Alumni Voice – Ali Damirzade

Ali Damirzade

Youth Leadership Program with Azerbaijan 2012

I am so delighted to announce my second novel called “Red Memories” to become available for purchase worldwide starting from this week, and thus would like to share my short story of success. My journey with diving into the world of writing novels and amateur poetry started at the age of 13 when I tried to enjoy my summer holidays in Ganja city at my grandmother’s house. Game of words always enticed me, so I decided to describe things that surrounded and affected our living black and white.
Much of plain and banal teenage philosophy was part my first writing called “Human” when I preferred to reinvent the whole story by turning it into a historical-romance. Back then, I laid the foundation of my first novel entitled as “The History of Life”, which was written and published in Russian language in 2015. With the edition of 500 books, I sold around 400 copies through various channels including the well-known bookstore chain of Ali&Nino. The rest was spread among my friends and relatives. Having no experience and knowledge about the professional publishing and bookselling industry I managed to realize my dream of becoming an author of a novel at the age of 18. It seemed great to compose a full story with a plot around being in love, overcoming difficulties of loss and despair, as well as facing influences of social values and bygone mentality within the historical period of 1920’s Azerbaijan. It took a lot of time and archival research. Despite it all, I knew that I was far from saying my last word. Atmosphere of the first book made me feel more eager and passionate in promoting things that I have experienced and witnessed within my culture. The biggest challenge was the language barrier and so my next step was not to translate the work I had already presented but to compose another one, fully written in English.
On 12th of September “Red Memories” was presented to the publicat Art Council in the Old Town of Baku. The latest novel of mine was written and edited in parallel with my studies at Bilkent University in about a year. It narrates about the love and uneasy fate of a young Azerbaijani teenager named Azad. Actions mainly occur in 1921. The protagonist, at the age of 16, tragically loses his parents during the March Days of 1918. Later, a great influence on his mindset and future destiny forms under the discoveryof new people, one of whom is an American artist named Benjamin Noah – a Jewish man of Azeri heritage from New York, who travels to Azerbaijan, hoping to become rich thanks to the roaring Oil Boom but faces frustration and numerous challenges on his way.Meanwhile, Azad’s first lovewith a girl named Tutu, who leads a very unusual lifestyle of a dancer, brings him the notion of a different world full of dreams and sensations. The plot of the book is quite personal, dramatic and is narrated from the first person, whereas traces of “The History of Life” and my first experiments with poetry in English can also be found in the second novel.
Creation of the American character was obviously intentional and I believe essential since I wanted to cast a glance at the ‘American Dream’, history of first Azerbaijani emigrants and their living in the U.S., which was inspired by my own experience. Now that this book soon becomes available for purchase worldwide it makes me feel lucky enough and successful in a way since more people from around the world will have a chance to learn many interesting things about Azerbaijan, its’ people and social values.

“Red Memories” becomes available for purchase on Ali&Nino’s website this week but also feel free to send me your feedbacks on Facebook.