On November 20th, 2017, awards were handed to Tajik writers in Stockholm, Sweden as part of the sixth chapter of the literary festival, Open Eurasian Literature Festival & Book Forum. The festival took place over four days in the heart of Sweden in the city famous for its rich culture.
A total of 14 events were held as part of the OEBF 2017, including presentations by authors from Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Israel, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Sweden and other countries. Roundtables and art exhibitions also took place. More than 300 people from 20 countries attended the festival.
Within the framework of the festival, 22 books published by the publishing houses of Hertfordshire Press and the Cambridge International Press were presented. The attention of the audience was held by a new book by Gulsifat Shakhidi, I am Looking Towards the East. In her work, the author stresses the importance of the development of an intercultural, interethnic space and the establishment of humanitarian bridges connecting Russia and Tajikistan.
The creative output of Gulsifat Shahidi has repeatedly received international recognition. in 2015, she was awarded the ‘Dove of Peace’ medal from the international association, Generals of the World for Peace, and in 2016 she won the award ‘Author of the Year’ from the British publishing house, Hertfordshire Press. In 2017, she received the honorary award, For Personal Contributions to the Association of the Peoples of Eurasia through Literature at the prestigious OEBF festival in Sweden. The prize was presented by Vice-Chairman of the Eurasian Creative Guild (London), Mark (Marat) Akhmedjanov.
Another Tajik writers presenting their creative works at the OEBF festival was Shahzoda Nazarova from Samarkand, winner of the accolade, ‘Best Female Author, 2016′. This prestigious literary prize is named after Marziya Zakiryanova and awarded each year to a best female author. Shahzoda Nazarova Samarqandi, a writer who pens her works in Farsi, this year her book, Stockholm Syndrome was translated into English and presented at the ABF Cultural Center in the hall named after Swedish writer, Elsa Beskow in Stockholm.
‘The book is an exploration of what it means to be both a part of and apart from a culture. It’s a ruminative, hard-hitting and poignant commentary on the meaning of home and where this can be found: in a place, a person or in memories,’ commented the book’s British editor, author Stephen M. Bland.
As part of the closing ceremony for the Open Eurasian Literature Festival & Book Forum 2017, participants visited the two most important libraries in Stockholm, the International Library of Sweden and the Stockholm Public Library, donating their books In Tajik, Russian and English as a sign of friendship and cooperation between peoples, because fiction is the cultural and spiritual heritage of all mankind.
In this present extremely difficult time, when various challenges, confrontations and threats are intensifying, the role of culture in uniting millions of people of different nationalities, languages and religions, and strengthening the bonds of friendship, cooperation and harmony is ever more important. Seen in this light, the 6th Open Eurasian Literature Festival & Book Forum takes on a special meaning.
Authors from Tajikistan to have previously participated in the festival include Dushanbe writer, Tolibshohi Davlat, winner of the Open Eurasia contest in 2014. In 2017, more than 1,100 entries from authors in 37 countries were submitted for the Open Eurasia contests, including participants from Tajikistan.
The organisers of the OEBF festival and Open Eurasia contests are the not for profit organisation, the Eurasian Creative Guild (London) and the publishing house, Hertfordshire Press (Great Britain), without hosted the events without financial support from any state or affiliated bodies.