In 2017, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of Hargeysa International Book Fair, and we were focusing on our chosen theme of Connectivity. Each year, HIBF has focused on a specific theme and we have previously explored themes including Freedom, censorship, citizenship, collective memory, visualization the future, Journey, Imagination, Spaces and Leadership & Creativity. In the last nine years, we have had six guest countries including Nigeria, Malawi, Ghana, Kenya, and Djibouti as well as none African countries such as the United Kingdom. Our guest country last year was Ghana, with eight authors and artists attending HIBF2016 and we had the privilege to host South Africa this year. The preparations for the book fair went well, artists attended, hotel bookings and other technicalities fixed, and the dates of the book fair were 22-27 July 2017.

Because we are celebrating 10 years of HIBF, we wanted the culture celebrates the city of Hargeysa. We therefore proposed to have multiple venues and arranged contemporary parallel sessions.  This was also to improve our policy of reach out to diversify the audience and offer quality delivery according to the specific audience. Educational institutions like University of Hargeysa, Somaliland National Library new site, cultural hubs like Hiddo Dhawr and Laalays restaurants, as well as our historical venue at Guuleed Hotel and the new venue of the Hargeysa Cultural Centre, in the heart of the city, hosted different and sometimes parallel events during the six days program.

As culture is to know the other people and their places: HIBF organized this year a tour within the program at Laas Geel, a historical archeological site located 45 KM from Hargeysa in East. A poetry reading session took place in the village at Laas Geel.

The 11th Hargeysa International Book Fair will take place in Hargeysa from 21-26 July 2018. This year the festival incorporates the 40th Anniversary of the Somali Studies International Association, which coincides also the 13th Congress. More information to come soon on both HIBF and SSIA, so watch this space s well as the official website of the Book Fair: For the Somali Studies International Association congress, refer also

11th Hargeysa International Book Fair – 21-26 July 2018

11th Hargeysa International Book Fair – 21-26 July 2018, Hargeysa, Somaliland

We are pleased to announce that the Hargeysa International Book Fair  (HIBF) will held 21-26 July 2018 in Hargeysa, Somaliland. Last year, we celebrated the festival’s 10th anniversary with our chosen theme of Connectivity, this year we start the next decade with our theme of Wisdom. As an organization we have always sort to promote a “connected, open, creative and tolerant society led by wisdom”, and not by emotions; a society that has survived within its own mechanism, culture, heritage and knowledge production. From the 9th century BeytulHekmi (or Dar'ulHekma) in the Islamic Golden Age in Bagdad to the Somali wise men and women who guided the society in the traditional judiciary system, and who governed with authoritative leadership, the virtue of having wisdom as attribute, always gave few people a distinguished mandate to lead. What happened to that virtue? Who are our chosen vanguards today? What do the literature, the traditional oral poetry and arts had to do with the wisdom? Are men of literature loosing their appeal? Do the radical transformation of the Somali society in the recent time deteriorated the essence of wisdom of the ordinary people? These are the questions that we will seek to answer collectively.

Intertwined with this, HIBF2018 will be hosting Somali Studies International Association 22-24 July 2018 (SSIA18), with Somali knowledge production filled by foreign people (something we often ignore) during a period of difficulties of war - it is important to consider how that factor changed Somali literature and how with a young Somali scholars emerging once again to claim their space within Somali knowledge production- this yet again will change and shape our understanding.

Last year we had the privilege of hosting South Africa as our guest country- this year we will welcome Rwanda, a country which less than three decades ago was embroiled in horrific genocide, but which has reemerged as a proud, progressive and leading country in Africa. Rwanda is also reclaiming its narrative and knowledge production and we are pleased to welcome writers, poets and film-makers, but also policy makers and influential people that shaped the recent history of Rwanda.   The parallel between Somaliland’s own difficult recent history and road recovery are many- and with Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame elected as the 2018 chairperson for African Union, it seems that their futures are also intertwined.

We look forward to welcoming each and every one of you to Hargeysa International Book Fair 2018.

Dr. Jama Musse Jama


Hargeysa Cultural Center

20th March 2018


The Hargeysa Cultural Center was opened in August 2014 in Hargeysa, Somaliland. The Center was established by Redsea Cultural Foundation (RCF). Since its establishment, the Hargeysa Cultural Center has become an important feature in Hargeysa’s cultural landscape. The success of the center owes much to the respect that RCF has gained from its work on running the annual Hargeysa International Book Fair, which, now in its eighth year, has become one of the most admired cultural events in the region.

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