Interview: Gulsifat Shahidi

Journalist, Author and Narrator, Gulsifat Shahidi, shares an insight into the life behind her words and what she sees for the future. She is the author of recently published, The City Where Dreams Come True, by Hertfordshire Press and took part in the 2015 OEACABF. OCA sent our reporter to meet this fascinating lady, the mother of three sons and seven grandchildren. 

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OCA Magazine: What inspired you to start writing?

Gulsifat Shahidi: Professionally I am a journalist and a narrator by vocation; I have always composed very funny fairy tales for small children and written books for adults. As a journalist I started writing early on and only later did I start having  books published. My family has always been foremost in my mind  and so have taken much of my time, but now that my children are all grown up I have time to create.

OCA: What drives your inspiration and how do the ideas of your works take form in your mind? 

GS: While working as a journalist I had gained a lot of knowledge, impressions and extraordinary memories, which I wanted to share with the reader. It was a fascinating era and we were living in it. My ideas are born for many reasons. World literature, ranging from the ancient to modern, as well as the contrasts of despair and excitement when thinking of today’s world have all influenced my ideas.

OCA: Which writers do you admire? Which book or books would you advise everybody to read?

GS: I can only list some of them: the Tajik-Persian poetry of Rudaki, Firdous, Khayyam, Hafiz, Rumi, modern Tursunzade, Loic, Sattor Tursun, and, of course, world classics such as Byron, Shakespeare, Balmont, Remarque, Hemingway, Chekhov, Dostoevsky and Nabokov.

Also I would advise the following influential books: “Bird Talk” by Hattori, Mesnevi Jalaluddin Rumi, “Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, “Notre Dame de Paris” by Victor Hugo, “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy, “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky. All of the above is just a small selection.

OCA: Do you think do printed books have a future in the digital world? 

GS: It’s hard to say …  but I do hope they will! I’m an optimist. How can we get on without books? And, besides, presenting an autographed book to someone is better than simply sharing the site where it is printed. 

OCA: And how does a creative mind like yours spend their downtime? 

GS: I like swimming.. if we can call it a hobby. For leisure I go to concerts and performances with my grandchildren and children. Recently my husband and I went to the opera, “Carmen”, at the Bolshoi Theatre, which was pretty special.

OCA: What are you working on currently for your next publication? 

GS: I am writing a book about the fate of women. I know it’s hard, but it seems possible. I would like the book to be presented at the next Open Central Eurasia and Central Asia Festival as part of the contest. I have not even dreamed of the publication of my book in English before. It is for me a gift of fate. I would like the linguistic and stylistic features preserved in the English version.

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OCA: Finally, what would you like to wish our readers? 

GS: Harmony in the world … that’s all! You can see by yourself what’s going on in the world. I think it’s because people read and understand books less. OCA and Silk Road Media are doing a very important job in printing, translating and publishing more books! I hope that your readers will be faithful to books, as they are the light of learning and education.

 

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