About The Book

An unprecedented collection of women's voices from the heart of Central Asia.

From the foreword by Gabriel Mcguire: "I cannot think of anything quite like ... Amanat."

A man is arrested for a single typo, a woman gets on buses at random, and two friends reunite in a changed world.... Diverse in form, scope and style, Amanat brings together the voices of thirteen female Kazakhstani writers, to offer a glimpse into the many lives, stories, and histories of one of the largest countries to emerge from the breakup of the Soviet Union.  

The twenty-four stories in Amanat, translated into English from Kazakh and Russian, comprise a groundbreaking survey of women's writing in the Central Asian country over its thirty years of independence, paying homage to the rich but largely unrecorded oral storytelling tradition of the region. Contemplating nostalgia, politics, and intergenerational history in a time altered by modernity, Amanat acutely traces the uncertainties, struggles, joys, and losses of a corner of the post-Soviet world often unseen and overlooked.  

Utterly absorbing, Amanat is an invitation to listen-the women of Kazakhstan have stories to tell.  

About The Contributors

Zaure Batayeva (1969) is the driving force behind this anthology, the one who first dreamed of bringing a collection of Kazakh women's writing into English. Besides being the author and translator of two pieces included here, and a noted cultural commentator and critic, she is a prolific translator into Kazakh, recently of Sarah Cameron's groundbreaking historical work, The Hungry Steppe.

Shelley Fairweather-Vega (1978), a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington, translates fiction, poetry and screenplays from Russian and Uzbek to English. Aside from extensive work with the authors included in this volume, she has translated short stories and novels by the Uzbek writer Hamid Ismailov and the Kazakh musicologist Talasbek Asemkulov, and her translations have been published in Words Without Borders, World Literature Today, Brooklyn Rail, and Translation Review. She has been translating Kazakhstani authors since 2017 and recently completed an intensive course in the Kazakh language.


"Turkic languages, including Kazakh, do not have a gender. The nomadic past treated everyone on horseback equally, and therefore the role of women in the history of these peoples was no less than the role of men. This book is proof of that. All these tender voices come to us from their cities and steppes like thunder booming, like birds crying, like hearts breaking. These rare gems, lifted from their native soil and skillfully replanted by Zaure Batayeva and Shelley Fairweather-Vega into English, represent the first anthology of its kind."
--Hamid Ismailov, award-winning author

"Amanat offers a rare insight into Central Asia's century of geopolitical catastrophes. Though steeped in sadness and suffering, these vivid and remarkable stories often simmer with the humour of everyday life." 
--Anne Charnock, award-winning author, Dream Before the Start of Time

"Each story in this collection is a gem. Together, they showcase not only lives previously overlooked by the English-language readers but also a set of narrative techniques that allow massive historical traumas to be comprehended, and deeply meaningful, on the human scale. These stories captivate and surprise the reader at every turn, and delight: with their sly humor, wisdom, and defiant resilience."
--Olga Zilberbourg, author, Like Water and Other Stories

"This brilliant collection of women's writing from Kazakhstan offers a wealth of new insights on the nature of modern Kazakhstani identity and the country's tangled relationship with its Soviet past. By spotlighting women's voices and featuring translations from both the Russian and Kazakh languages, Amanat represents an original and important contribution. The stories are engrossing, and the anthology as a whole greatly enriches our understanding of Kazakhstani society."
--Sarah Cameron, Associate Professor of History, University of Maryland, College Park

Title: Amanat
Editors: Zaure Batayeva and Shelley Fairweather-Vega
Publisher: Gaudy Boy
ISBN: 9780999451489
Book Size: 139.7 mm x 215.9 mm
Pages: 296
Weight: 427g
Year: 2022
Genre: Fiction/Translation Anthology


SKU: 9780999451489