Bristol Translates Literary Translation Summer School – All online

Translation can sometimes be a lonely endeavour, especially when you work for months on end on a long and difficult literary text. Input from peers as well as established translators may be needed to get your spirits up again and infuse your work with brilliant, new ideas.

Bristol Translates is an online summer school where language lovers work together exploring literary translation. This year’s event will take place from 3 to 7 July, comprising three days of workshops (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) from nine languages into English or, alternatively, in a multilingual group.

The other two days are filled with panel discussions and workshops on industry trends, job readiness and the opportunities available around different literary genres (fiction and non-fiction). These include sessions on

  • how to pitch to publishers,
  • how to approach literary journals and magazines,
  • how to negotiate contracts,
  • how to translate for the stage,
  • translator activism,
  • queer translation,
  • translation at war.

Bristol Translates offers a very extensive programme, and participants from previous years have lauded it as a launchpad of their careers.

The event is led by Ros Schwartz and Holly Langstaff. Tutors include well-known translators from nine languages into English, and the roll call of guest speakers and panellists is truly impressive.

Information on eligibility as well as the application form are available on the Bristol Translates website.

Applicants who apply before 28 February can also apply for a full bursary.

There is no formal application deadline – it is first come, first served, and workshops will fill up.

For more information see:

If you have any questions please email:

2023 Arizona-in-Kazakhstan Program: Applications Open!

The University of Arizona, in collaboration with Eurasian National University (ENU), is now accepting applications for the 2023 Summer Intensive Program in Russian and Eurasian Studies in Astana, Kazakhstan. We particularly welcome undergraduate as well as graduate students whose research focuses on Central Asia and students interested in learning multiple foreign languages. We accept all types of funding. The Arizona-in-Kazakhstan Program is fully FLAS compliant.

The program dates are 19 June – 28 July 2023 (6 weeks, equivalent to one academic year of language instruction in the primary language). All students will receive instruction in two languages (primary and second): Russian (all levels) and Kazakh (elementary). Courses taught in English: Students can enroll in one elective course in Eurasian Studies taught in English. 

INFORMATION ZOOM SESSION/ELECTRONIC WALK-INS will be held on December 2 (Friday), 2022 (9:30 AM -10:30 AM, Mountain Standard Time). 

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Participants can start the application process and find detailed information about the program, including its cost, course descriptions, details about housing and meal plans, and extra-curricular programming at Please note that the 2023 application deadline is February 25.

For detailed information about the program, please contact Dr. Liudmila Klimanova, Director of the Arizona-in-Kazakhstan Program,  and Sabrina Sterbis, Arizona-in-Kazakhstan Program Coordinator,

Learn Kazakh in Madison, Wisconsin!

 Applications for CESSI 2023 are now open!  CESSI typically offers courses in Kazakh, Tajik, Uyghur, and Uzbek.  Additional Central Eurasian languages (such as Azerbaijani or Kyrgyz) may be added with sufficient student interest.  

Several funding opportunities exist for students of any type. Graduate students (including incoming students), post-baccalaureate researchers, and professionals who are U.S. citizens are especially encouraged to apply for the Title VIII Fellowship*, which covers full tuition plus a stipend of $2,500 for the summer.  Note: this is a great opportunity for your incoming MA and PhD students to develop language skills before embarking on fieldwork.  

About the program:  

CESSI is an intensive, eight-week language program held each summer in Madison, Wisconsin.  This year the program will run from June 19 – August 11, 2023. Students receive the equivalent of one year of language study during this time and earn eight credits upon completion of the program.  In addition to language classes, CESSI students have the opportunity to attend lectures on Central Eurasia; participate in cultural events; engage with local Central Eurasian communities; and network with other scholars of Central Eurasia.  Students of all disciplines and academic programs are welcome!  

The priority application deadline is February 1, 2023. We will be regularly posting information/application deadlines to Facebook (@CessiMadison), Instagram (@uwcessi), and Twitter (@UWCESSI), which you are welcome to share.  For more information, please visit our website at or contact

*TVIII funding is provided by the United States government. Funding is conditional on final approval from U.S. State Department. 

A little about Almaty Writing/Translating Residency 2022

The second Writing Residency took place in Almaty from October 23 to October 29. This is a project of the Open Literary School of Almaty jointly with Chevron and the U.S. Consulate, with the support of the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa. Thanks to the Writing Residency in Almaty 2021, you are reading this blog now – it was born during the event.

This year, not only writers, but also translators participated in the residency. A separate workshop of literary translation was held under the leadership of Nina Murray, and gathered 8 people who were interested in exploring literary translation. The participants translated texts included in the long list of the Qalamdas prize. The pieces, originally written in Russian and Kazakh languages, will now be available in English versions as well.

The residency, which took place in a sanatorium, was a very comfortable format for writers and translators. Four meals a day, wellness treatments, clean air and healthy sleep after a ton of activities – what else do you need for comfortable work? During the week, the translators worked on the seminars in the mornings, and in the evenings they met with resident writers at thematic meetings. We discussed children’s literature (which was the topic of the residency), the lack of a bridge between authors and translators, got acquainted with foreign guests (for example, Christopher Merrill, head of IWP and the host of the residency last year) and read texts.

