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Tolibshohi Davlat: “I’d like to move to some mountain village.. And just write and write”

The third finalist of “Novellasia” literary competition Tolibshohi Davlat told us about his dreams and the difficult path of life, which led him to the writing art.

Tolibshohi Davlat was born on May 15, 1955 in the city of Kurgan-Tube, which is located in the southern Tajikistan in the Vakhsh Valley. According to Tolibshohi, it was called the “Golden Valley” during the Soviet times. One of the best varieties of cotton – long staple cotton – had been grown there.

Being the eldest son, the future writer always helped his mother. Tolibshohi’s father died when he was 10 years old, and in order to help the family, he had to spend all his childhood and adolescence at the cotton plantations.

Tolibshohi Davlat graduated from Tajik State University named after V.I. Lenin. He is philologist-journalist by profession. Since then, for more than thirty years he has been working as a journalist for various publications. Currently Davlat is the editor of the weekly newspaper “Dzhavononi Tozhikiston”.

Photo from personal archive

“When I was studying in the second grade, the teacher gave us different books to read. I was given a “Memories of Ilyich” written by Bonch-Bruevich. There were little stories about Lenin. I have read this book twice. So that was when my love to prose born. After that I couldn’t imagine my life without books”, – remembers Tolibshohi Davlat.

Author began to create his own stories in the high school. First there were the notes for the local newspaper, and then as a student he started to write his first short stories, mostly humor.

“After graduating and getting a job of the regional newspaper’s reporter, I started to write feature stories on various topics. Feature story is a genre of journalism, which is between journalism itself and fiction prose. Since then, friends and colleagues began to call me “feature writer”. Maybe exactly these feature stories have formed a future writer in me. But in earnest I engaged in literature after the Tajik civil war in 1997. It was this war that forced me to be a writer”, – Davlat says.

In 1997-2001 Tolibshohi Davlat wrote his first book – the novel “Wounds in the blood”. But friends gave him advice that this is not time to release it yet. And that’s why it is still in the writer’s archive.

Tolibshohi Davlat mostly writes detective stories. Some of them are already published: “Dagger of Genghis Khan”, “Cirrus clouds” and one social story called “Nest without cranes”.

“I have a special notebook. When inspiration comes, I write notes for future topics there. The rest is “boiling” in my head. When I sit down and start writing, some details of the plot and characters form “on the fly”. But, unfortunately, I’m not very disciplined. Sometimes I write, sometimes not. I start one story, then leave, then come back in a few months. It’s all because of the fussy life”, – Davlat says.

Because of expensive life and low salary, the author has to earn money in addition to the main job by being an interpreter and editor of various books. That’s why often there is simply no time for literature.

“For almost twenty years, I live in the city of Dushanbe. But still I can’t get used to the bustle of the city. I’d like to move to some mountain village. I would do gardening, beekeeping, cattle breeding there. In free time I would go fishing. And my every morning would start with a cup of fresh milk. And I would just write and write. Oh, how I desire it…”

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