Postcard from... Hargeisa
Tuesday 19 August 2014
A week-long international book fair that attracted writers from Africa, Europe and North America has just wound up in Somaliland, an arid and sparsely populated statelet on the Horn of Africa that has struggled unsuccessfully to gain world recognition since declaring independence in 1991.
It was the seventh book fair to be held in the capital, Hargeisa, a bustling if tumbledown city where locals compete for space on dusty roads with armies of itinerant goats. Hay-on-Wye it isn’t. However, in a region better known for piracy and Islamist terrorism, the country has remained relatively stable since it broke away from its dysfunctional neighbour, Somalia, following a civil war. What the city lacks in book fair chic was more than made up for by the enthusiasm of the hundreds who crammed the venue for daily discussions and readings. The literacy rate has risen from one-in-five to one-in-two since independence.
The fair showcased local writers – the country has a strong poetic tradition – and those from the diaspora, such as South Africa-based Nuruddin Farah, a regular nominee for the Nobel Prize for literature, and Londoner Nadifa Mohamed, 32, whose second novel, The Orchard of Lost Souls, came out last year.
- 2 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over King Abdullah tributes
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...
£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...