Book lovers and enthusiast are today gathering at the coastal city of Kismayu for the inaugural Kismayu Book Fair.
Organisers of the event have told Goobjoog News the two day event will feature 400 titles including cultural exhibitions aimed at promoting a passion for books and Somali culture.
“We have 400 titles and close to 2000 books in total. We endevour to promote a reading culture among our people and also Somali culture. We successfully organized the Garowe Book Fair last year and we are also bringing one here,” said Mohamed Hassan the founder of Scansom Publishing Company which is the main organizer of the event.
The organisers also noted they fixed the date to coincide with the international mother tongue day celebrated globally today with the aim of encouraging more writers to pen books in the local language.
“As you know today is the international mother tongue day, we set the Book Fair for today as a message to writers both established and upcoming to develop their passion for writing in the Somali language,” said Abdinasir Saxansoxo the director of Jubbaland TV and also one of the organisers.
Saxansoxo said the holding of the Book Fair in Kismayu is testament of stability in the coastal city which was once strife ridden by militia groups. The militant group Al-Shabaab was pushed out of the city in 2012 during a Kenya forces incursion.
Author and organizer Mohamud Dirie said the book fair does not only encompass books but also artifacts and traditional works of art aimed at inspiring book writing, reading and interest in the Somali culture especially among young people.
“We have different titles in display and also traditional works of art to not only promote interest in books but also the passion for our culture. Having worked at the National Museums in Mogadishu years back, I feel it is important that we include the component of traditional works of art in such a fair,” said Dirie.
And to Somalis abroad, Dirie notes the Book Fair should inspire them and create understanding that Somalia is not ridden with conflict as is reported but that many good things including flourishing culture of reading, writing and book trade happen.
Other organizer of the event include the Kismayu Writers club and the ministry of education of the Jubbaland state. Jubbaland ministers and deputy president Mohamud Said Adan grace the occasion.