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Welcome to my website. I am a journalist and author, specialising on Africa, especially Somalia and the wider Horn. I am the BBC’s Africa Editor and have reported on events on the continent since the early 1990s. I am the author of Everything You Have Told Me is True: The Many Faces of Al Shabaab (Hurst) and Getting Somalia Wrong? Faith, War and Hope in a Shattered State (Zed Books).

I have contributed chapters to other books, and write for academic journals and the media including The Guardian, The Economist and The Washington Post. I have done research for The United Nations, The European Union and others on issues including Somalia, Islamist extremism, the media, sea piracy and migration. I am an expert witness in Somali-related legal cases and serve on the boards of several organisations related to Africa and beyond.


I am a fellow of The Rift Valley Institute and The Heritage Institute for Policy Studies. I speak regularly at conferences, literary festivals and other events, and am an experienced moderator.

I have degrees from Cambridge University and The School of Oriental and African Studies. I speak English, French, Portuguese and Wolof.

Copyright © Mary Harper 2011. All rights reserved | Site by Strawberry Design

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