2017 celebrated the Centenary of the October Revolution and the 100th anniversary of the births of outstanding leaders, John Kennedy, Indira Gandhi and Sharaf Rashidov, whose interwoven destinies would have a profound impact on the history of the 20th century.
Sharaf Rashidov, was born on 6 November 1917 in Jizzakh, Uzbekistan. An outstanding diplomat, he is known for his peacekeeping activities, particularly during the Caribbean crisis, and as the architect of a peace treaty between India and Pakistan. He was also a talented writer with over 9 books published, work transferred to film and poetry set to music, but it was the legendary ‘Kashmir Song’ which assured Rashidov his greatest fame. It is a work that has long deserved international recognition and is a worthy introduction to an appreciation of both historic and contemporary Uzbek literature, worldwide.
The sixth OEBF Festival was dedicated to Sharaf Rashidov and following a presentation of ‘Kashmir Song’, published in English by Hertfordshire Press, the author was honoured posthumously, with the most prestigious award for his ‘Contribution to the Development and Promotion of Eurasian Literature’ by Marat Akhmedzhanov, vice-chairman of the Eurasian Creative Guild.
Uzbek literature owes much to its rich oral heritage but this is but one of the characteristics of the high calibre creative writing to emerge from the country, as exemplified by the number of Uzbek authors whose work has been represented in the OEBF festivals over the years.
This year, the breadth of subject matter of Uzbek work was poignantly illustrated by the presentation of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ by Shahzoda Nazarova, currently based in the Netherlands and nominated best female author, OEBF-2016, and ‘Poems Island’ by Raim Farhadi, Laureate of the International Association ‘Generals of Peace for Peace’.
Tashkent author, Isazhon Sulton was awarded 2nd place in the Short Prose category and Feruza Eshmirzayeva took third place in the field of Translation. They follow in the footsteps of previous award-winning festival participants from Uzbekistan including renowned authors: Erkin Agzam, Boris Nedosekov, Marinika Babanazarova, Hamid Ismailov and Galina Dolgaya.
Unique people create unique literature and a core aim of the annual The Open Eurasian Literature Festival & Book Forum is to create a platform on which a community of talented people can exchange ideas and promote their cultural activities to a wider, international audience. In Stockholm, this was delivered through an expansive and stimulating programme of presentations, art exhibitions, performances, discussions and debate involving authors, poets, musicians, publishers, editors and translators from more than 10 countries including: Belarus, Bulgaria, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Sweden, UK, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Now in its sixth year, the event continues to gather momentum and in 2017, over 1100 participants from 37 countries, including 47 participants from Uzbekistan alone, submitted work to the open competition.
The OEBF Festival and the Open Eurasia competition are the non-profit organizations, operating without public subsidy and supported by the Eurasian Creative Guild and the Hertfordshire Press (Great Britain) publishing house.