MOGADISHU, SOMALIA — Somalia’s annual Mogadishu International Book Fair has resumed following the suspension of the event last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Restrictions were applied to the invitation-only event this year in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The sixth edition of the Mogadishu book fair was a big distraction for residents of the capital, Mogadishu, away from the political tension linked to disagreements over the ongoing parliamentary elections in the country.
This year’s book fair was limited to a few people, especially authors, due to the coronavirus pandemic. But according to the founder of the fair, Mohamed Diini, organizers are already working to accommodate more people next year.
“In essence, we \really are doing about 10% of what we did and, ultimately, we just wanted to do something, even if it is little so that next year, we can go back to our previous state, Insha Allah,” Diini said.
Selected students from Mogadishu schools were invited this year to the children’s corner, where they enjoyed reading, storytelling and cultural tales.
Hanan Abdi Tahlil from Mogadishu International School is one of them.
She said she is very happy and excited to take part in the Mogadishu book fair this year, adding that they enjoyed storytelling from Cigaal Shidaad and Wiil Waal fictional tales among others. She also said she was looking forward to attending next year.
Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, who is busy resolving an electoral-related stalemate, congratulated the organizers of the book fair.
In a tweet, the prime minister stressed the need to encourage the pen and the book to replace arms and tribalism.