Translators at work.

Gulsaya Mazhenova, participant of the translation seminar, writes:

“I was one of the 9 luckiest to be selected as participants of the workshop on Literary Translation held for a week in Almaty, Kazakhstan, within the Almaty Writing Residency 2022 event. It was just an amazing experience – the friendly people, the warm atmosphere, the brightest ideas – it is a known fact that these rarely come together. We were given a unique opportunity to listen to and chat with Christopher Merrill, an American poet, essayist, journalist and translator, and Kelly Dwyer, an experienced writer and editor, author of several novels, as well as Yuriy Serebryanski, a Kazakhstani author, cultural researcher and active member of Almaty Open Literary School. Our coach, Nina Murray, author of several award-winning translations and a poet, generously shared her knowledge and specific translation methods with us, translators… and future writers… or poets, who knows? And this is what I am mostly grateful to this workshop – it inspired me to dare – dare to write, to create, and of course, to translate, be it prose or poetry.”

As a volunteer in the residency’s organization and a participant in the translators seminar, I can say that it was an amazing week. The atmosphere of upcoming projects and ideas was everywhere, as it was last year. And we can say for sure that twenty people – writers, translators and organizers – left the sanatorium refreshed and inspired. I can’t wait to see what results will be released this year!

Alma Review turns one year!

On November 1, 2021 we launched our beloved blog The Alma Review. Up until then, no one had written about Kazakh literature in English, so we decided to be the first. During the year we reached almost 2,000 readers in nearly 60 countries. We have published essays, critical articles, news, memoirs – in a word, everything that modern literature consists of. Dozens of talented authors, translators and critics gathered under one virtual roof. We constantly receive offers of cooperation from other blogs and authors, and this is a great stimulus. We are insanely glad that the project is alive! Happy birthday, The Alma Review!

“Qalamdas” literary award is over!

On September 25, the winners of the Qalamdas Literary Award were awarded. “Dactyl” literary magazine and the Open Literary School of Almaty established the award at the beginning of the year in the framework of the MakerSpace Expands partnership between the US Embassy and the Chevron company. Qalamdas, which literally translates as “fellow writer”, is dedicated to the memory of Olga Borisovna Markova, the founder of the Musaget Public Foundation. The Foundation existed from 1993 to 2008 and supported cultural beginnings in Kazakhstan, especially in the areas of literary and fine arts.

The award includes 5 directions – “Poetry”, “Prose”, “Children’s literature”, “Literary critics”, “Literary translation”. There are two winners in each nomination: one among Kazakh-speaking authors and one among Russian-speaking ones. The prize fund of the award is two million tenge.

According to the organizers, the goal of the award is to unite young authors of different directions and create a comfortable environment for them to create. In the “Literary Critics” and “Literary Translation” categories, works were accepted without an age limit, and a restriction was introduced for the rest of the nominations – from 18 to 40 years. Only citizens of Kazakhstan could take part in the selection. It is noteworthy that the finalists of the award were not only residents of both capitals, as is often the case, but also residents of small towns from all over the republic.

“In two months, 172 applications were submitted for the award, 76 of them in Kazakh and 96 in Russian from different regions of Kazakhstan; the long list of the award included 45 authors writing in Kazakh and 56 authors writing in Russian, as well as 17 translators from Russian and Kazakh into English, from Kazakh and English to Russian. At the same time, 20 applicants for the award were included in a long list in two or three nominations at once. 45 authors were selected for the short list: 19 – writing in Kazakh, 20 – in Russian, as well as 6 translators,” – Irina Gumyrkina, coordinator of the award.

Winners of the Qalamdas Award dedicated to the memory of Olga Markova

Kazakh language

Prose: Anuar Koshkarbayev, Almaty

Poetry: Zhuldyz Moldagalieva, Almaty

Children’s literature: Aigerim Nurmagambetova, Kokshetau

Literary criticism: Bakytbek Kadyr, Astana

Literary translation: Asel Tolepbergen, Almaty

Russian language

Prose: Alexander Selin, Almaty

Poetry: Amangeldy Rakhmetov, Shymkent

Children’s literature: Damina Mukitanova, Almaty

Literary criticism: Lyudmila Safronova, Elmira Zhanysbekova, Almaty

Literary translation: Yulia Gubanova, Almaty

The texts of the authors included in the long and short lists, as well as the works of the laureates, will be published in the “Dactyl” literary magazine by the end of the year.

Congratulations! Dana Kanafina in Symposeum magazine

Congratulations to one of our regular contributors, Dana Kanafina! Dana’s piece “They Carry a Sickle and We Bow Down to Them” is published in the 4th Issue of the international Symposeum magazine.

