‘Grandad! Ata! How did you even stay alive? How did you live to be a hundred in such good health and sound mind?’ my loved ones asked.
‘I’m surprised myself,’ I answered. ‘Probably the Almighty wanted you all to be born, and he had to keep me alive to drag me through the fire and ice of the godless people.’
– Bayangali Alimzhanov – A Hundred Years on the Steppe
The first work by the versatile Kazakh writer, Bayangali Alimzhanov to be translated into English is set to be published by Hertfordshire Press (ISBN 9781913356101).
Bayangali Alimzhanov is a poet, author, playwright, film director, actor, critic and satirist. A bearer of the ancient nomadic tradition of improvisational storytelling, he is the only non-Kyrgyz manaschi in the world. An “Honoured Worker of Kazakhstan and a member of the Eurasian Creative Guild, Alimzhanov is the author of four feature films, six documentaries and more than forty books in Kazakh and Russian, which have received a great deal of recognition throughout the region. Alimzhanov He has won 22 Grand Prix at aitys for improvisers, two republican contests for zhyrshy storytellers, and the International Manaschi Competition dedicated to the Kyrgyz epic, Manas.
Despite his success, A Hundred Years on the Steppe – which is set to be published in a collection with the novellas, “Let Me Live!” and “Ablai Khan and His Batyrs” is his first work to be translated into English and published in the West.
A Hundred Years on the Steppe is a fascinating first-person narrative which tells the story of the last century in Kazakhstan as seen through the eyes of one man. A chronicle of history, culture
and traditions, it is simultaneously heart-warming and gut-wrenching in its honesty.
The publication of this book is an important step in introducing the culture and history of Kazakhstan to English language readers. Hertfordshire Press is a unique publishing house in terms of its place in the ‘communication’ between cultures. Hertfordshire Press has already published 50 books by Kazakh authors and is committed to continuing to bring Eurasian literature to the attention of Western audiences.
The translation of A Hundred Years on the Steppe was undertaken by Eurasian Creative Guild member and experienced translator, Jonathan Campion. The book was edited by the author and journalist, Stephen M. Bland, and proofed by the writer and translator, Caroline Walton.
A Hundred Years on the Steppe will be presented as part of the Literary Week in London, 1st -6th October 2020, and at the Open Eurasian Literature Festival and Book Forum in Madrid.