. This fits in with our theme, as it will tell the amazing journey of the people of Somaliland.

Creative writing course

HIBF is committed to contributing to a culture of reading and writing in Somaliland and to increasing the skills and capacity of the many young and aspiring artists in Somaliland. Following on from the resounding success of the creative writing short course in 2012, we are delighted to announce the Book Fair will offer its second course to local writers and journalists to further develop their skills and prospects.

Sheeko iyo Shaahid

Sheeko iyo Shaahid is a literary competition reserved for young short story writers. It will be one of the highlights of the programme. Whilst it is aimed at young people, we have opened it up to anyone under the age of 40, as we believe some older writers never had the opportunity to develop their literary skills due to the war and all the hardships it caused.

See details of the fulls events here : Hargeisa book festival

On 2012 book fair read as viewd by Mary Harper