Books for Africa's conference on African literature takes place Friday and Saturday, featuring Alexandra Fuller, author of the bestselling "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight," as the keynote speaker.

The conference opens at 6 p.m. Friday with a free reading by Somali novelist and playwright Nuruddin Farah in the Cowles Auditorium of the Humphrey Center at the University of Minnesota. A reading and panel discussion at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Cowles Auditorium features Nigerian writer Uwem Akpan, Kenyan writer and editor Billy Karanja Kahora and Fuller, followed by a reception and signing.

Fuller's keynote speech and reception will be at 6 p.m. Saturday at the University Club, 340 Cedar St., St. Paul. Tickets are $100.

The conference will celebrate some of Africa's most influential writers and raise money for Books for Africa, a nonprofit agency that collects, ships and distributes books to children in Africa. Since 1988, Books for Africa has shipped more than 22 million books to 45 African countries.

Conference collaborators include Somali Family Services, the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, the University of Minnesota and Mshale.

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Laurie Hertzel • 612-673-7302