“Africa gave Russia two great poets – Alexander Pushkin and Nikolai Gumilyov” – this statement by Olga Medvedko, Chairman of the Gumilev Society, amazed those gathered at the Russian House in Cairo at the VI International Literary Festival “LIFFT-2023”. The delegates from the Black Continent, most of whom did not know anything about the poet of the Silver Age before, listened with genuine interest to the story of the brave Russian poet-traveler and his wanderings.
Many events took place as part of the festival: The Day of Russian Literature in Egypt, visiting and participating in the Cairo Book Fair, which is considered the largest in the Afro-Asian space, visiting the Egyptian pyramids and the Library of Alexandria, meeting with colleagues, writers and poets from different countries. An important event of the festival was the Memorandum on the establishment of the World Organization of Writers - WOW, signed by an initiative group of writers from 18 countries. This initiative was supported by the Eurasian Peoples' Assembly represented by its Secretary General Andrei Belyaninov, his Deputy, the 12th world chess champion Anatoly Karpov and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Alexandra Ochirova. On the last day of the festival, the Egyptian central television channel "Culture of the Nile" showed a conversation with the founder and head of the Eurasian literary project "LIffT-2015-2035" Margarita Al and the fifth laureate of "LIffTa-2021" poet Ashraf Dali from Egypt.
At the Russian House in Cairo, Olga Medvedko and traveler, essayist, author of NG-EL Nikolai Nosov (see his article on page 13 of this issue) gave a presentation in Russian and English about Gumilyov's travels in Egypt. They also presented a two-volume book by Mikhail Pogarsky and Vasily Vlasov "In the footsteps of Nikolai Gumilyov" about an art expedition to Africa. The forum participants watched a slide show, which Olga and Nikolai made basing on their own travels and research by Gumilyov expert Evgeny Stepanov. This meeting was attended by writers and poets from Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, India, Uruguay, Spain, the Netherlands and other countries. The presentation was followed by a discussion. At the end of the evening, Nosov, who in 2013 repeated Gumilyov's route in Ethiopia, made a proposal to open two new tourist routes in Egypt and Ethiopia: "Nikolai Gumilyov's path in Egypt" and "In the footsteps of Nikolai Gumilyov in Africa." The Egyptian colleagues took this initiative with interest and said that they would discuss the idea with the employees of the Ministry of Tourism.
After Cairo, Medvedko went to Paris, where a Gumilev evening for Russian-speaking French was planned long ago, but postponed due to the pandemic. In the bookstore "Harmatan" the chairman of the Gumilyov Society held a presentation "Nikolai Gumilyov - a poet, warrior, traveler". Medvedko spoke about the poet's visionary experience, the work of the society and the festival, the creation of the Gumilev House Museum in Bezhetsk. Spontaneously, a discussion arose on the topic "What is interesting about Gumilyov today and how his work affects modern people." Considering that there was a transport strike in Paris that day, the packed hall and the multicultural composition of the panelists were pleasing and proved that culture is above politics and unites people no matter what.