For the first time since 2019, diplomats and experts from the art world have come together to support the continent’s best writers.
On 18th-19th of November, the Yunus Emre Institute (London) hosted the Hertfordshire Press Award Ceremony and Festival, established with the support of the Eurasian Creative Guild (London).
Diplomats from the embassies of Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Belarus came to support the nominees and laureates. The festival events brought together more than 100 cultural and artistic figures from 20 countries.
In the very center of London, in the hospitable hall of the Yunus Emre Institute, as part of the festival, a presentation of the new books of Hertfordshire Press and the Ceremony of announcing the winners of the award were held. Among the guests and participants there were First Secretary Konstantin Yushmanov, Second Secretary Mariyam Semenova and Attaché Ekaterina Tatarnikova from the Russian Embassy, Adviser to the Embassy of Kazakhstan Yerbol Dauletiyar, Second Secretary of the Embassy of Tajikistan Rustam Mullozoda, Attaché of the Embassy of Uzbekistan Islam Orifjonov, Adviser to the Embassy of Belarus Andrey Miskevich. The partners of the event were the Orzu Arts Theater, the poetic association “Poezja Londyn” and the representative office of the Foundation of the First President of Kazakhstan in the UK. The guests of the event were greeted by dishes of national Uzbek cuisine from Chief Muzafar of the Oshpaz company.
The Hertfordshire Press Awards is a literary prize that has been awarded to the publisher’s authors since 2013 as recognition of their merits and contributions to international cultural heritage. The prize is awarded once every three years, and the previous ceremony took place at the British Library in 2019, shortly before the global lockdown caused by the pandemic. Therefore, the 2022 ceremony became especially significant, marking the return of literary figures to active international creative activity.
As part of the Awards Ceremony held on 18th of November, 2022, awards were presented in categories such as:
- “Best Travel Book”
- “Best Children Book”
- “Critics’ Choice”
- “Best Research Book”
- “Best Academy Book”
- “Best Biography”
- “Best Poetic Book”
- “Best Love Story”
- “Best Book in Native Language”.
The ceremony was personally conducted by the founder of Hertfordshire Press and vice-chairman of ECG (London) Marat Akhmedjanov. All winners received certificates and commemorative trophies in the form of a red deer – a symbol of the Hertfordshire Press publishing house.
The best book devoted to travel was “The Silk Road: Revisited” by British author Nick Rowan. This colorful photo album about Nick’s journey through the countries of the Silk Road captures intrigue from the front pages. The prize for the best book for children was also awarded to the British writer, educator and traveler, Gareth Stamp, for his book “The Egret and the Cow.” Gareth collected notes for this book on his trip to India, and the book was not only written by him, but also illustrated.
Two more trophies went to authors from Israel. The winner in the Bestseller nomination was the book “War Will Tell the Further Plan” by Alexander Kazarnovsky, and the Best Book in Native Language category was given to the book in Russian “Сундук Безумного Кукольника” by a native of Moldova, Nina Yaholnitzer. Her book was published with grant funds from the winner of the Open Eurasia competition. Alexander could not attend the ceremony, and his representative was the ex-chairman of the Eurasian Creative Guild (London) John Farndon.
Kazakhstan, which won both awards in scientific nominations, also showed a high level of quality. The trophy in the nomination for “Best Research Book” was won by Salima Kunanbayeva’s book “Competence-based Modeling of Professional Foreign Language Education,” Kazakh University of International Relations and World Languages named after Abylay Khan (Almaty), which was received as a representative by the first chairman of the ECG (London), an outstanding writer and philosopher Doctor David William Perry. Her colleague Tlektes Espolov received a prize in the nomination for “Best Academy Book” for the book “The Kazakh Model for a Research University,” dedicated to the experience of the Kazakh National Agrarian Research University (Almaty), the trophy was also received by a representative of the university, head of the representative office of the Foundation of the First President of Kazakhstan in Great Britain, Gani Bekenov.
Poetry was celebrated by two winners. In the nomination for the “Best Poetic Book,” the prestigious award was awarded to the book of the writer Sergei Bely (Ukraine) “Maestro and Muse,” dedicated to the eternal theme of the confrontation between good and evil in our world (released in Russian and English), the trophy was received by a representative of the author, the book’s translator, Timur Akhmedjanov. The “Critic’ Choice” award, in turn, was given to “Colorful tears,” a collection of poems by the poetess Khosiyat Rustamova (Uzbekistan).
The prize in the nomination for “Biography” was awarded to the book “A History of Lithuanian Writers in the United Kingdom” by the Lithuanian writer Aldona Grupas (Great Britain). Aldona Grupas is a repeated winner of the Open Eurasia literary competition, and a documentary was made on the basis of the winning biographical book in 2021 as part of the London Film Academy project.
The winner of the most romantic nomination “Best Love Story” was the book “Soar over Life” by Ali Panther (creative pseudonym of a native of Kazakhstan, Alexandra Lacarre, Switzerland).
As part of the two-day festival, the presentation of a new book by Georgy Pryakhin (Russia) was dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the first lady of the USSR, Raisa Gorbacheva, a bright concert with performances by poets from the creative association Poezja Londyn, as well as presentations by the winning authors of the Open Eurasia Prize – Andrei Grodzinsky (Uzbekistan) and Nargisa Karasartova (Kyrgyzstan) took place. Nina Yagolnitzer and Khosiyat Rustamova presented their creativity at personal presentations, and Professor of Music Joseph Sanders, Arman Kumisbai, Honored Worker of the Culture of Kazakhstan, ECG Trainee (London) and Orzu Arts member, Yerlan Ryskali, became the stars of the concert at the ceremony. Guests of the event were able to enjoy not only music, but also works – paintings and sculptures – by the British sculptor Richard Slee.
Events to promote laureates will get their logical development in 2022 in Melbourne, Australia, from December 10th-16th as part of the Open Eurasian Literary Festival & Book Forum and December 22nd-23rd in London as part of the Eurasian Arts Festival from Orzu Arts and the Eurasian Creative Guild (London)
Hertfordshire Press (UK) – Since 2002, it has specialized in publishing modern non-fiction by authors of Eurasian peoples, as well as reprinting important works of past years, which, despite their non-fading relevance, are currently unavailable in English.
Eurasian Creative Guild (London) is a non-profit public organization founded in 2015 in London in order to unite and promote cultural and art figures of the Eurasian region in the English-speaking space. The main activity of ECG (London) was the organization and holding of festivals in different countries of the world, literary and creative competitions, conferences and other events in which creative people have the opportunity to discuss new projects, present their works, as well as get acquainted with the works of colleagues and get the opportunity to reach the international level.