Kazakhistan President calls for launching Asia Prize in Literature

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (Kazinform)

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (Kazinform)

Nur-Sultan: Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has called for establishing the Asia Prize in Literature.

Addressing the First Forum of Asian Countries’ Writers in the Kazakh capital on Wednesday morning, Tokayev said that the Forum of Asian Countries’ Writers should become ‘an important venue for dialogue of writers’ and should be held in Asian countries on a large scale.

The problems that worry the minds of the entire humanity should be discussed at such events and it is especially important to develop Asia as a world center for spiritual development, he said.

“Therefore, the creation of conditions for modernization of literary processes is one of the main tasks. To this end, the Asia Prize in Literature is a must. We should strive to enhance the reputation of this prize,” President Tokayev said.

President Tokayev also proposed the launch of an electronic library of Asian writers that will open doors to Asia and help readers better understand the continent’s rich and multifaceted wisdom.

South Korean poet Ko Un (Kazinform)

South Korean poet Ko Un (Kazinform)

South Korean poet Ko Un said that Asian literature is achieving multilateral phenomena and is the new planetary literature.

“The word-of-mouth epic poems of ancient India, Persian lyric poetry, Chinese poetry, Arabian poems are being revived now as new literary traditions. They change drastically the contemporaneity,” Ko Un, a nominee for the Nobel Prize for Literature, said in the Kazakh capital.

The forum aims to strengthen and further promote literary and cultural ties between the nations of Asia, highlight the modern face, literature and spiritual values of Kazakhstan and share the best practices, Kazinform news agency reported.

The significance of the forum for Asia was highlighted by Ko Un.

“Today’s forum reflects the infinity of horizons and prospects in Central Asia. It’s my first visit to Kazakhstan. I thought about the great poet, Abai, on my way to Kazakhstan. Not only the Asian but also the world writers should seek significance and meaning of literature,” he said, quoted by kazinform.

Mongolian writer and poet Mend-Ooyo Gombojav (Kazinform)

Mongolian writer and poet Mend-Ooyo Gombojav (Kazinform)

Mongolian writer and poet Mend-Ooyo Gombojav suggested creating a fund that will support Asian writers.

Mend-Ooyo Gombojav told the forum that he hoped that the anthology of Asian literary works will be translated into many languages.

He also put forward a set of measures that will help support the Asian literature.

“It is crucial to find efficient measures to support the Asian literature. It would be great to create a fund that will support writers and promote their work worldwide,” Mend-Ooyo Gombojav said.

Mend-Ooyo Gombojav was nominated as a candidate for Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006. His works have been translated into over 30 languages, including English, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, German, and French.

Jordan’s former Minister of Culture Nancy Bakir (Kazinform)

Jordan’s former Minister of Culture Nancy Bakir (Kazinform)

Jordan’s former Minister of Culture Nancy Bakir, responding to a challenge from Kazakh Senator Mukhtar Kul-Mukhammed, recited in Arabic Abai’s poem Gylym tappai maktanba.

Nancy Bakir passed on the poetry challenge to Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to Jordan Aidarbek Tumatov, who in his turn invited Jordanian Ambassador to Kazakhstan Yousef Abdul Ghani to join them.

Kazinform said the poem recited by Nancy Bakir acquired a unique elegance and a beautiful rhythm peculiar to the Arabic language.

According to the news agency, 80 delegates from 38 countries, including Nobel Prize nominees, are attending the event.

During the two panel sessions on the first day, participants are focusing on the opportunities for and challenges to Asian literature. The Forum is organized with the support of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Kazakhstan Writers’ Union.

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