Contemporary Kazakh Prose, published in partnership with Cambridge University Press, is a historical and timely publication that brings together bright voices comprising fresh and accomplished Kazakh writers under one roof. The collection is dynamic and engaging in covering different experiences within a nation. There are stories of the painful upheaval of Kazakh independence that are emotionally charged and full of pain and sadness.
However, there are also several life-affirming narratives throughout the collection that express brazen pride and undying love for homeland, crystallising the ultimate power of national unity in a nation fighting to make its mark in the modern world.
The writers capture the range, diversity, and richness of Kazakhstan; home to over a hundred ethnic groups, while projecting a positive future for Kazakh literature as part of world literature.
The anthologies will be launched in London in September 2019.
Sherkhan Murtaza was a Soviet and Kazakh writer and public and political figure. He held many senior roles in newspaper and journal publishing and in broadcasting. He also served in various government positions in the Kazakh SSR and the Republic of Kazakhstan, and from 1999–2004 he was chairman of the Committee for Culture, Literature and Art. Murtaza was the author of numerous books, one of which won the State Prize of the Kazakh SSR. He was named a People’s Writer of Kyrgyzstan, an Honoured Worker of Culture of the Kazakh SSR and a People’s Writer of Kazakhstan. He was awarded the orders Qurmet and Otan and the Independent Tarlan Award.
Akim Tarazi is a writer, screenwriter and playwright. He has held the posts of editor-in-chief at the film studioKazakhfilm, first secretary of the Union of Cinematographers of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, secretary of the Union of Writers of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic and adviser to the Ministry of Culture. Since 2009, he has been a professor at the Kazakh National University of Arts. Tarazi is the author of three novels and numerous plays, and is the screenwriter for a number of films. He is a recipient of the State Prize of Kazakhstan and is an Honoured Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Kalikhan Yskak was a Kazakh writer, literary critic, translator and playwright. His work for newspapers and journals led to positions managing the drama section of the Kazakhstan Writers’ Union and the literature department at the Auezov State Academic Drama Theatre. His prose works include several short story collections and a number of novels. He has also written screenplays and over twenty plays, including an epic play about the origins of the Kazakh khanate. His works have been published in seven languages and he has himself translated Russian authors into Kazakh. Yskak has won the State Prize of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Musirepov and Jabayev Literary Prizes as well as the title of Honoured Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Sain Muratbekov was a Kazakh writer. After studying in Kazakhstan and Moscow, he held a wide range of senior editorial and political posts, including positions as newspaper editor-in-chief and as director of the publishing house Jazushy. A prolific author of stories and novels, Tarazi was regarded as a master of short stories, and some of his works were translated into more than a dozen languages. His awards include the Auezov Literary Prize and the Independent Tarlan Award. He has also been named an Honoured Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and is a laureate of the State Prize of Kazakhstan.
Kabdesh Zhumadilov is a Kazakh writer who was born in China but studied in Kazakhstan. After graduating, he worked in newspapers and publishing. He has published several collections of poems and stories and many novels. His work focuses on historical themes and the lives of Xinjiang Kazakhs. He is regarded as a master of realistic prose with deep knowledge of Kazakh history and ethnography. Zhumadilov has been awarded the Auezov Literary Prize and the State Prize of the Kazakh SSR. He has also received the highest award for writers in the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Writer, and the order Parasat.
Askar Suleimenov was a modernist writer, literary critic and playwright. He worked in many literary, editorial, film and theatre roles and was the author of numerous essays and novels in which he sets out literary principles that have been much debated. In prose, he challenged the literary stereotypes of social realism, and sought to create a literature in modernist form with content deeply rooted in the national culture. His plays reflect modernist tendencies in playwriting, while his novels, revisiting historical events from a new perspective, won him prestige in the literary community. He also wrote screenplays for films, and translated plays by foreign writers into Kazakh. He was posthumously awarded the State Prize of Kazakhstan.
Abish Kekilbaiuly was a writer, public and political figure. He held a wide range of senior government posts in the Kazakh SSR; on the eve of Kazakh independence he was state advisor to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, going on to serve as the first Secretary of State of Kazakhstan and as a senator. Kekilbay published over fifty books, including two epic historical novels. His most prominent works delve into national psychology. He also translated a number of works by foreign authors into Kazakh. He was a member of the Academy of Social Sciences, Hero of Labour, and People’s Writer of Kazakhstan and was awarded the State Prize of the Kazakh SSR.
