A love of literature made me get involved with the challenging project of promoting Kazakh authors. The idea came to me 3 or 4 years ago and I started to be interested in different international literature contests in the world. I invested a lot of time and energy to reach my goal and find prospective fields for me to realise my ideas.

There is, however, one serious problem that does not allow literature to be available to world readers. This means that it must be translated into other foreign languages, mostly into English. My efforts presented me with a first lucky chance at the Open Eurasian Book Forum and Literature Contest that allowed any authors from Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries to be the participants of this big event, presenting their books without translation into English with the hope to win recognition on an international level. Hard work with Kazakh authors’ promotion sometimes seemed to me useless, but I did not give up.

Fortunately, the 2016 OEBF literature contest results were very optimistic for my authors. The shortlist of winners contained the names of writers and illustrator presented by the first literary agency “Bestsellerkz”, from Kazakhstan, such as Serik Asylbekuly, Beknur Kisikov in the category of”Literature”, Aigul Kemelbayeva in the category of“ Translation” and Zhenis Nurlybayev – 2nd place in the category of “Illustration”. Following this appreciation, I decided to keep on working further with the same goal to open new names to world readers thanks to the organisers of this wonderful big event for creative people. Ten out of sixteen authors got into the shortlist of the 2017 OEBF that made me more certain with my directions. I am happy to name several Kazakh authors, whose works were selected as the best ones among others, such as Tynymbay Nurmaganbetov, Kuandyk Tumenbay, Alibek Askarov, Saule Doszhan, Kenges Duisen, Galym Zhaylybay, Serik Aksunkaruly, Naziken Alpamyskyzy in the category of “Literature”, Saule Doszhan in the category of “Translation” and Kuralay Umbetova in the category of “Illustration”.

As a surprise I found out one more recognition of my work in literary contest, in the list of 3d place winners were found Galym Zhaylybay – nomination for ”Poetry”, Saule Doszhan – nomination for “Prose”. Naziken Alpamyskyzy, the eldest participant of the contest, was awarded the nomination by the “Association of Generals of the World for Peace”, for the best work on the topic of strengthening peace, friendship and mutual understanding between people.

Last year, five Kazakh authors published their books within the book series “Eurasian Creative Guild (London)” by Hertfordshire Press publishing house. Presentations were held on 11-13 October in England, where the following writers and poets from Kazakhstan took part, such as: Kuanysh Zhiyenbay, Naziken Alpamyskyzy, and Gulzada Netkaliyeva.

Gulzhan Elesheva, a journalist from Atyrau, Kazakhstan, was in the list of participants of the literary week in London, too. The group of writers and poets paid a visit to the Ambassador of Kazakhstan, Mr. Erlan Idrissov, and had a very interesting discussion about issues of Kazakh literature promotion. Kuanysh Zhiyenbay, Naziken Alpamyskyzy, Gulzada Netkaliyeva, and Gulzhan Elesheva gave him their books and a young poet, Ardaktym Netkaliyeva was glad to read one of her poems during the meeting at the Embassy.

Bakhtygul Makhanbetova, literary agent, shared her thoughts about the translation work of Kazakh literature and suggested some ideas to co-operate in partnership with the Embassy. We, also enjoyed the film “Hamlet” by Aziz Zairov during the literary days in London and took photos with the main leading actor.

One more presentation of the authors’ books was held in Stockholm, Sweden, which was also full of interesting events during the annual international contest, festival and forum, OEBF2017. Three finalists, Naziken Aplamyskyzy, Saule Doszhan, Kenges Duisen, and Nazipa Shanai, with Bakhtygul Makhanbetova, as their literary agent were happy to spend wonderful time together as a group delegation from Kazakhstan, on 15-22 November, 2017, in Stockholm. The festival was a very good platform of exchanging ideas around literature, art, and culture. Saule Doszhan noted that, it helped her to prove herself. Naziken Alpamyskyzy presented her poems by commenting their history in Kazakh and Russian so enthusiastically. Kenges Duisen suggested some interesting ideas about an animation project based on his novels and tales for children to his colleagues from different countries. Nazipa Shanai is planning to publish a book in future.

Bakhtygul Makhanbetova took part in all events actively and even functioned as one of the moderators of the round table dedicated to translation issues of the world literature. She and other moderators focused on the success of translating texts from original languages but not translating Kazakh works into foreign languages. A few words about other creative and talented people from Kazakhstan, first, poets, Marina Mikhailovskaya and Dilyara Lindsay were brilliantly genius with their poetry world during the festival days. Antonina Shouster talked about Elena Bezrukova in her book and it helped us to learn more about a successful woman, who has overcome many difficulties in her life and achieved a lot. Adam Kapanov and his son, Anuar Kapanov invested their energy and knowledge, and finance to let festival ideas come true. Dauren Kasteev, the 2nd place winner in the category of “Illustration”, presented his masterpieces successfully at the exhibition during literary week in London and at the festival in Stockholm. A special guest of the festival, Nurym Taibek was also a very respectable speaker of the literary days in London and festival week in Stockholm. He lives in London these days. Thanks to the Embassy employers of Kazakhstan, we were happy to visit the group of Kazakh diaspora that live in Sweden for a long time. We visited museums, libraries and took photos at the Nobel museum and other places of interest.

In conclusion, I must note, that ECG started to function at the right time, co-ordinated by the right group of people, and at the right places where hundreds of creative and talented people from different parts of the world can communicate and become partners, friends and peacekeepers in the world!

by Bakhtygul MAKHANBETOVA,
Literary agent, Kazakhstan