25.-27. August in Berlin

SAVE THE DATE: 25.-27. August 2023

The African Book Festival enters its fifth round. 

Information regarding the line-up, programme and tickets will be continuously updated on this website. Follow @abfberlin auf Instagram to stay up to date or sign up for pur newsletter at the very bottom of this page.

Press Release, 14. March 2023

InterKontinental e.V. takes over the artistic direction of the African Book Festival 2023

The association InterKontinental e.V., organiser of the African Book Festival, will take over the event’s artistic direction this year and has submitted a request in this vein to its funding institution, the Hauptstadtkulturfonds. The association wants to prevent the festival from being affected by the ongoing discussions about Mohamedou Ould Slahi Houbeini, who was supposed to serve as curator.

The Peace Prize winner, human rights activist and writer has been subjected to serious but unsubstantiated accusations in the German press and public in these past weeks, which have since led to numerous attacks on the festival itself.

As an important and unique platform for African perspectives in Germany, the African Book Festival sees itself as responsible for giving expression to African voices in many different ways.

In order to place literature and not individuals at the centre of the festival as usual, the organisers, after careful deliberation, consider it right at this time to end the cooperation with Mohamedou Ould Slahi Houbeini as artistic director and to develop the 2023 programme from within the association instead.

We very much regret this step, because from an artistic point of view there is still nothing to be said against working together with Mohamedou Ould Slahi Houbeini. However, out of a sense of responsibility towards our association, its staff, festival writers and visitors, we see no other way to ensure that the festival can be held safely.

The Curator
Mohamedou Ould Slahi Houbeini

Writer Mohamedou Ould Slahi Houbeini will be the curator of the next African Book Festival in Berlin, which will bring the stars of African literature to the capital for the fifth time from 25th -27th of August 2023. Born in Mauritania in 1970, the author is known to many as one of the people unjustly imprisoned in the US prison camp Guantanamo Bay. His memoir “Guantánamo Diary” (Canongate Books, 2017) was published in 2015 and became an international bestseller.

While still in captivity, Slahi Houbeini wrote his current novel “The Actual True Story of Ahmed and Zarga” (Ohio University Press, 2021). In it, the author takes his reading audience on an epic journey through the geographical and spiritual terrain of the Sahara. Slahi Houbeini’s perspective on the relationship between humans and the environment is unique in contemporary African literature.

Since his release in October 2016, Mohamedou Ould Slahi Houbeini initially lived in Mauritania, but now resides in the Netherlands. For him, writing is a means of revenge against censorship and oppression. Consequently, the capture of this year’s African Book Festival is “Breaking Free“.

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The ABF23 will take place at Alte Münze in Berlin

Alte Münze

Molkenmarkt 2, 10179 Berlin-Mitte

near S+U Alexanderplatz and U Klosterstraße

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