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Top Czech literary authors made their mark at the Hargeysa International Book Fair

In recent days, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Addis Ababa participated for the second time at the Hargeysa International Book Fair (HIBF), Somaliland. This is one of the largest public book fairs in the whole Horn of Africa. This year was the fifteenth edition of this event, which main theme was Wadajir (Solidarity). Every year, writers, poets, artists and thinkers from not only Somaliland but from all over the world gather here to share and discuss their artistic and literary works. The event, organized by the Redsea Online Culture Foundation, aims to give young people access to cultural heritage, thus promoting reading and writing in the region by producing quality literature. The new guest country after Ethiopia was Senegal.

The Czech Republic was also represented at the fair for the second time. At its stand, the Czech Republic presented the best of Czech literature (translated into many world languages – English, French, Spanish, Somali or Chinese to international and Somaliland visitors. Novels, historical and political literature or travelogues by leading Czech travelers and scholars - Zikmund and Hanzelka or Emil Holub - were the most represented at the Czech stand.

However, as in the previous year, the most famous Czech writers were those who attracted the most interest. Names such as Franz Kafka, Milan Kundera, Karel Čapek or Jan Neruda are no strangers to African readers, who did not hesitate to take works such as Prague Tales, War with the Newts, RUR, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Joke, The Castle or Metamorphosis to their home bookshelves. The Embassy of the Czech Republic would like to thank the publishing houses:  Kant, Pavel Mervart, Dar ibn Rushd, Vitalis, Packet, Akcent, Kopp, Nová vlna, Práh and Petrkov, which represented most of the Czech titles at the fair.

The fair also included various panel discussions, accompanied by seminars, lectures and workshops. This year, the audience was able to listen to well-known scientists, historians, professors, artists and writers, who had the opportunity to present their new works to the audience in person. The fair takes place traditionally in July when the Somaliland diaspora comes back to their country for holidays. The event was accompanied by concerts and dance performances by traditional Somaliland groups.


HIBF 2022