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3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97202-8199

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Hamid Ismailov is a multilingual writer, journalist, and translator from Uzbekistan, whose work engages with human experiences of the fall of the Soviet Union and the transition to a globalized, post-Cold War world. For this event he will join in a conversation with Seattle-based translator Shelley Fairweather-Vega, who has published acclaimed English translations of his novels Of Strangers and Bees and Gaia, Queen of Ants. Moderated by Russian department professor Naomi Caffee, the discussion and audience Q&A will cover a range of topics including identity politics and conceptions of race and ethnicity in Soviet and post-Soviet contexts, the challenges of multilingual and cross-cultural literary translation, navigating state censorship and global literary markets, and the place of Central Asia in world literature. 

Born in 1954 in the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic, Hamid Ismailov was forced to flee Uzbekistan soon after its independence from the Soviet Union, due to what the state dubbed “unacceptable democratic tendencies.” To this day, his works are banned in Uzbekistan. Now based in the United Kingdom, he is the author of numerous works of poetry and prose, including The Railway, The Underground, and The Dead Lake, which was long listed for the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. The Devils’ Dance forms a trilogy alongside Of Strangers and Bees and Ismailov’s new novel, Manaschi.

Shelley Fairweather-Vega is a translator for attorneys, academics, authors, and activists around the world, with a special focus on Central Asia. Her poetry and prose translations have been published by multiple US and UK publishers including the journals Critical Flame, Translation Review, Words Without Borders, poetry and short story anthologies, and more. She runs FairVega Translations and its sister company, FairVega Russian Library Services, which helps public libraries build and improve their Russian-language collections. She is former president of the Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society and a co-founder of the Northwest Literary Translators.  

Sponsored by the Russian department. Free and open to the public. All attendees must be masked, vaccinated, and boosted.

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