Sabit Dosanov is a writer, literary critic and playwright. He began his career as an editor in broadcasting and publishing before becoming general director of the Centre of Folk Art and Cultural Services and subsequently editor-in-chief of Qainar publishing house. Dosanov is the author of several collections of essays and short stories, monographs (including a discussion of the problems of modern Kazakh literature) and novels. Many of his works have been published in Russian, and one has also appeared in French. He is an Honoured Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and is also a recipient of the State Prize of Kazakhstan and the order Parasat.
Mukhtar Magauin is a Kazakh writer, literary scholar, and historian. He has been head of the literary criticism department at the newspaper Qazaq Adebieti, and editor-in-chief at the Juldyz literary journal and the Jazushy publishing house. He has published a range of stories, monographs and novels; his Qazaq Tarihynyn Alippesi (Primer of Kazakh History), sought to foster national unity through historical consciousness. He was blacklisted by the Communist authorities, and most of his renowned novels were published after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He also translated several short stories and novels by prominent foreign writers into Kazakh. Magauin is a laureate of the State Prize of Kazakhstan and a People’s Writer of Kazakhstan and has won the International Prize for Writers and Cultural Workers of the Turkic World. He currently lives in the USA.
Bexultan Nurzhekeyev is a Kazakh writer. His career has included teaching, administrative and editorial positions and he is currently senior editor of the publishing house Jalyn. His collections of short stories and tales are distinguished by his honest portrayal of family life and by his observations of the intimate feelings of women. He is also fascinated by Kazakh history; his works include two collections of essays on prominent Kazakh historical figures and artists, while his novels reflect upon the historical hardships experienced by the Kazakh people. A selection of his works has appeared in thirteen volumes and his prose has been translated into three languages. Nurzhekeyev has been awarded the State Prize of Kazakhstan.
Sofy Smatayev is a writer and playwright. His career includes work as a metallurgical engineer, as well as editorial and administrative positions and a long period as head of the National State Book Chamber. He is a prolific writer, who began composing poetry before switching to prose, and is now the author of nine novels and several collections of short stories. He has also authored eighteen plays and written libretti for several operas. He has released two selections of his works, in seventeen volumes and six volumes respectively. His works have been translated into fourteen languages. Smatayev is a professor, a winner of the International Alash Literature Prize and a recipient of the orders Qurmet and Parasat.
Tolen Abdik is a Kazakh writer and playwright. For ten years he managed the literary department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan. Following Kazakh independence, he worked as an assistant to the Kazakh president, and as deputy director of the presidential administration’s internal policy department. Since 2009, he has been editor-in-chief of the magazine Orkeniet. Abdik has written several short story collections and a novel. He employs masterfully modernist and postmodernist devices, and is widely credited with being one of the leading realist writers in Kazakhstan, His works have been translated into many languages and his plays have been staged at the major theatres in Kazakhstan. Abdik was awarded the State Prize of Kazakhstan, the Kazakhstani PEN Club Prize and the Franz Kafka European Gold Medal. He is an Honoured Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and a recipient of the order Parasat.
Kazhygali Mukhanbetkaliuly is a Kazakh writer and literary translator. He has worked in various editorial posts, including book and journal publishing, newspapers, television and radio. He achieved fame as a realist writer through his collections of short stories, in which he describes the life of his contemporaries during the 1970s and 1980s. He has also written fictional and non-fictional books about Syrym Datuly, a hero of the eighteenth-century Kazakh struggle against colonialism. He has published two selections of his works, in twenty-three volumes and four volumes respectively. He has also translated works by foreign writers into Kazakh. Mukhanbetkali is a laureate of the State Prize of Kazakhstan and an Honoured Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Dulat Isabekov is a writer and playwright. He has worked in a range of editorial and directorial roles in broadcasting and publishing, and is currently editor-in-chief of the journal Madeniet. He has authored dozens of prose collections and over twenty plays, the majority of which have been staged in several countries. He has also published many novels and has written numerous screenplays. His stories have been translated into English, German, Czech, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Turkish, and Uzbek. Isabekov is a laureate of the State Prize of Kazakhstan, and has received the International PEN Club Prize and the Platinum Tarlan Award.
Oralkhan Bokey was a writer, playwright and journalist. He worked as a journalist and editor before becoming manager of prose for the literary journal Juldyz and subsequently editor-in-chief of the newspaper Qazaq Adebieti. His first collection of short stories brought him recognition as a unique writer who successfully combined literary devices of prose and poetry – a style that he refined over the years in a succession of books. He is also a well-known playwright, whose plays have been staged in Kazakhstan and the former Soviet Union. His works have been published in several languages. He received the Ostrovsky Literary Prize, the Lenin Komsomol Prize of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic and the State Prize of the Kazakh SSR.
