Hamid Ismailov

Born in an ancient city in what is now Kyrgyzstan, Hamid Ismailov is an Uzbek novelist and poet who was forced to leave his home in Tashkent when his writing brought him to the attention of government officials. Under threat of arrest he moved to London and joined the BBC World Service, where he is now Head of the Central Asian Service.

Hamid is a prolific writer of poetry and prose, and his books have been published in Uzbek, Russian, French, German, Turkish and other languages – but his work is still banned in Uzbekistan. His novel The Railway was translated into English in 2006 and praised by critics as “a work of rare beauty”. Hamid speaks several languages and has translated English and Russian classics into Uzbek, and Uzbek and Persian classics into Russian.

He has been appointed BBC World Service Writer-in-Residence, May 2010.

Please leave questions and comments for Hamid @ the BBC World Service writer in residence blog.

How The Papers Describe Hamid

Ismailov belongs to the tradition of Russian satirical novelists, from Gogol to Bulgakov and Platonov. A lesser writer would have produced several volumes of stories; instead, Ismailov weaves them into a rich, many-coloured tapestry where every strand shines”.

The Independent

“Hamid Ismailov has the capacity of Salman Rushdie at his best to show the grotesque realization of history on the ground”.

Literary Review

“Ismailov, who writes in both his native language and Russian, has seen a lot of his work languish unpublished or banned; he suffered expulsion in 1994 for his ‘unacceptable democratic tendencies’, and now lives in London, where he heads the BBC’s Central Asia and Caucasus Service”.

Time Out

“Like a market trader cascading one colourful rug after another at us, Hamid Ismailov unrolls his chapters vivid with exuberant detail and exotic colour”.

The Tablet

“Hamid Ismailov (born 1954, Kyrgyzstan) is an Uzbek journalist and writer who was forced to flee Uzbekistan in 1992 and came to the United Kingdom, where he took a job with the BBC World Service. His works are banned in Uzbekistan. He published dozens of books in Uzbek, Russian, French, German, Turkish and other languages. Hamid Ismailov translated Russian and Western classics into Uzbek, and Uzbek and Persian classics into Russian and some Western languages. “.


For more on Hamid please visit http://www.hamidismailov.com