OCA Magazine: What is “Eurasianism” for you?
Gumer Karimov: This is everything for me: the philosophy of life, its meaning, my whole worldview. I am from Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan. My nationality is Tatar.
Fifty years ago, at twenty-two years I left my homeland to continue my education at the Faculty of Philosophy at Leningrad University. I thought at the end of my studies I would return to my back home, but somehow I stayed for half a century in St. Petersburg, the country’s most European city, the “Cultural Capital”.
All my development as a person took place under the direct influence of two great world cultures of the East and West. Our planet Earth is one for all and for God we all are only temporary guests here.
OCA: Tell us about yourself and your creative activity
GK: I am 72 years old, after graduating from graduate school I went to live in the Leningrad region and work in the house of culture. At first, I worked at a poultry farm then at a fur farm, and then at a state farm. And everywhere it was interesting, I got an amazing experience, which later came in very handy for me in writing. During the perestroika, I was into the farming business. Then at the fur farm I worked as the director of the House of Culture, I was elected director of the farm. I also was engaged in politics, I started to write at the end of the last century. My 6 books of poetry were published, and I wrote several prose books in various genres – from novel to science fiction.
In 2000, I organized a non-profit partnership “Union of Writers of the Leningrad Region and St. Petersburg.” In 2006, I headed the literary association in St. Petersburg founded by Tatyana Gnedich. In our association, we publish the magazine “Tsarskoye Selo” and the literary supplement “Northern Herald”. I must say that my wife Antonina Karimova, a poetess, writer and essayist, helps me a lot
OCA: What are your favorite artists
GK: Ernest Hemingway, Ilya Shemler, Valery Popova, Vyacheslav Leikin.
OCA: Have you taken part in the events of the Eurasian Creative Guild (London)? What projects have you participated in and what are you planning to take part in?
GK: I’m new in the Guild. My wife and I took part in the Brussels Festival and then at the end of the year we became members of the community. By the way, thanks to the guild, we made many friends. Even living in the Soviet Union, I never had so many friends among Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tajiks, Uzbeks and representatives of other nations …
At the request of the vice president of the Guild, Marat Akhmetzhanov, we are creating the St. Petersburg group ECG. We are trying to attract as many new members as possible.
Speaking about participation I will try to take part in all creative categories, I hope that our experience and creative opportunities will help the guild especially working in the Expert Council. We have a lot of ideas, for example, a wonderful thing – internships that the guild conducts. The creation of a youth section is a great idea. I communicate with some of the young members of the guild, read their works.
OCA: What does the Eurasian Creative Guild mean to you, and how has it influenced your creativity?
GK: When I was introduced to the Guild, I had a feeling that I have known everyone here for many years! Later, when Marat Akhmedzhanov and Angelina Krasnogir visited us in St. Petersburg I realized: this is my place to be! Every day I talk with my friends from the Guild, text and call them. Since I joined the guild the lifestyle has changed, new horizons opened up in front of me. Even the rhythm of life has changed. Who would have thought in my 72 years! I am very happy! But happiness is hard work and great responsibility.
OCA: What would you advise the members of the Guild who just started their career?
GK: I am convinced that if a person ceases to be surprised, then someone loses interest in him/her. I worked in culture for many years, therefore, I have been dealing with youth all my life. Who knows, maybe that’s why I don’t feel my age.
I only rejoice for young writers and really want them to have a happy literary fate! I wish them good books, new ideas, fresh thoughts. And, of course, good luck. Nothing will work without her. Good luck, dear friends!