Marhabat Baigut is a writer, journalist and translator. He worked on regional newspapers for many years, as well as for the regional Communist Party Committee. He later occupied significant administrative positions and is currently editor-in-chief of the magazine Qazyghurt.kz. He is considered to be a master of the short story genre, and has published around two dozen collections of short stories, many of which have been translated into several languages. His essays have been collected into two volumes. He has also translated books by foreign writers into Kazakh. He has been awarded the orders Qurmet and Parasat, the International Alash Literature Prize and the title Honoured Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Smagul Yelubay is a Kazakh writer, journalist and screenwriter. His career has encompassed a range of editorial and journalistic positions in film and publishing and since 2010 he has been a professor at the Kazakh National Academy of Arts. His major work is the trilogy Aqboz Ui (Lonely Yurt), about famine and repression in Kazakhstan during the 1930s; it has been translated and published in the USA, Turkey and Spain. He is also the author of several short story collections, two novelsand a collection of selected essays and has written the screenplay for a number of feature films and an epic TV show about the early years of the Kazakh khanate. Yelubay has been awarded the order Qurmet and the title Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan.
Didakhmet Ashimkhanuly was a Kazakh writer and journalist. He worked as a journalist for many years and also served as president of the El-Shejire Public Fund; in this role, he published nearly 100 volumes of the works of the intelligentsia of the early twentieth century that had been banned in the Soviet time, collecting them into the Alash Murasy (Heritage of Alash) series. Ashimkhanuly has written numerous short stories and novellas, and has published collections of his selected works in three volumes. His books have been translated into several languages. He has also translated works by foreign writers into Kazakh. He was awarded the International Alash Literature Prize and held the title Honoured Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Jumabay Shashtaiuly is a Kazakh writer and journalist. He worked as a journalist and newspaper correspondent before occupying senior positions in journal and newspaper publishing and in radio broadcasting. He has published a range of short stories and novels and his literary essays were collected in two volumes. His style is famous for its harsh realism; his portrayal of hardships endured by shepherds in Qyzyl Qar, in particular, drew criticism from Soviet authorities for undermining the ideal of Soviet happiness. Shashtayuly is a recipient of the Award of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and is a laureate of the International Alash Prize as well as an Honoured Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Alibek Askarov is a writer. He has worked at various periodicals and since 1986 has been the editor-in-chief of the publishing house Oner. He was a deputy minister of communications of the Republic of Kazakhstan, served in the presidential administration of Kazakhstan and was general director of the National Academic Library. Since 2016, he has been director of the National Book Chamber. Askarov has authored over forty works of prose, including a six-volume edition of selected works. A well-known traveller, he has written two essays as a result of his journeys. His novels and short stories have been published in Beijing and Moscow. He is an Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan, a laureate of the State Prize of Kazakhstan and a recipient of the order Parasat.
Talasbek Asemkulov was a kuishi (traditional musician and composer), writer, screenwriter, journalist and a scholar of mythology, ethnography and history, as well as a literary and musical critic and literary translator. He was regarded a virtuoso performer of kuis (melodies)of the epoch of Genghis Khan and later periods. Many of these have been preserved and become known through his work. He also composed his own melodies. Recordings of his kuis feature in both solo albums and anthologies. Asemkulov’s major literary work, an autobiographical novel about his childhood, won the Prize of Soros Kazakhstan and was translated into six languages. He also published a novel, a film-tale and several screenplays. A five-volume edition of his selected works appeared in 2016.
Rakhimzhan Otarbayev was a writer and playwright. His career included senior positions in broadcasting, theatre, the presidential administration and the National Academic Library. He published several short story collections and two volumes of selected works. His works have been translated into several languages and two volumes were published in China. He was also a well-known playwright, authoring plays that are dedicated to historical figures and events. Many of these have been staged at Kazakhstani and foreign theatres and several theatre festivals have been based on his plays. Otarbayev received the International Aitmatov Prize, Makhambet Literary Prize, and the order Parasat. He was also an Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan and honorary professor at Atyrau State University.
