He was the deputy editor in chief of the now defunct Amharic weekly newspaper, Addis Neger, in Ethiopia. Since the newspaper was set up in 2007, Fantaye and his colleagues have been subjects to continuous threats, warnings and harassment by the Ethiopian state security agents. He has lived in exile between Uganda and USA since 2010.
Girma Fantaye is a journalist, writer and poet from Ethiopia, and has been writing for print and web publications since 2004. His articles on politics, social matters, arts and travel, along with his short stories, have appeared in publications including Meznagna newspaper and magazine,Ethiomirror.com, Addis Neger newspaper and website, and The New York Times.
Mr Fantaye co-founded Addis Neger, an independent Amharic-language weekly political newspaper based in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, along with five other journalists in 2007. He worked as Addis Neger’s deputy editor-in-chief and political and economic section editor until his departure from Ethiopia and the paper’s closure in December 2009. He then worked as deputy editor-in-chief of the online version of Addis Neger, www.addisnegeronline.com, which he set up along with some of the paper’s other former staff members in exile in the Ugandan capital Kampala.
In 2011-2012, Mr Fantaye was awarded a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University, USA, where he focused on a project aimed at making exile media more sustainable. In 2012 he published his first volume of poetry, The Quest for the Lost City (Mahlet Publishing, Addis Ababa, 2012), and he is currently working on a novel.
In addition to journalism, Mr Fantaye has experience of teaching Ethiopian history and politics and of translation (English to Amharic). Having studied business at Addis Ababa University College of Commerce, he has also set up various social enterprise ventures.
City of refuge coordinator in Ljubjana, Jasmina Rihar, says: “We are looking forward to working with Girma. He has a lot of projects on his mind; writing novels, articles, polishing manuscripts, translating and getting some of his works published. We are also hoping for translations into Slovene in the near future. Girma will give his opening welcome party together with the former Ljubljana writer Ali Amar to whom we will wish farewell and good luck for the years to come. At the end of February Girma is invited to the international literary Festival Fabula in Ljubljana. So, if you happen to be around, don't miss it.”
Ljubljana city of refuge
The Slovenian Capital, Ljubljana, officially joined ICORN as a City of Refuge in April 2011, when Lord Mayor Mr. Zoran Jankovic signed the ICORN membership agreement, thus confirming the city’s commitment to the values of solidarity, hospitality and cosmopolitanism. In close cooperation with Slovenian PEN, the City of Ljubljana makes sure that their investments in literature, freedom of expression and international solidarity will bear lasting fruits.
Ljubljana will host ICORN’s General Assembly in May 2014.