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OF STRANGERS AND BEES: An Evening with Hamid Ismailov

November 15, 2019 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

All our booksellers at Golden Hare Books are giddy at the prospect of this Edinburgh launch for the new novel from writer Hamid Ismailov, Of Strangers and Bees, translated from Uzbek by Shelley Fairweather-Vega. Hamid will be in conversation with travel writer, local author and friend-to-the-bookshop Caroline Eden, and this is going to really be a treat.

in conversation with Caroline Eden, author of Black Sea (2018) and Samarkand (2016)

Banned in Uzbekistan, Hamid Ismailov’s books are searing and insightful, and although the author is much acclaimed for his Russian-language writings, his Uzbek work has only just begun being published into English by one of our favourite small publishers, Tilted Axis Press. There will be an audience Q&A and books will be available on sale to be signed. 

Wine will be served free of charge!


In the latest thrilling multi-stranded epic from the award-winning author of The Devils’ Dance, an Uzbek writer in exile traces the fate of the medieval polymath Avicenna, who shaped Islamic thought and science for centuries.

Waking from a portentous dream, Uzbek writer Sheikhov is convinced that Avicenna still lives, condemned to roam the world. Avicenna appears in various incarnations, across the ages, from Ottoman Turkey to medieval Germany and Renaissance Italy. Sheikhov plies the same route, though his troubles are distinctly modern as he endures the petty humiliations of exile.

Following the award-winning The Devils’ Dance, Hamid Ismailov has crafted another masterpiece, combining traditional oral storytelling with contemporary global fiction to create a modern Sufi parable about the search for truth and wisdom. Packed with old and new fables, Ismailov has created his own complex, absorbing version of the Hayy ibn Yaqzan tale.


Born in 1954 in Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan, 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 the United Kingdom, where he 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 long listed 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. His second book published by Tilted Axis Press is Of Strangers and Bees, about an Uzbek writer in exile who traces the fate of the medieval polymath Avicenna.


Caroline Eden is a travel and food writer focusing on the former Soviet Union and south Asia. She has written for various publications including the Daily Telegraph, Financial Times and the Guardian. Caroline’s first book, Samarkand, won the Guild of Food Writers Award for best food and travel book in 2017. She has led tours to Uzbekistan and has been visiting the country for a decade, and has reviewed Hamid’s novel The Devil’s Dance for the Financial Times. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.


TICKET BOOKING INFO: Online ticket bookings for Golden Hare events are via Eventbrite, where you can see other events you may like. If there is a charge for the event (redeemable against book) Eventbrite will charge you a small booking fee on top of this. Please note that this fee is not redeemable; if you would like to avoid this charge, please book directly in the bookshop or via phone/email! Tickets may also be available on the door but we advise booking to avoid disappointment. Event tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable. If you are booking a Book + Ticket combination, the book will be available to collect on the evening of the event as you arrive.


November 15, 2019
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Categories:


Golden Hare Books
68 St Stephen Street
Edinburgh, Edinburgh City EH3 5AQ United Kingdom


Golden Hare Books

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