English translation of Erkin Azam's selected prose presented at cultural event in Washington

15 Mar 2015

On the occasion of the Navruz spring festivity, Uzbekistan’s Permanent Delegation to UNESCO has held a cultural event devoted to Uzbek literature and arts at the Uzbek embassy in Washington. The event launched the English translation of the book “Farewell to Fairy Tales” by renowned Uzbek author Erkin Azam.

Erkin Azam’s selected prose was translated into the English and French languages with the backing of Uzbekistan’s Permanent Delegation to UNESCO.

“Novelist and screenwriter Erkin Azam is one of the most prominent representatives of contemporary Uzbek literature today, with the ideas of humanism, liberty and freedom of thought playing a key role in his works. Azam’s works, which skilfully convey the ideas of humanism and the pursuit of spiritual freedom, have undoubtedly enriched Uzbek literature, earning the author our people’s sincere love and respect. We hope he will soon find a similar place in the hearts of western readers too,” Uzbekistan’s ambassador to UNESCO Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva said, commenting on the launch of the book.

This edition comprises two novels and two shorts stories which lead the reader to deeper understanding of how the external, political and economic transformations of recent history were reflected in the consciousness, thoughts and lives of the Uzbek people.

Erkin Azam is the editor-in-chief of the highly acclaimed Tafakkur magazine, an Uzbek periodical covering social and literary issues. He made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary Uzbek literature and is well known not only in Uzbekistan and Central Asia, but also beyond. Being one of the most proficient and influential Uzbek authors of our time, he is mentor to a whole generation of young talented authors, playwrights and literary critics. Films based on Erkin Azam’s scripts have received awards at both local and international film festivals, while his plays have been successfully and widely staged at national theatres.

In May 2013, Uzbekistan’s Permanent Delegation to UNESCO hosted a presentation of the film “Heaven is my abode”, in the Diplomatic Academy of Paris. The feature film, which is based on the script written by Erkin Azam has won broad critical acclaim at many international film festivals. The Paris event marked the beginning of cooperation between Uzbekistan’s mission to UNESCO and the author.

The evening of Uzbek literature and arts in Washington also included an exhibition of paintings by prominent Uzbek artists Javlon Umarbekov and Bobur Ismoilov, as well as piano performances by Fatima Ahmadova, a talented young pianist, who is a student at the Tashkent State Conservatory of Music.

“The art and culture of Uzbekistan are among the most remarkable in the East. This rich culture formed over thousands of years, absorbing the traditions and customs, of various people who inhabited the territory of modern-day Uzbekistan over the shifting epochs, proximity to the Great Silk road naturally facilitated a merging of cultures brought by different ethnic groups. Today, our country is proud home to the majestic, world famous cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, described by many as the pearls of world civilizations thanks to their architectural opulence and exquisite artefacts which bear witness to our region’s long and fascinating history,” Karimova-Tillyaeva said in her opening speech.

“Javlon Umarbekov and Babur Ismoilov are well-known representatives of two different schools of painting, these artists well represent contemporary Uzbek art, a modern art which has absorbed the centuries old heritage of our people, and as such is imbued with the ability to comprehend and perceive arts as one of the most important ways of cognition,” she went on to say.

“I would particularly like to point out that the branches of art presented at today’s event constitute a significant share of what falls under the umbrella term ‘culture’, which alongside science and education makes up the integral values of UNESCO,” Uzbekistan’s envoy to UNESCO said.

Karimova-Tillyaeva said she hoped that the event would contribute to the better understanding of the scope and style of contemporary Uzbek arts, literature and music, as well as spark interest in the rich traditions, culture and spiritual values of Uzbek people.

The cultural event was attended by US officials, representatives of Washington-based diplomatic corps and academic circles.