has published six collections of poetry, including Watch Fire, for which he received the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; many edited volumes and translations; and six books of nonfiction, among them, Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars, Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain, The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War, and Self-Portrait with Dogwood. His writings have been translated into nearly forty languages; his journalism appears widely; his honors include a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French government, numerous translation awards, and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial and Ingram Merrill Foundations. As director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa since 2000, Merrill has conducted cultural diplomacy missions to more than fifty countries. He served on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO from 2011-2018, and in April 2012 President Barack Obama appointed him to the National Council on the Humanities.
Nina Murray was born and raised in the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv. She holds advanced degrees in linguistics and creative writing. She is the author of the poetry collection Alcestis in the Underworld (Circling Rivers Press, 2019) as well as chapbooks Minimize Considered (Finishing Line Press, 2018), Minor Heresies (Heartland Review Press, 2020), and Damascus Electric (Pen & Anvil Press, 2020). Her translations from Russian and Ukrainian include Peter Aleshkovsky’s Stargorod, Oksana Zabuzhko’s Museum of Abandoned Secrets, and Oksana Lutsyshyna’s Ivan and Phoebe (forthcoming from Deep Vellum).
She speaks Russian, Ukrainian, Spanish, Lithuanian, and English.
Nuraina Satpayeva lives in Almaty. She graduated from Kazakh Technical University as a systems engineer. She studied at Almaty Literary School. She participated in the forum of young writers in Lipki, the Children’s Writers Forum of the SEIP Foundation. Laureate of Litodrama contest, finalist of Grand Remark contest, semi-finalist of Voloshin festival, Lubimovka contest, Badenweiler contest, Author to the Stage contest. She was published in the magazines Neva, Sibirskie Ogny, LiterraNova, Novaya Yunost, and in a collection of short stories by AST Publisher and the SEIP Foundation.
Short story “No Photography,” Neva magazine, 2019
Short story “New Year’s Snow,” a collection of short stories “Taxi-c Book,” AST, 2019
Short story “Alka and the Silver Tamga,” SEIP Foundation, 2019
Short story “Kara,” Siberian Lights magazine, 2020
Short story “Fantasy,” Novaya Yunost magazine, 2021.
Aman (Amangeldy) Rakhmetov. A poet. He was born on June 3, 1995 in Uralsk (Kazakhstan), wrote his first poems in the military boarding school “Zhas ulan” at the age of 11. After graduating from school, he was enrolled into the Military Air-Force Academy named after N. Zhukovsky and Y. Gagarin, where he began to take poetry seriously.
2017 – Took part poetry seminar “contemporary” held under the Union of Writers of the Russian Federation. Participatedin literary readings at the Platonov Festival. The poem “The Earth revolves, and people…” was included in the collection “50 best literary works of Kazakhstan according to “Ansar”.
2018 – His poems were published in the magazine “Podyem”, “Thoughts”.
Participant of the Voronezh regional convention of young writers.
2019 – His first poetry book – “Almost” – comes out with a foreword by Vyacheslav Lyutoy.
Publications in literary magazines “Moloko”, “Prostor,”
“Kamerton” and in the newspaper “Literary Russia”.
2020 – Publications of poems in the magazines “Neva”, “Friendship of Nations”, “Formaslov”, “Dactyl”, “New Bank”, “Lift”, “Prostor”.
Took part in the poetry workshop of the SEIP Foundation, supervised Anna Gedimin.
2021 – Graduate of the open literary school in Almaty, head of the poetry workshop Evgeny Abdullayev.
Participant of the poetry seminar of the publishing house “Poetry”, head of the poetry seminar Alexey Alyokhin.
Poems published in “Gostinaya” journal.
She graduated from the poetry seminars of the Open Literary School Almaty (2017-2018 and 2020-2021) and the Moscow studio of the publishing house “STiHI”. (2021). Winner of the “Russian Poetry World Cup 2017”, the All-Russian literary festival-competition “Crystal Spring 2018”, finalist of several seasons of the competition “45 gauge” and the festival “Russian Stil” (Germany, 2017). She was among the winners of the VI International Literary Competition dedicated to the memory of writer K. Simonov (2016), the literary competition of the Stradivarius Drum Arts Festival (Israel, 2017), she was in the long list of the “Russian Prize” (2016), the long list of the literary prize named after I. Annensen (Germany, 2017). I. Annensky (2019) and the Lyceum Prize (2020). A finalist for the Cup in Cup Award from STiHI Publishers. (2020), participant in the literary festival in Kazakhstan (2019). Author of books of poems “Through Darkness and Light” (Almaty, 2020) and “Properties of Things” (Moscow, 2021).
