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Arab Shamoevich Shamilov
Native name Erebê Şemo
Born 23 October 1897
Kars Oblast, Russian Empire
Died 21 May 1978
Yerevan, Armenian SSR
Nationality Soviet
Ethnicity Yazidi
Occupation Writer, poet, journalist, interpreter
Awards Order of Red Banner ribbon bar.png Order friendship of peoples rib.png 100 lenin rib.png

Arab (or Arap) Shamilov (Kurdish language: Erebê Şemo, also Ereb Shemo, Kurdish Cyrillics Ә'рәб Шамилов) (23 October 1897 – 1978) was a Yazidi novelist who lived in the Soviet Union. He was born in the city of Kars in present-day north-eastern Turkey.

Early career[]

During World War I, from 1914 to 1917, he served as an interpreter for the Russian army. Later on, he became a member of the central committee of the Armenian Communist Party. In 1931, he began working on Kurdish literature at the Leningrad Institute of Oriental Studies. He assisted in developing a Latin-based alphabet for the Kurdish language in 1927.[1]

He became a member of the editorial board of the Kurdish newspaper Riya Teze (The New Path), published in Yerevan from 1930 to 1937. In Leningrad, he also met the Kurdish linguist Qenatê Kurdo and published his work as a document about Kurdish language in Armenia.

Literary output[]

His first and most celebrated work, the story The Kurdish Shepherd (Şivanê Kurd), based on his own life,[1] was published in 1935 (in Russian only after serious censorial edits) and later translated into Italian as Il pastore curdo. In 1937, he was exiled by Joseph Stalin and was only allowed to return to Armenia after 19 years, in 1956, following Stalin's death.

Arab Shamilov's plaque on Abovyan street of Yerevan

In 1959, he published his first Kurdish novel, Jiyana Bextewer (Жийина бәхтәwар) (meaning: Happy Life) that was then translated into Armenian and later also into Russian (1965). In 1966, he published a historical novel, Dimdim, inspired by the old Kurdish folk tale of Kela Dimdimê about Dimdim Castle. It has been translated into Italian as well (as Il castello di Dimdim). In 1967, he published a collection of Kurdish folk stories in Moscow.


  1. Şivanê Kurmanca, the first Kurdish novel
  2. Barbang (1958) (published in Yerevan by Haypetrat, 1959)
  3. Jiyana Bextewar (1959) (re-release: Roja Nû Publishers, 1990, 253 p.)
  4. Dimdim (1966) (re-release: Roja Nû Publishers, 1983, 205 p.)
  5. Hopo (1969) (re-release: Roja Nû Publishers, 1990, 208 p.)

See also[]

  • Yazidis in Armenia
  • Yazidi writer


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