Between December 5 to December 7, Freetown, Sierra Leone, will play host to the Sierra Leone National Book Fair—the first of its kind since 1925.  In a statement provided to Awoko, Mohamed Sheriff, an organizer of the fair, explains that the aim of the fair is “to showcase the books that have been written by Sierra Leoneans or about Sierra Leone and to present our authors to Sierra Leoneans and the world.” Additionally, the organizers hope to encourage a culture of reading among adults and children alike, seeing as “reading,” according to Sheriff, “is one of the most important informal ways of educating oneself.” The theme of the fair, accordingly, is “Read Salone, Build Salone.”

The book fair offers an opportunity for visitors to meet Sierra Leonean writers who have published with the Sierra Leonean Writers Series and elsewhere, including Gbanabom Halliwell and Sophie Allieu. Other notable figures of the Sierra Leonean literary scene, including Oumar Farouk Sesay, recently-elected president of PEN Sierra Leone, will be present as well.

Among the events scheduled for the three-day fair is a “Spontaneous Poetry Competition” which invites poets, young, and old, to WhatsApp two poems, along with their name, age, and institutional affiliation, to +232 78 670 784.

For a full list of guests and events, click here. Follow @SLSWSocialMedia on Twitter for the latest updates on the book fair.

Congratulations to the Sierra Leone National Book Fair’s organizers for putting together what will hopefully be the first of many such national book fairs!