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 was the first-ever Writer in Residence and is now Head of the Central Asian Service. In addition to journalism, Ismailov is a prolific writer of poetry and prose, and his books have been published in Uzbek, Russian, French, German, Turkish, English, and other languages. (His work is still banned in Uzbekistan.) He is the author of many novels, including Le Vagabond Flamboyant (1993), The Railway (2006), Hostage to Celestial Turks (2003), Googling for Soul (2004), A Poet and Bin-Laden (2012), The Dead Lake (2014), and The Underground (2015); poetry collections, including Sad (Garden) (1987) and Pustynya (Desert) (1988); and books of visual poetry, including Post Faustum (1990) and Kniga Otsutstvi (1992). He has translated Russian and Western classics into Uzbek, and Uzbek and Persian classics into Russian and several Western languages.