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This chapter is written by Lidwien Kapteijns and R.S. O’Fahey and dedicated to the memory of B.W. Andrzejewski.

The present chapter must be regarded as representative rather than in any way comprehensive, not least because of the near impossibility of tracking literary production in the widely-dispersed Somali diaspora. We have not included the fiction, written in English, of Nuruddin Farah.

Somali oral literature encompasses many genres which are specifically religious. Many of these are part of the wider Islamic Sufi heritage and many have a didactic p…

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“Introduction”, in: Arabic Literature of Africa Online, General Editor John O. Hunwick, R.S. O’Fahey. Consulted online on 21 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2016

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