Ben Rawlence, writer: “Living in a refugee camp imposes a kind of limit on the possibilities of life”

Dadaab Refugee Camp has existed in Northern Kenya desert for 25 years. It was originally created to provide shelter for 90,000 Somalian refugees who fled their country during the civil war in the 90s. Currently, it contains over 500,000 people and is the biggest refugee camp in the world. Despite its long history and huge size, we don’t hear much about Dadaab. In 2010, the British writer Ben Rawlence visited it for the first time as part of his work for the Human Rights Watch. He went back in 2011, beggining an  exploration of the place over a period of four years. This research resulted in City of Thorns, a book that presents the reality of Dadaab refugees through the lives of nine of its inhabitants.

Ben Rawlence will present City of Thorns tomorrow at the Edinburgh Book Festival as part of Migrant Stories series of events (10:30am-11:30am at Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre)

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Roland Gulliver: “Immigrants have been stigmatised and dehumanised”

Immigration will be a central topic at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival (13th – 29th August). ‘Migrant Stories’ (11th – 29th August) is one thought-provoking theme at the festival and attendees will be able to discover stories and projects from various different countries.

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Letter from a Colombian Immigrant in Scotland

We first met Zulma at a bilingual event held by Scottish organisation People Know How, whose aim is to support the inclusion of Spanish-speaking people in Scotland. Zulma – a Colombian national living in Edinburgh – shared her experiences of being an immigrant with those at the event. This letter is a testimony of her integration into a new culture and her learning of a new language, in a city thousands of miles away from her home town.

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