November 24, 2008 Kyrgyz Russian Author Chingiz Aitmatov is Subject of Dec. 4 Symposium

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202)707-0022
Public Contact: Chris Murphy (202) 707-5676

Chingiz Aitmatov (1928-2008), one of the most important authors writing in Kyrgyz and Russian during the last years of the 20th century, will be the focus of a symposium examining his literary works and the films based upon those works. The symposium will be held at the Library of Congress from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4, in Room LJ-119, located on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division and the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic, with co-sponsorship provided by American Councils for International Education and the East European Medical Society, the symposium is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required. Aitmatov’s writing focused on the new society in Kyrgyzstan that arose out of the effects of the establishment of the USSR. He described that new society using the techniques and motifs of both Russian and European literature, which he skillfully combined with the traditional folklore and oral literature of the Kyrgyz. During his final years, Aitmatov also represented the Kyrgyz Republic as a diplomat in Europe. Scholars from Kyrgyzstan, Germany, Russia and the United States will participate in the symposium with presentations about Aitmatov’s life and work. H. E. Dosbol Nur uulu, State Secretary of the Kyrgyz Republic, will deliver the keynote address titled “Regional and International Impact of Chingiz Aitmatov’s Literature.” Other speakers include Eugene Huskey, Stetson University; Joseph Mozur, University of South Alabama; Ada Mayo, East European Medical Society; Valeri Tyupa, Russian State University of Humanities in Moscow; Irmtraud Gutschke, editor of the Literature Section of Neues Deutschland; and Ainura Kabatay kyzy, Kyrgyz Technical University Manas. There will also be a screening of “Jamiliya,” a film based on the novella of the same title, and a short documentary on Aitmatov. The Near East Section of the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division holds Aitmatov’s works in Kyrgyz, and many editions in other languages are held in the General Collection of the Library of Congress. Selected items will be on display during the symposium in Room LJ-113. The African and Middle Eastern Division was established in 1978 as part of a reorganization that combined the Near East Section, the African Section and the Hebraic Section. Together they cover some 78 countries and regions from Southern Africa to the Maghreb and from the Middle East to Central Asia. For more information on the division and its holdings, visit the African and Middle Eastern Division at Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its Web site at and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at


PR 08-221
ISSN 0731-3527