She was born on March 31, 2001 in Almaty. Works under a pen name Ai kyzy (Moon girl).
She is currently in her third year at the Zhurgenov Kazakh National Academy of Arts majoring in “Film Dramaturgy”.
She is head of the poetry group “Qoltanba” (“Autograph”). Since 2018, it has held creative meetings and poetry evenings.
Her poems were published on a republican level in newspapers “Kazak әdebietі”, “Ұlan”, “Madeniet” magazine, Internet portals “Massaget”, “Qalamger”, “Әdebiet portals”.
She is a member of the creative association “Burshaq”.
From October 14, 2017 to February 10, 2018, she participated in the Youth Literature Workshop of the Almaty Open Literature School, where she took the prose master class led by Dina Makhmetova and Aizhan Akhmet. The works written at the time were included in a collection of stories “Zheke kenistik” (“Personal Space”).
In August-November 2019, she was the editor of the website of the Union of Writers of Kazakhstan.
Alisher Rakhat was born on January 11, 1995, in Karasaz aul of Rayimbek district, Almaty region. He graduated from Zhurgenov Kazakh National Academy of Arts where he majored in Cinema and Drama. He was taught by honored art workers of Kazakhstan, the writers D. Isabekov and S. Balgabaev.
— His dramatical piece “Zhalgyzdyn zhary” (“Lonely Bride”) won the competition of young playwrights, which was held by the Kazakh Academic Drama Theatre named after Mukhtar Auezov (2015).
— In 2017, his play “Zhalagan men shyndyk” (“Lies and Truth”) won the competition “Dramatic Work Against Terrorism” organized by the Department of Religious Affairs of East Kazakhstan region, and was staged at the theater in Ust-Kamenogorsk.
— In 2017 his drama “Tugan kuninmen, anashym” (“Happy Birthday, Mom”) won the national contest “Tauelsizdik tolgauy” (Thoughts of Independence) in the nomination “Best play glorifying family values”.
— In 2018, with the play “Zhalagan men shyndyk” (“Lies and Truth”) won the third place in the republican competition of dramatic works “Yel tarikhy — Zher tarikhy” (History of the Country – History of the World), which was held in Taldykorgan.
— In 2018, the drama “Tugan kuninmen, anashym” (“Happy Birthday, Mom”) was short-listed for the “Drama.KZ” Modern Drama Festival.
— In 2019, the novel “Makhabbatam — constant” (“My love is constant”) was published.
— In 2019-2020, his works were published in literary newspapers and magazines, literary websites, including the Russian online magazine “Literra”, the newspaper “Қазақ әдебиеті”, sites “Әdebiet portals”, “Мәdeniet portaly”, magazine “Adyrna”, newspaper “Zhas Alash”, web-portal “Қalamger”.
— On January 13, 2021 the premiere of the drama “Tugan künninen, anashym” (“Happy Birthday, Mom”) took place on the stage of the creative space “Өzge Epik” within the framework of the theater laboratory “Start Drama”. It was directed by Farhad Moldagali.
— Short story “Qara mysyktyn kozhayyny” (“The Black Cat’s Master”) won the incentive prize of the prose contest “Qala men Qazaq” (City and a Kazakh) and was translated into Russian, Turkish and English.
— For Kazakhs living in China, the two stories and the novel were written in Arabic script (Tote Zhazu, the Kazakh alphabet based on the Arabic script, developed by Akhmet Baitursynov) and published on several websites.
— One of the founders of the creative association “Burshaq”.
Beketbayeva Shapagat Serdalikyzy was born on January 20, 1995, in the village Tartogai of Shieliysky district,Kyzylorda region. She studied to be a journalist. Since high school, she has won district, regional, city and national competitions. Her stories dealing wth religious themes brought her the first and third places.
Her works were published in newspapers and online at madeniportal.kz, adebiportal.kz, abai.kz, massaget.kz, bugin.kz, alashainasy.kz, ult.kz, skifnews.kz, almaty.tv/kz, www.oinet.kz, qazbrand.info, asiainfo.kz, osken-onir.kz, halyqline.kz, qarmaqshy-tany.kz.
She worked as a journalist and editor of the information portal Skifnews.kz, freelancer of the international platform “Cabar.asia” (Central Asian Bureau for Analytical Reporting) (for more than two years), as well as a correspondent of the regional newspaper “Kasipker kelbeti” (Portrait of a businessman) and the national magazine “Kasipker zhane mendeniet” (Businessman and culture), as a journalist for the national publishing house “Orda.kz”.