Hargeisa International Book Fair

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Hargeisa International Book Fair
VenueHargeisa Exhibition Hall
Location(s)Hargeisa, Somaliland
Organized byRedsea Online Culture Foundation

The Hargeisa International Book Fair (HIBF) (Somali: Bandhigga Caalamiga ah ee Buugaagta Hargeysa) is an annual cultural event in the republic of Somaliland. It is one of the largest public book fairs in the Horn of Africa. Every summer, HIBF brings writers, poets, artists and thinkers from Somaliland and from all over the world gather to share and discuss their art and literary productions with a wider audience. The main goal of the festival is to promote a culture of reading and writing in the region by producing and publishing high quality Somali literature and translating international classical literature (including fiction, poetry and drama) into Somali. Organized by the Redsea Online Culture Foundation, the event aims to enable young people to access a range of cultural heritages, with the intention of stimulating the revival of all forms of art and human expression, including painting, poetry reciting, story-telling, drama composition and writing.[1][2][3][4][5]

12th Hargeysa International Book Fair (20-25 July 2019)



The Hargeisa International Book Fair was inaugurated in 2008 by Jama Musse Jama, who serves as Director.[6] It grew from 200 to 10,000 participants over the following six years.


HIBF targets not only a young audience, but wider sectors of society. It aims to help foster cultural understanding, tolerance, democracy, and an appreciation of the diversity of Somali culture and literature. In the past few years, the Redsea Online Culture Foundation's festivals have served to raise the profile of reading and writing in the Somaliland region, and also unite youth from different provinces in the area. The main goal of the book fair is to promote critically thinking cultural and creative writing, to facilitate the habit of reading, to display books, from both local and writers abroad, to encourage members in the public to browse, read, engage with authors, serve as an inspiration to young people, and the wider society.

Parallel events and joint ventures[edit]

Somaliland Moving Library: The Moving Library Tour is the Book Fair's flagship outreach event. An exciting initiative, it takes place a week before the opening of the festival in Hargeisa and is held across all regions of Somaliland. It aims to bring the ethos and principles of the Book Fair – of citizenship and creative freedoms – closer to aspiring writers and readers outside of the city.

Guests of honour and themes[edit]

Year Guest of honour Focus of interest Theme of the year Motto
2008 Freedom Theme: Freedom Gobannimo bilaash maaha (Freedom is not for free)
2009 Censorship Theme: Censorship The power of the written word
2010, July 23-27 Citizenship Theme: Citizenship Give me books, not bombs
2011 Collective memory Theme: Collective memories If you love me, give me a book as a gift
2012 Djibouti Djiboutian literature Theme: Future Faralaab ka dhigo buug (make a book your companion)
2013 United Kingdom British literature Theme: Journey
2014, August 8-13 Malawi Theme: Imagination Set Your Imaginations Free, Higher Still, And Still Higher
2015, August 1-6 Nigeria Theme: Spaces
2016, July 23-28 Ghana Theme: Leadership
2017, July 22-27 South Africa Theme: Connectivity
2018, July 21-26 Rwanda Theme: Wisdom
2019, July 20-25 Egypt Theme: Coexistence

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Somaliland: Hargeisa International Book Fair: A Growing Nation of Books and Literature". Somaliland Standard. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  2. ^ "Somaliland: Vice-President Sayli Opens Hargeisa International Book Fair". Somaliland Sun. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Somaliland: 12th Edition of Hargeisa International Book Fair Kicks Off". Horn Diplomat. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  4. ^ "11th book fair underway in Somaliland to reclaim cultural identity". Africa News. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  5. ^ "Somaliland : Visualizing the Future with the Hargeisa International Book Fair". Afri Cultures. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  6. ^ "Announcement: 2010 Hargeysa International Book Fair (HIBF) 23rd of July to the 27th of July 2010 in Hargeysa". Baadiya. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2014.


External links[edit]