Tursynzhan Shapay is a Kazakh writer, journalist, literary scholar, and literary critic. He has been appointed to a range of posts in television and publishing, and was also a senior research fellow at the Auezov Institute of Literature and Art. He has authored over 100 academic literary articles, most of which are devoted to issues in contemporary Kazakh literature and Abai studies. His debut book on Kazakh literature was followed by several other scholarly works, including a two-volume edition of his selected works. He has also translated works by foreign writers into Kazakh. Shapay has received the Lenin Komsomol Prize of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, the Albergenov Literary Prize and the International Alash Literature Prize; he is an Honoured Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Nurgali Oraz is a writer and playwright. He has published seven collections of short stories and his selected essays have been collected into two volumes. His prose works have been highly regarded by the literary community and have been translated into four languages. His short story ‘Qulyq’ (Craftiness) has been included in the compulsory Kazakh primary school curriculum and another story formed the basis for a film produced by the film studio Kazakhfilm. He is also a notable playwright. Oraz is a laureate of the International Alash Literature Prize and Kashkari International Literary Prize, and a recipient of the order Qurmet and the Taner Order of Turkey.
Zhussipbek Korgasbek is a prose writer, essayist, screenplay writer, and journalist. He has worked as a newspaper correspondent and later editor-in-chief and is currently general director of the children’s publishing house Jas Orken. His literary works include a collection of poems and several collections of short stories, two of which have been released as films. Korgasbek has made a series of TV programmes on literary figures of Kazakhstan, and is the author of several essays on literary and cultural figures, which have been widely acclaimed. He is an Honoured Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan and has received an award from the Jalyn publishing house as well as the Tarlan Hope Award.
Roza Mukanova is a writer and playwright. She has held a range of senior literary and governmental positions and is currently a teaching professor of playwriting at the Kazakh National University of Arts. She has published collections of stories and plays, including an edition of her selected works in two volumes. Her plays have been staged, and her most renowned short story has been performed as both a play and a film, the latter produced by the film studio Kazakhfilm. She has also translated Rabguzi’s Kısasü’l enbiya into Kazakh. Mukanova is a laureate of the Kazakhstan Youth Union Prize, the Albergenov Literary Prize and the International Alash Literature Prize. Mukanova is an Honoured Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Aigul Kemelbayeva is a writer, screenwriter and literary critic. She is head of the literary department at the Kazakh State Academic Theatre. Her prose works include a children’s tale, a short story collection, a novel, and two collections of essays. She also wrote thescreenplay for the film Kuna (Sin), produced by Kazakhfilm. She has published over 200 literary articles and essays and her short stories feature in two major anthologies. Kemelbayeva has received the State Youth Award Daryn, as well as some nineteen other literary awards including the Bulkyshev Literary Prize of Kazakhstan’s Union of Journalists. A member of Kazakhstan’s Union of Writers, she won the Prize of Soros Kazakhstan.
Didar Amantai is a bilingual writer, poet, screenwriter and journalist. He has held editorial and directorial positions in newspapers and television, hosted TV shows, and worked as editor-in-chief of the film studio Kazakhfilm. He has also served as advisor to the minister of culture and sport. Amantai is the author of several six collections of short stories and has seen his works translated into many languages. He has also authored scripts for documentaries of well-known Kazakh figures and for feature films. He has won the Prize of Soros Kazakhstan (twice), the State Youth Award Daryn and the Tarlan Hope Award; he is also an Honoured Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Dauren Quat is a writer and journalist. He has worked for newspapers and periodicals as a correspondent, editor and editor-in-chief. He is currently president of the Abai-Aqparat Public Fund, director of the web portal www.abai.kz, and editor-in-chief of the major literary newspaper Qazaq Adebieti. His short stories have attracted the attention of the literary community and critics for describing modern issues in light of ancient myths. He has published two major collections of prose works and his stories have been translated into three languages. Quat has received the Kashkari International Literary Prize and the MusrepovLiterary Prize and has won a state award for Outstanding Achievements in the Informational Sector.
Yuriy Serebryansky is a writer and poet. He is editor-in-chief of the journal Esquire Kazakhstan and a lecturer at the Open Society School of Literature in Almaty. He is the author of five volumes of prose and poetry. His book Altynshash (Golden Hair) is written from the perspective of the Polish diaspora in Kazakhstan, reflecting on the subjects of home, Motherland, steppe, and memory. His prose has been translated into three languages. He has also translated selected poems by Małgorzata Lebda and Gunnar Ekelöf into Russian. Two of Serebryanski’s books have won the Russian Award for best short prose; anotherwon an award at the 2017 Silk Roads Book Fair. He has also received the Kazakh PEN Club medal.