Global book forum and literature festival on May 3-5 in Azerbaijan

Eurasia News

Baku: Azerbaijan’s Nizami Ganjavi International Center will host a global book forum and literature festival in May 2013, to celebrate 900 years since the emergence of renowned female poet Mahsati Ganjavi. The Open Central Asia Book Forum and Literature Festival 2013 takes place on 3-5 May at the Center, based in Ganja, Azerbaijan.  The Region Initiative (TRI) that  is a Tri-regional Umbrella of Tourism related organisations. TRI is functioning as a link among three regions—-South Asia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe supports this event.

The event will bring together international, regional and local authors, publishing companies, government departments and agencies, educational institutions, retailers, and readers, to help further develop the publishing industries of Azerbaijan and Central Asia.

There will be book launches from internationally-acclaimed literary figures, and book readings by authors will take place during the days leading up to the event, which is being organised by London-based publishing house Silk Road Media. The winners of a literary competition will also be announced, with a grand prize of publication in the UK by Hertfordshire Press, a Silk Road Media imprint.

Attendees will discuss the promotion of Azerbaijani and Central Asian literature abroad as well as how best to integrate international educational literature into regional schools, colleges, libraries and universities. The festival will include masterclasses on literary translation, poetry, and featured books, as well as panel discussions on common issues facing the publishing sector.

The key supporting partners for the Open Central Asia Book Forum and Literature Festival 2013 are the Nizami Ganjavi International Center; the Library of Alexandria; the Office of the Mayor of Ganja; and the State Committee on Work with Diaspora.
The event follows on from first Open Central Asia Book Forum and Literature Festival, which took place on 24-25 November, 2012, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, with a total of 1,300 attendees at the first such event since independence. It featured appearances by international literary stars including Janusz Leon Wisniewski (Poland), Hamid Ismailov (UK and Uzbekistan), and Elchin Safarli (Azerbaijan).
Mr Ismailov said: “Writing books is quite a lonely occupation. For long periods of time an author is imprisoned in his solitude, chained to his pen or a computer. Therefore any celebration of his or her work, meeting his or her readers enormously encourages – I dare to say – every author – it’s like for Antaeus to touch the ground. Especially if the author due to different circumstances of life lives far away from his readers. The Open Central Asia Book Forum gives this opportunity to many authors: famous and young, international and local. It’s a great opportunity where writers meet their colleagues, readers, publishers and media. It tries to bridge different worlds, different cultures and literatures. It is a feast of literature and I wish this Forum every success.”

Nick Rowan, author of Friendly Steppes: A Silk Road Journey, said: “I found the Open Central Asia Book Forum 2012 in Bishkek, the first of its kind in Central Asia, a fantastic forum to connect with those interested in the literature and publishing worlds. The variety of talks, activities and events made for two days packed with energy and enthusiasm as to how we can progress and resolve the challenges of book publishing in Central Asia. I particularly enjoyed meeting like-minded people from all over the world and exchanging stories and ideas. For anyone contemplating attending the next book forum and literature festival, I thoroughly encourage you to apply and make the most of the opportunities this event brings to both authors and publishers.”

Marat Akhmedjanov, Silk Road Media publisher, said: “The Open Central Asia Book Forum and Literature Festival 2013 is dedicated to the life and works of Mahsati Ganjavi, a beacon of world literature, and we want to see more writers from this region on a global stage. To help achieve this, we are bringing together regional and international publishers to share their experiences, and to further develop the industry.”
Mahsati Ganjavi was a 12th century poet, born in Ganja, Azerbaijan, and a famous rubai writer, with her most productive period spent in the palace of Sultan Mahmud Seldjuk and that of his uncle Sanjar Seldjuk. Mahsati Ganjavi commonly wrote rubai in Persian, with love as a key theme, and her work is distinguished by its worldliness, humanism, epicurism and optimism.

For international authors and publishers, the forum and festival will provide an opportunity to network and to discuss their work and experiences. For regional and local authors, it will be a platform to promote themselves, to talk with readers, gain international experience, and take part in the literature competition.

For readers, the Open Central Asia Book Forum and Literature Festival 2013 will be an opportunity to find out more about the works of both known and new authors from Azerbaijan, Central Asia and beyond.

For more information, please visit

The Open Central Asia Book Forum and Literature Festival 2013 is being organised by Silk Road Media, a British publishing house which for more than a decade has brought Central Asia to the world through magazines, travel guides, books, events and more. For more information, please visit

Hertfordshire Press translates and publishes books by Central Asian authors in English, and which are available from

Nizami Ganjavi International Center, based in Ganja, Azerbaijan, was established in September, 2012, in order to raise awareness of the great works of poet Nizami Ganjavi, to help return his masterpieces back to his homeland, to be a depository for Nizami’s works, and to further develop the values embodied in his works through community engagement. The Nizami Ganjavi International Council of Patrons and Board Members are esteemed and highly respected figures in the international arena who graciously provide their time and energy to the continual development of the Center and its initiatives.

Nizami Ganjavi, the greatest representative of the Eastern Renaissance, was born in the 12th century in Azerbaijan and represented the quintessence of world literature and philosophy in his immortal work Khamsa (Five), via the aesthetic power of his art. Even now, in times when science and technology are developing exponentially, mysticism remains a source of intense fascination, and it is impossible not to be amazed by the clear logic and consciousness in the works of Nizami Ganjavi.

Azerbaijan has an ancient and historic cultural heritage, including the distinction of being the first Muslim majority country with theatres and opera. The Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan (ADR) was established in 1918, becoming the first democratic, legal and secular state in all of the East and the Islamic world. One of most important accomplishments of ADR was the extension of suffrage to women, making Azerbaijan the first Muslim nation to grant women equal political rights with men.

Another great source of national pride is sage Mehseti Ganjavi, whose poetry has been translated into Western as well as into Eastern languages, and has played an important role in humanity’s moral development. It has inspired generations of poets and artists from all cultures, as has the work of famous poet, Nizami Ganjavi.

For media enquiries, please contact:

James Willsher
Regional manager
Silk Road Media
(996) 555 30 68 45

International participants:
Anastacia Lee
Hertfordshire Press

Contest enquiries and questions:
Marina Bashmanova
Director of contest