OCA PEOPLE: SHAHSANEM MURRAY

Shahsanem is a writer, film critic, translator, international business, tourism,. In 2001 she moved to Scotland, married. I work in Edinburgh. Writer and translator. I work in a private company and do creative work in my spare time. I participate in Literary Festivals organized by the OCA Magazine team. I promote the Culture of the Northern Peoples and Central Asia in Scotland with colleagues.

OCA: Tell us about yourself and your activities/ work?
SM: I am an author, translator, and producer. I am currently studying Films at Edinburgh University. In 2001, I studied ‘Surrealism in Art and Films’ and this remains my main topic of interest.

After meeting and then marrying my husband, Gordon Murray, I have been living, working and enjoying the past 19 years in Edinburgh. It is truly a beautiful City and a fantastic location to live.

I took part at the Literature Festival organized by OCA magazine back in 2012. The festival took place in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. For the event I presented Kyrgyz Si-Fi writer Begenas Sartov’s book ‘When the Edelweiss Flowers Flourish’ and six of his short stories which I had recently translated into English and had published.

Since then I have taken part at this Literature Event several times and presented my own books.

My first book was presented to the public in 2015 ‘Finding The Holy Path’ and the second book ‘Cold Shadows’ was released at the Literature Festival in 2017. This the second publication won the prize ‘Best book of the year’ award at the 2018 Festival. I was truly thrilled.

OCA: What does ‘Euroasianism’ mean for you?
SM: ‘Eurasianism‘ firstly means friendship and secondly cultural blend. Within each person, I believe there is a creative individual – this may be an artist, a writer, a filmmaker or a musician. Everyone has some form of expression and can find something to say and show to the world. We are all the same in many ways but our little differences and means of self-expression are what makes the human race so interesting.

OCA: Who are your favourite artist’s or filmmaker’s?
SM: I love music. I actually trained as a Grade 8 classical pianist. As well as Classical music, I have a deep affinity with Classic Rock with my favourite artists being Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel and the Norwegian group A-HA. Like many people of my age, this music is ingrained within me from my teenage years at University.

Notwithstanding they all have produced fantastic music that is timeless and often relates my thought and creative process as I put pen to paper for my novel writing. I actually think some of these artists will be regarded in higher and higher esteem as the years pass and will give similar inspiration to future generations.

My favourite filmmakers are Michael Curtiz, I do admire his film ‘Casablanca’. Federico Fellini, Krzysztof Kieslowski and many others.

OCA: How often you take part in the events organized by Eurasian Creative Guild (London)?
SM: I try to support the events as much as possible I can. The last time I attended was at the summer 2019 meeting in London. I am always happy to support and meet my colleagues and contemporaries.
OCA: How does the Eurasian Creative Guild affect your creative work?
SM:The main driver and founder of the Eurasian Creative Guild is Marat Akhmedjanov.

He came up with this wonderful idea where many talented, creative people can gather into one group and we can meet and share our works. I hope it will continue to grow into something big, and I am sure many members of this group still be supporting and helping for many young individuals.

OCA: Do you have any personal projects that you would like to talk about?
SM: Well in the past, we have held many events. We have a small Central Asian Community in Edinburgh, Scotland, which also regularly pulls in friends and colleagues from Glasgow.

An event that was interesting with theme ‘Shakespeare V Pushkin’ where each member of this small community were happily reading poems of greatest writers W. Shakespeare and A.S. Pushkin.

We gather at cultural events like Burns Night and recite his poetry. With the ‘Orzu Arts’ theatre, with their stage performance from London, we supported both them and a young singer from Uzbekistan.

In 2017, we organized a festival called ‘True Connection’. It was truly amazing to invite filmmakers Paul Morgan, Denis Filippov from Russia with their work. Artist from London Gulzada Hamra took part as a participant-creating exhibition. Honoured guests Laura Hamilton and Marat Akhmedjanov. My friends and colleagues David Wingrove , Shirin Abdullaeva, Zaynab M. Dost, Brian Thomson, Rosie Sweetman ,
with whom we created small pop up theatre and managed to present small scenes with my own work and Norwegian writer Johan Alstad . Filmmakers D. Almazan, J. Mortoz created a film from this event.

These meetings and events are how we can reach our goal is to blend culture, literature brings into sense ‘Eurasianism’. We can achieve something beautiful in the future festivals.

I will be continuing to work with different countries with this theme ‘True Connection’ to gather artists that are more interesting, bring into life book and poem reading culture.

I would like to continue this amazing journey despite all this hardship. Especially in this moment in time where we all in the lockdown. Very difficult to work and we all waiting when we do not have to be in two weeks quarantine after travelling. We need to create and work; it is already a biblical journey in many respects.

Finally, I would like to say my warm wishes to Eurasian Creative Guild to grow, never give up and continue the long journey to help young members.

Any creative work should have a place to be supported. Good luck to all of us. Mainly in this moment!