Founder of Oral and Classical Kazakh Literature: Muhtar Auezov
Auezov Mukhtar Omarkhanovich was born in 1897 in the village of Shyngys (Cengiz Mountain) in Eastern Kazakhstan Province (formerly Semey). His family were members of a nomadic Kazak family called "Kocalar" or "Hasimiler".
Mukhtar’s father was a wealthy peasant and his mother was Abdilda Tajibay Kyzy. He was raised by his grandfather Auez and his grandmother Dinasil. He lost his grandfather at the age of eleven. He started his first education in Madrassah. In 1908, he finished the Russian school named Abai. A year later, he entered a five-year school in Semey. He firstly got acquainted with Russian culture, literature and language at school in Semey. Between 1915 and 1919 he studied at the Semey Teaching course and he continued his education life in the city with his brother, Kasımbek.
In 1917 Auezov wrote play "Enlik-Kebek" on motives of national legend. His story "Korgansyzdyn kuni" ("Destiny of a Powerless Person") which was written in 1921 demonstrated to the world his great talent as a writer and became known as the star of the Kazakh dramas.
In these years, Auvezov met with Kazakh intellectuals, who served in various positions in the cities of Semey and Orenburg, the leaders of the Alas Party, Alihan Bokeyhanov, Mirjakip Dulatov, and Ahmet Baytursinov, and began to participate in their activities. But after 1923, Alash Ordalis removed from the government, Muhtar Auezov devoted himself entirely to the field of literature.
Between 1923 and 1928 he studied at the Philological Faculty of Leningrad University. Later, he graduated his PhD in oriental folklore at the University of Tashkent. During the last two years of his studies In Leningrad (St. Petersburg), he wrote two novels: "Karash-karash" and "Kokserek".
Despite being away from politics, he was always under political pressure. Over the years, he was accused of promoting nationalism and bourgeois ideals. Finally, he was arrested in the 1930s. In 1932, Muhktar was freed with the help of the Russian writer, Maksim Gorkiy, however, he had to leave the country and work in Moscow until the 1945s. Auezov had taught in both Moscow and Kazakhstan until 1960, meanwhile explored Kazakh folklore and literature.
He was seriously ill in 1961 and died in a hospital where he was treated in Moscow. The funeral was held in Almaty and buried in ancestral lands. There left three separate spouses, two sons and two daughters of author. The author's house was turned into a home museum by the historian's daughter Leyla Auezova.
The Founder of Contemporary Kazakh Literature
Muhtar Auezov has a significant place in the formation of contemporary Kazakh literature. The author has written several stories, essays, plays, translations and research works compiled with Kazakh folklore.
Auezov was inspired by legends that are based on real historical events, and accordingly had written his very popular plays and stories such as "Enlik and Kebek", "Ayman — Sholpan" (1933), "Tartys" (1933), "Three Days" (1934), "Khasen’s Transformations" (1934), "Akan — Zayra" (1935), "Footprints" (1935), "Sand and Askar".
The Auezov, who grew up memorizing the poetry of the great poet Abai, witnessed the unjust and contradictory life of the Kazakh society at that time, had been dedicated 15 years of his life to investigate Abay's life and creativity.
In these years, he wrote a novel ‘’Abai Zholy" (The path of Abai) which consists of four volumes. The first book of the novel was published in 1942, the second in 1947. Both books were awarded the USSR State Prize in 1949 and the Lenin Prize in 1959. The novel was subsequently translated into more than 30 languages, making the writing world-wide known.