Hamid Ismailov

‘Life in exile! May it be cursed. Once you have become a stranger, a stranger you shall remain; you may endeavour to make friends, but the task is a difficult one, full end to end with uncertainty.' Following the award-winning 'The Devils’ Dance', the Uzbek author has crafted another masterpiece about the search for truth and wisdom – a tale of exile featuring a wandering philosopher, a penniless writer and a bee forced from its hive. The medieval polymath Avicenna shaped Islamic thought and science for centuries, though in this tale his troubles are distinctly modern as he endures the petty humiliations of exile. A masterpiece combining traditional oral storytelling with contemporary global fiction. Host Daniel Hahn.

Hamid Ismailov is an Uzbek journalist and writer who was forced to flee Uzbekistan in 1992 due to what the state dubbed ‘unacceptable democratic tendencies’. He came to Britain and took a job with the BBC World Service where he worked for 25 years. His works are banned in Uzbekistan. Several of his Russian-original novels have been published in English translation, including 'The Railway', 'The Dead Lake', which was longlisted for the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and 'The Underground'. 'The Devils’ Dance' is the first of his Uzbek novels to appear in English, and the translation by Donald Rayfield and John Farndon won the 2019 ERBD Literature Prize.

Saturday 22 February 2020, The Arden Theatre, 6.30–7.30pm £5

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