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British Embassy hosts Mogadishu Book Fair reception

Embassy hosts Mogadishu Book Fair reception as BBC journalist launched a book on Somalia

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) correspondent Andrew Harding launched a new book about Somalia at a ceremony held in Mogadishu on Saturday as the second annual book fair came to a close in Somali.

Titled ‘The Mayor of Mogadishu’, Harding’s book tells the story of former mayor Mohamed Ahmed Nur and draws on visits made by the author to Somalia over the past 16 years. The book paints a vivid picture of the country and the migration and resilience of its people as they recover from two decades of armed conflict.

Addressing the reception, UK Ambassador to Somalia Harriet Mathews said;

In Somalia, many people often focus on politics and security problems but the book fair gave me a real insight into the depth of Somali culture and how much there is an appetite for literacy and literature in Somalia

Federal Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Abdirahman Aynte said;

Although they can kill, maim and injure, they cannot stop (young Somalis) from celebrating one of the most beautiful things that humans do, which is to write and read

Harding said Mayor of Mogadishu is a book that not only Somalis can identify with but rather covers a range of issues such as migration.

Here is one family’s journey over many decades through the ups and downs of one country,

Mogadishu Book Fair organizer Mohamed Diini thanked Harding for attending this year’s Mogadishu Book Fair, which attracted thousands of people. Diini said it was a sign that Somalis were ready to “rebuild what was an amazing and beautiful place.”

The launch was also attended by the ex-mayor Nur, the Abdirahman Ali Aynte, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Michael Keating, USAID deputy Head of Mission Steve Olive and several Somali authors and researchers.

Mr. Nur praised the Harding book as an important work for Mogadishu and predicted that people “who have never read anything about Somalia would read it.”