Over the past 5 years, I have edited some 26 works for Hertfordshire Press and the Eurasian Creative Guild, as well as a series of small epics published by the International University of Kyrgyzstan. The latter is the initiative of the indefatigable Professor Zina Karaeva who generously hosted my recent visit to Kyrgyzstan and meetings with teachers and students, as well as authors, poets and translators.
Mentoring sessions and dialogue with groups and individuals at IUK, the Kyrgyzstan-Turkiye Manas University and ECG, in addition to interviews for Radio Manas and the national state newspaper, led to interesting discussions concerning the preservation and promotion of the nation’s culture, and differences, and similarities, between Kyrgyzstan and countries within the UK.
Seven years had passed since my last visit and thanks to the kind hospitality of everyone I met, I found myself truly immersed in the landscape, traditions and history, so inherent in much of the work published in translation. Such first-hand experience, coupled with invaluable time spent with translators passionately committed to preserving historic legends, and talented writers determined to promote their work in the West, has undoubtedly enriched and reinforced my appreciation and understanding of how a nation’s cultural heritage informs and is portrayed through its art and literature.
I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this extraordinary country and to supporting the ever-growing campaign to share its riches with the rest of the world.
by Laura Hamilton,
Chair, Eurasian Creative Guild