And so it was that in August I paid my second visit to Hargeisa, Somaliland, in time to attend the 7th Hargeisa International Book Fair. The theme was ‘Imagination’, and since my hearing is no longer as good as it used to be in the twentieth century it was only natural that I animated some of my images of that country and event with imaginary conversations. One of my perverse delights was to ‘cover’ Michela Wrong (pictured above with two fans) who spends most of her own professional life covering other people, often to their discomfiture. In this series I will share some images, and yes, some wickedly imagined conversations, about the guilty pleasure of visiting Hargeisa. (By the way this is not my preferred spelling for Hargeisa, but it is 5am and I am not going to get into an argument with my phone’s autocorrect this early in the morning.) I should also mention that perhaps my defining moment of this visit happened on my final day in Somaliland, literally on my way out. It was an event that showed me how the most poignant stories do not rise out of the fecund imagination of a brilliant writer. They are real pages from the lived lives of real people…. But you have to stick with me and this short series, won’t you, to experience that riveting moment as well… Heh heh.

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