Dana Kanafina is an author from Kazakhstan. She writes prose and essays and works part-time a journalist. Dana is a graduate of the Summer School of Almaty Open Literature School for Young Writers (2017), Between The Lines of the International Writing Program (2019), Fem-Writing with Oksana Vasyakina and Galyna Rymbu (2020), Get Dusty Creative Writing Seminars with Anna Poloniy (2020), and Almaty Open Literature School (2021). Her works have been published in “Literatura” and “Daktil” online magazines, as well at the “MindMelt Worldwide” media space. The main themes in Dana’s works are alienation and trauma.

Symposeum is a magazine by and for rational optimists. A quarterly publication of The Dial community, Symposeum concentrates convictions that human goodness and ingenuity are most keen where they are most threatened.

Almaty Writers’ Residency Call for Translators

The Almaty writers’ residency AWR ‘22 invites Kazakh-English literary translators to a practical workshop led by Nina Murray. Participation in the workshop is free. The required level of English proficiency is C1. 

The week-long translators’ workshop will be held at the same time as the 2022 Almaty writers’ residency. The leader of the workshop, Nina Murray, is a Ukrainian-American poet and translator. 

The scarcity of high-quality translations of contemporary literature from Kazakhstan exacerbates the divide between the Russian- and Kazakh-speaking audiences as well as authors themselves. This challenge was a subject of many discussions during the 2021 Almaty Writers’ Residency. We will continue to address it this year, but we are also determined to take steps towards bridging another gap: the lack of professionals who can translate literature from Kazakh into English directly. 

To participate, please follow the rules of the Opening Challenge here.

Almaty Writing Residency 2022 is coming!

A Writers’ Residency is a new format not only for Kazakhstan, but also for the whole Central Asia.

Children’s writers from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan can apply here from July 1 to August 30. The terms of the competition are indicated on the website, and the program of events will be published later. Not only contestants, but also drop-in listeners will be able to take part in the residence. Some events will be held in an open format in the American Space Almaty.

The inaugural residency took place last fall in Almaty and became a great catalyst for Kazakh literature. The two worlds of Kazakh-language and Russian-language literature finally found common ground. The residency was in three languages, which finally allowed the participants to discuss issues without barriers.

Master instructors came from overseas: poet, essayist, and the head of the International Writing Program Christopher Merrill, as well as poet and translator Nina Murray. Together with them, a piece of our culture flew abroad. Just a month after the end of the residency, we launched The Alma Review, a blog about Kazakh literature in English. There have also been shifts on a local scale: the online magazine “Dactyl”, previously published exclusively in Russian, has become bilingual – a Kazakh branch has appeared. In a word, the pilot residence was a success, and we decided to repeat the success.

The Almaty Writing Residency 2022 will be held in the southern capital of Kazakhstan from October 23 to 29. The theme of the residency will be “Multiculturalism in literature for children and adolescents/Children’s literature in the era of change”. The Almaty Writing Residency is a joint international project of the Open Literary School of Almaty named after Olga Markova and the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa. The residence will include a mixed format of events. Participants live together for a week (a ticket to Almaty and accommodation are covered by the program), write and discuss texts, hold panel discussions, and attend master classes. The residency is held simultaneously in Russian, Kazakh and English. This year, the host will be Kelly Dwyer, the author of several books for children and the host of writing seminars.

“In order to talk about multiculturalism in literature for children and adolescents, we decided to invite an American author who is an expert in writing on the topics of multiculturalism, multiethnicity and diversity, with experience teaching creative writing and publications. We asked the IWP to recommend us a partner author, then received several candidates from Christopher Merrill, studied their resumes and experience, and settled on Kelly Dwyer ( ), – shares the director of the residence, writer Yuri Serebryansky. – The work of the seminar with Kelly will, as last year, be based on the discussion of the essays of the participants. We will pre-announce the topics to choose from. They are all in the outline of the residency theme. Kelly is also preparing her own program for the participants.”

The main purpose of the writer’s residency is to establish an intercultural dialogue and discuss topical literary issues. It is also an opportunity to show the public that modern literature exists in Kazakhstan and it is much more interesting and deeper than it seems. Not only venerable, but also novice authors are invited to participate in the residency, so it is also a springboard for new names. The organizers have also planned a meeting with Kazakhstani publishing houses that produce children’s literature. There will also be creative meetings with last year’s guests – Christopher Merrill and Nina Murray. In addition, Nina will simultaneously conduct a seminar for translators, the purpose of which is to translate Kazakh literature into English.

A Half-Year Anniversary Celebration!

The English-speaking community in Kazakhstan is not as big as it could be, but it makes up in quality what it lacks in numbers. The KIMEP University has been a great example of Kazakhstani-Western relations for 30 years. KIMEP has a huge alumni base and contacts all over the world. And one of its most resounding voices is KIMEP Times. The newspaper is published through the efforts of both students and invited specialists. Therefore, it is a great pleasure for us here at the Alma Review to grab a piece of attention from the audience of at least 2,500 people. A great gift for our half-anniversary – we have been with you for six months! Cheers!