Writers, poets and artists from Somaliland and overseas gathered for the 7th annual Hargeysa International Book Fair (HIBF) on 8th-13th of August this year. HIBF is the largest cultural event in Somaliland and one of the greatest book fairs in all of East Africa. The festival aims to promote reading and writing by producing and publishing Somali literature and translating international literature into Somali language. The fair is organised by Redsea Online Cultural Foundation and supported by several national and international foundations and organisations.
The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs also participated in the festival by supporting the Helsinki-based Somaliland Seura. The association sent a delegation of seven people to the festival to arrange a program “Northern Winds”, which consisted of presentations by three Finnish nationals of Somali origin: Amran Mohamed Ahmed, a poet, journalist and cultural ambassador, Nura Farah, who recently published her first novel “Daughters of the Desert” in Finnish language and Naima Mohamud, a film director, screenwriter, columnist and photographer.
Other remarkable performers of the festival included the Hargeysa-born former minister of foreign affairs of Somalia, Edna Aden, the renowned writer Nuruddin Farah, the prominent poet and songwriter Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame and the London-based novelist Nadiifa Mohamed. More international presence was provided by a group of Malawian poets and several foreign journalists, photographers and academics.