One of the many unexpected pleasures that came from writing my book has been the response from Somalis. They have engaged with it enthusiastically, picking apart every sentence, debating every point. Somalis have invited me to present my book in libraries, cafes, universities and book festivals all over the world.
Shortly after it was published, Zed Books contacted me to say a bookseller from Mogadishu had been in touch to order some copies. Could they risk sending the books to a city often described as the most dangerous on earth? It proved incredibly easy. Within minutes, payment arrived at a nearby branch of a Somali remittance company, just a short walk from Zed’s London office. The books were couriered to Mogadishu and were in the bookshop less than a week later.
I have met many Somalis who tell me they read the book out loud to their non-English speaking relatives by translating it into Somali as they go. I have met Somali schoolchildren who say they discuss it in class, but there is only one copy to go around. One day, I mentioned to some Somali friends how wonderful it would be to have a Somali translation of the book. “Let’s do it, ” they said. So we approached my former BBC colleague, Yonis Ali Nur, who kindly agreed to do all the hard work, emailing me each chapter from his farm in Somaliland, where he has set up an ingenious solar-powered internet system. Zed suggested they make it available on their website as a free, downloadable PDF, so here it is. Please make good use of it.
The Somali edition of Getting Somalia Wrong? is licensed under the Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND.
You are free to download it and share it with others.
If you publish it anywhere you must credit Mary Harper and Zed Books and include a link to this page.
You are not permitted to change the work in any way.