Mohamedou Ould Slahi Houbeini

Mohamedou Ould Slahi Houbeini

Writer Mohamedou Ould Slahi Houbeini curates the 5th African Book Festival in Berlin. Born in Mauritania in 1970, the author is known to many as one of the people who were unjustly imprisoned in the US prison camp Guantanamo Bay. His memoir “The Guantanamo Diary” (Canongate, 2015) 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 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 headline of this year’s African Book Festival is “Breaking Free”.


The Mauritanian (originally published as Guant√°namo Diary, 2015) | Das Guantanamo-Tagebuch unzensiert (2015)

The Actual True Story of Ahmed and Zarga (2021) | Die wahre Geschichte von Ahmed und Zarga (Aug. 2023)



“Slahi und seine Folterer”, ARD Panorama, 2021

“The Mauritanian”, Director: Kevin Macdonald, 2021