The Second International Chinghiz Aitmatov Academy Award Ceremony
On Wednesday, 12 December, the Aitmatov Academy held its second annual award ceremony at Senate House, University of London. Chinghiz Aitmatov is a bilingual writer (Kyrgyz & Russian) from Kyrgyzstan whose books have become a classics of the Russian literature of the 20th century. Aitmatov Academy seeks to popularize the writer's works in English and support new artists from Central Asia.
The award winners were selected by an international jury which included Prof. Nusurlu Shamerdenova (academic from Kazakhstan), Prof. Dmitry Kuznetsov (academic from the University of St Petersburg), Prof. Gennady Popov (head of the St Petersburg-based International Social Foundation of Culture and Education) and Amin Abdulla Pardhan (representative of the Aga Khan Ismaili community in the UK, owner of the 'Ladak' art gallery) and 2 members of the Aitmatov Academy: Rahima Abduvalieva(director) and Alexander Bitis (editor and translator), David Holohan – an editor of the EWR.
Awards were presented to: Kazakhstan's President Nazarbaev for the 'loyal friendship and long-standing support' of Chinghiz Aitmatov as well as the publication of the latter's complete collected works; Andrey Konchalovsky for his direction of the film First Teacher (collected on his behalf by his daughter Maria); the Society for Co-operation in Russian and Soviet Studies (for the best collection of Aitmatov's works in English and contribution to Russian-language studies); the Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Centre (London)for the best collection of Aitmatov's works in Turkish and Natalia Arinbasarova for her portrayal of Kyrgyz women in the film-adaptations of Aitmatov's works Jamilia and First Teacher.
Jamilia, a poetic and dramatic love story, was brought out by Telegram Books in a new translation by James Riordan in 2007 and was selected as Waterstones' Book of the Month for August
The event also featured two new artists from Central Asia. The first, Djumash Durusaliev, a Kyrgyz-born violinist now studying at London's Royal College of Music, is a rising star of the classical music world. He performed seven pieces accompanied by Alan Brown, a pianist from the Royal Academy of Music. Proceedings ended with a fashion show featuring a traditional Kazakh-inspired collection of garments and jewellery designed by Meruet Torybaeva, one half of the artistic team 'Meridian', from Kazakhstan.
The ceremony was attended by around two hundred people including an international collection of academic, artists, diplomats and representatives from international development funds.