Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan hosted Central Asia’s first international literature festival and book forum to focus on developing the region’s publishing sector. A Literary Festival concluded that was opened by former President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Roza Otunbayeva.
In her opening address, Roza was of the view that at the event there were mainly interested people – writers – while the representatives of the Ministry of Culture and the Union of Writers Festival is not visited. “Culture books and bookstores in Kyrgyzstan will understand through such initiatives,” added Otunbayeva.
The Region Initiative (TRI) supported such activities that are important to promote Central Asia at the international level.
Polish writer Janusz Wisniewski, specially arrived in Bishkek to participate in the Literary Festival and said that he was very pleased with his first visit to Kyrgyzstan. “I am very glad that people are reading my books in Central Asia. So I’m very grateful to have been invited to this forum,” added the writer.
“I think the choice of this country is not accidental. Of all the countries of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan [is] the most open, tolerant, and developing country,” said writer and journalist based in the UK, Hamid Ismailov who was specially invited to the forum.
The Open Central Asia Book Forum and Literary Festival unites international, regional, and local authors, publishing companies, government departments and agencies, educational institutions, retailers, and readers, organized by British publishers, Silk Road Media.
Readings by international literary figures such as Janusz Leon Wisniewski (Poland) and Hamid Ismailov (UK and Uzbekistan) took place alongside the launch of a biography of renowned Soviet-era Central Asian art collector Igor Savitsky, by Marinika Babanazarova, current curator of the museum he founded in Nukus, Uzbekistan.
Attendees discussed the promotion of Central Asian literature abroad as well as how best to integrate international educational literature into regional educational systems. The festival included book readings, discussions about literary translation, poetry, speed reading, and featured books, as well as panel discussions on common issues facing the publishing sector and development of modern literature in Central Asia.
Marat Akhmedjanov, Silk Road Media publisher, said: “The Open Central Asia Book Forum and Literature Festival was not only about celebrating Central Asian writing, but also about bringing together regional and international publishers to discuss common issues and share experiences, to further improve the industry.
For international authors and publishers, the festival provided an opportunity to network, meet new people, and discuss their work and experiences. For regional and local authors, it was a platform to promote themselves, talk with readers, gain international experience and take part in the literature competition. For readers, the Open Central Asia Book Forum and Literature Festival was a rare opportunity to feast their eyes on works of both known and new authors from Central Asia and abroad.”