A new anthology of selected Kazakh poets since independence, translated into English for the first time.
Poetry is an essential part of the life of Kazakhs, and every major event: the birth of a child, his/her first steps, circumcision, engagement, marriage, etc. have been always accompanied with poetry. The earliest Kazakh-related written poetry pieces are dated 7-8th centuries. Poetry acquired particular eminence in the 16-17th centuries by the means of jyrau poets who were at the forefronts of military campaigns and were powerful advisers or outspoken opponents of the rulers Poets of the 60s as much the same as their counterparts from prose, were thematically concerned with humanity and consequences of the war, and focused on the assertion of Kazakh nationhood.
Former President Nazarbayev’s article “The Course towards Future: Modernisation of National Identity”
The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, stated that the large-scale reforms that Kazakhstan has started as part of the ‘Third Modernisation of Kazakhstan’ should be complemented with advanced modernisation of Kazakhstan’s national identity. This will provide the core for political and economic modernization.
A new anthology of selected Kazakh prose writers since independence, translated into English for the first time
The majority of the acclaimed Kazakh writers of the 60-70s including Sayin Muratbekov, Kalikhan Yskak, Abish Kekilbayuly, Sherkhan Murtaza, Sofy Smatayev, Dulat Isabekov, and others were the orphaned children of the war, and therefore, they emerged with the strong humanist voices. However, Kazakh writers primarily focused on wartime struggles of the women and children in Kazakh auyls and the sense of belonging to the native land. They re-narrated the 40s according to their own memory and many of their stories were of corresponding subjects.
Former President Nazarbayev’s “Seven Facets of the Great Steppe”
There is a responsibility of every citizen to help the preservation of a comprehensive history of their nation, and in light of this, President Nazarbayev has announced the “seven facets of the Great Steppe” – a common history of the many ethnic groups which have lived in the territory of Kazakhstan for many hundreds of years.
The unique landscape and history of Kazakhstan have shaped its rich cultural identity.
In his 2017 state of the nation address, President Nazarbayev announced the Third Modernization of Kazakhstan. An initiative designed to spur the country’s development to become more competitive in the global economy. One of the main pillars of this programme is the translation of two anthologies of modern Kazakh literature – one prose, one poetry – into six UN languages, which is the focus of this project.
Cambridge University Press is proud to be supporting the National Bureau of Translation with this important initiative to showcase these examples of modern Kazakh literature in English for the first time.The wide-ranging programme is underpinned by six pillars:
1.Tugan Zehr, which means ‘homeland’ in Kazakh, is designed to strengthen the connection between Kazakh citizens and their home town. Alongside a programme of infrastructure development and investment that will improve connections between villages, the community is taking an active part in raising the standard of living.
2. The Sacred Geography of Kazakhstan, which is designed to raise awareness of Kazakhstan’s unique cultural and historical attractions. In the first year of the programme 700 sacred objects – sites and buildings of historical and cultural significance – were restored.
3. Modern Kazakh Culture in the Global World is an ambitious project to translate the work of 30 prose and 30 poetry writers working since independence into six UN languages. These anthologies will be made available for. You can read more about this project on this website.
4. 100 New Books is another translation project that aims to raise the standard of education in Kazakhstan through providing access to world-class scholarship. One hundred of the world’s best textbooks on history, political science, sociology, philosophy, psychology, etc., have been selected and translated into Kazakh to be made available for citizens and academics.
5. 100 New Faces of Kazakhstan which aims to inspire further success through highlighting the stories of 100 people who made a significant contribution to the development of Kazakhstan since independence.
6. Switch to the Latin Alphabet, which is intended to help with new opportunities for Kazakh and foreign investors in business, science, and education. Kazakh used Arabic lettering in the eleventh century, latin lettering from 1927 to 1940, and then Cyrillic scrip during the Soviet era. The Kazakh language will return to latin script by 2025.