Society • 15 March, 2019

Contemporary Kazakh culture presented at London Book Fair

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The National Bureau of Translations of Kazakhstan, together with Cambridge University Press and the Embassy of Kazakhstan in the United Kingdom, presented the concepts of two English-language anthologies of Kazakh literature at this year's London Book Fair.

The presentation took place during a seminar titled “Contemporary Kazakh Culture in the Global World". The speakers on the panel included the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the UK Erlan Idrissov, Director of Education Reform at Cambridge University Press Jane Mann, Executive Director of the National Bureau of Translations of Kazakhstan Rauan Kenzhekhanuly, Director of Education Innovation and leader of the Educational Reform and Innovation team at the University of Cambridge Professor Colleen McLaughlin, as well as poet, founder and co-editor of The High Window quarterly poetry review David Cooke.

The anthologies of the works of 60 Kazakh authors – 30 poets and 30 writers – are expected to be published by the world-renowned Cambridge University Press in September this year.

“It is a very important project aimed at letting the British and Western public know more about the history and culture of our country through its literature. As a diplomat, I am very pleased to observe the steady growth of interest in Kazakhstan across the world, and I hope this project will serve as a catalyst for further expansion of such interest," Ambassador Idrissov said.

The National Bureau of Translations is implementing the publication of anthologies in collaboration with Cambridge University Press, as well as the largest publishing houses of China, Egypt, France, Russia and Spain, to ensure the translation of the anthologies into the six official UN languages.

“What I find most exciting about the Ruhani Zhangyru programme is the concept of a nation investing in putting out a window for others to look through when it comes to understanding Kazakh culture. The translation of Kazakh poetry and prose into six UN languages really means that globally the culture of Kazakhstan will be better understood. And I do think that once the English-speaking audiences become aware of the richness of Kazakh poetry and prose and start to look through that window, the demand for such projects will grow," said Ms. Mann.

The National Bureau of Translations also presented textbooks published within the “New humanitarian knowledge. 100 new textbooks in the Kazakh language" project, which is one of the core aspects of the Ruhani Zhangyru programme.

According to Mr. Kenzhekhanuly, there are no comparable projects in the world. The best textbooks from all over the world are being translated into Kazakh and distributed among Kazakh universities free of charge, in both print and electronic forms.

The leading publishing houses of Kazakhstan – “Brand Book", “AlmatyKitap" “Atamura" and “Mektep" - also presented their products at the Kazakhstan stand under the Ruhani Zhangyru logo. Fiction, scientific and historical literature, as well as encyclopaedias, textbooks, dictionaries and other products in Kazakh, Russian, English, German, French and other languages were in high demand among visitors to the fair. Representatives of large British libraries also expressed interest in purchasing products from the Kazakh publishing houses.

The fair will run until 14 March 2019 at Olympia London.

The London Book Fair is one of the largest book fairs in the world and a global negotiating platform for specialists in the printing and publishing business. Each year, the fair gathers more than 25,000 professionals in the publishing sphere from around the world. The fair has been held on an annual basis since 1971.

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