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Large turnout at Mogadishu Book Fair, Somali president hails reading culture

Large turnout at Mogadishu Book Fair, Somali president hails reading culture


Hundreds of Somalis converged at the third annual Mogadishu Book Fair held for three days in the Somali capital.

At least 40 local and international writers including intellectuals, authors, scholars, playwrights, poets, musicians and book enthusiasts graced the occasion that involved book readings, sales, exhibitions, performances and interactive sessions.

The fair is touted as the biggest event in the country where the al Shabaab insurgency has become a stumbling block to social development.

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo said he was proud of the capital city and the country for organising the fair.

“A society that reads is a society that’s ready for progress,” he tweeted on the first day of the fair on Wednesday.

Among the participants are award-winning photojournalist and activist Boniface Mwangi from Kenya, Somali language researcher Peter Chonka from the United Kingdom and book publisher Dominique Uwase Alonga from Rwanda.

Mohamed Sheik-Ali Ahmed, the founder and organizer of the event, said the fair was created to promote reading, Somali culture and heritage by bringing together literary creatives and young people.

Another organiser Said Bashir told local media portal Goobjoog that the event was postponed from the August date to September so as to be able to accomodate the international participants as well.

He added that they focused on new writers to show the world what they had to offer.

In attendance were Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, Turkey’s Ambassador to Somalia Olgan Bekar and the United Nations Special Representative to Somalia Michael Keating.

The Mogadishu Book Fair was first organised in 2015 and has since gained a wider attention. Other Somali cities including Hargeisa, Kismayo and Garowe also hold annual book fairs.

Below are some sights from the event.

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