From 13th to 17th November, the eighth Open Eurasian Literary Festival and Book Forum (OEBF 2019) was held in Brussels (Belgium). Open Eurasia is an international initiative that for the eighth year brings together creative people from all over the world – writers, poets, translators, artists and other talented people. This year, festival guests represented more than 25 countries.
Organised by the Eurasian Creative Guild (London) and the British publishing house Hertfordshire Press, the Festival teamed up with AidEx – to create an exhibition on a mutual platform to bring attention to humanitarian issues currently affecting most post-soviet countries.
The Open Eurasian Literature Festival & Book Forum (OEBF) is the only annual literary festival in the world to promote Eurasian literature internationally. As a cultural bridge between East and West, this unique event provides an opportunity for authors and artists to talk about their work, share experiences and find like-minded people from different countries with whom to implement joint projects.
The program for the OEBF Festival 2019 in Brussels was intensive, and consisted of many different events, including book presentations, exhibitions and seminars for writers and artists by experts in the fields of literature, publishing and communication.
On 13th of November, an exhibition of ECG London artists was held at the Brussels Expo and the R. Hubbard Museum. The works of the following artists were successfully presented at the exhibition: Olesya Shibaeva (Moldova), Gulzada Hamra (Kyrgyzstan), Emil Guzairov (Russia), Ravil Abdulov(Kazakhstan) Akhmetzhan Akhatbakiev (Kazakhstan) and “Peaks of Asia” (Almagul Yesimova, AbayChunchalinov, Elena Fursa, Bakytnur Burdesbekov, Asia Bekisheva, Adilgali Bayandin, SmakovaBibigul from Kazakhstan and Laura Pak from Kyrgyzstan).
This year, the opening ceremony of the festival was dedicated to the 175th anniversary of Abay and was held on November 14th at the Brussels Expocenter, where the following speakers made a welcoming speech and shared their thoughts on the contribution of Abay Kunanbayev’s work to world literature: Johnathan Fryer (British historian, researcher), Marat Akhmedjanov (vice-president of ECG London) and Begizhan Akhmedov (writer from Kyrgyzstan), who solemnly presented Marat Akhmedjanov with the Order of Honor and Courage Fund (Russia) and presented his book “The Wanderer”.
Honorary guests spoke at the opening ceremony: Ambassador of Tajikistan Erkinkhon Rahmatullozoda, Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan Mukhtar Dzhumaliev and Counselor-Envoy of the Embassy of Kazakhstan – Erbolat Sembaev. On behalf of the organizer of the exhibition AIDEX, Peter Lindsay gave a speech and he also conducted a tour of AIDEX. On the same day, there was a panel discussion dedicated to the work of the great writer Chingiz Aitmatov and the influence of Abay’s heritage on world literature. The report “Oscar Wilde in Central Asia – drawing a parallel between the work of Wilde and Kyrgyz writer Chingiz Aitmatov (1928-2008)” was made by the British researcher Jonathan Fryer.
The panel discussion participants included: a literary agent – Bakhtygul Makhanbetova, a scientist – Dandai Yskakuly, and a translator – Nurym Taibek from Kazakhstan. On November 15th, the presentation of the third “ECG-2019 Book Series” was held by Angelina Krasnogir, manager of the Hertfordshire Press publishing house. The following books published in London were presented at the presentation: Vladimir Tulinov, “Guardsmen of Hippocrates” (Belarus), Kanybek Imanaliev, “Kaganat” (Kyrgyzstan), Alfred Engalychev, “And God Give Me …” (Kyrgyzstan) and the collection “Thread” -3 ”, which was presented by one of the authors of the collection – Aya Maksutova (Kazakhstan). One of the most striking events of the festival was the presentation of books by the winners of the Open Eurasia 2018 competition published through grants awarded to the winners:
1. “Lost Paradise – Real Paradise”, Gulsifat Shahidi (Tajikistan) with Stephen Bland – Best Translation 2018 2. “Sofya’s heaven or the magic gift of the dwarves” Oksana Gordiyko (Poland-Ukraine) – 2018 Nemat Kelimbetov Prize 3. “Mouse Leia” Arina Chunaeva (Russia) with Stephen Bland and Mariola Fedarchuk (Great Britain) – Maria Shevel Prize 2018 4. “Poems about boys” Lyudmila Dubkovetskaya (Moldova) with John Farndon and Stephen Bland (Great Britain) – 2018 Marzia Zakiryanova Prize. Presentations of the following speakers took place on the same day: 1. Alan Flowers (Great Britain), who presented a book dedicated to Belarusian classics – “Celebration of Vera Rich’s life and work”. The presentation was attended by a representative of the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus – Julia Lyashuk. 2. Poetess Josephine (Berkinaliev Sagynbubu) from Kyrgyzstan, presenting her book “Girl dancing in the sky” 3. Jonathan Farndon (UK) 4. Nurym Ta.