Uzbek literature refers to the literature produced and developed in the Republic of Uzbekistan with additional literary works contributed by the other parts of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan people of Central Asia. Influenced by the Russian and Turkish literature, Uzbek is predominantly written in Uzbek language with its roots in Chagatai language, one of the widely accessible languages in the region from 14th to 20th century. In Uzbek literature, Chagatai plays an important role as a reference to Central Asian literature, including Uzbekistan.

The history of Uzbek literature spans between ancient and modern Uzbekistan. Before the founding of Uzbekistan, preceding colonies and the Russian conquest of Central Asia had significantly impacted Uzbek literature and continued to mark its presence until the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991. Central Asian literature, including Uzbek is thus a part of Turkish and Russian literature. However, much of Uzbek literature witnessed significant development in modern era due to its pre-existence in Uzbeks.

Uzbek writing system observed significant changes by its native writers who switched from Turkic script to Arabic that originally began in the 10th century until the 12th century. This development adopted language reforms from Arabic literature. Yūsuf Balasaguni, Mahmud al-Kashgari, and Ahmad Yugnaki were among the leading writers of that time who flourished Uzbek literature by adopting language reforms. Ahmad Yasawi was also one of the other writers who introduced new genre in Uzbek literature. Yesevi's poetry collection Divan-i hikmet (Book of Wisdom) is composed of various dialects, such as Arabic and Persian, which features Turkic metre.

In the later years, Uzbek literature emerged in Chagatai language between the 13th and 14th centuries. One of poets of that time was Khwārizmī who wrote Muhabbatnamah (Love Letters) that was preserved in the region and serves as a historical reference for modern literature.[1]

Native Uzbek literature

Most part of Uzbeks belongs to Turkic tribe. Its literature consists of various Turkic group languages such as Kazakh, Turkish, Uyghur, and Tatar languages. In modern day, Uzbek language is recognised as the first language in the Republic of Uzbekistan with 22 million of speakers out of 30 million, while minority communities use Uzbek language as their second language. Thus, modern Uzbek literature is written and orally transmitted in Uzbek language.[2]


Uzbek literature originated from Turkic language. These languages are predominantly spoken in Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Afghanistan in addition to Uzbekistan. Southern parts are influenced by Iran while northern parts are less influenced by Persian. But after the 1917 Russian revolution, a new literary language was adopted by the natives of northern as well as southern people.

Uzbek literature was originally written in three main scripts such as the Arabic, Latin, and Cyrillic scripts. However, in the later years, the government of Uzbekistan introduced modified version of Latin alphabet in 1933.[3]

Colonial literature

Uzbek language, a primary language used to write Uzbek literature was introduced by the Kara-Khanid Khanate in the 900s. However, after the Mongol invasion of Central Asia, Uzbek became a foremost literary language in the region. Later, when Mughal emperors such as Timur and Babur conquered the region, Uzbek was influenced by Turkish literature as well as culture, and it lost its golden period. When the Soviet Union conquered the region, Uzbek people were declared "Uzbeks" in the Soviet linguistics.[4]

The rise of poetry

See also: List of Uzbek-language poets

In Uzbek literature, Abdulla Qodiriy and Abdul Hamid Suleyman (1897-1939) are recognised two prominent literary figures who shaped Uzbek literature. When Russian revolution took place, the two were changed with "nationalism" and "enemies of the people" and later they were executed by the Soviet Union. Qodiriy wrote novels, poems and articles for local newspapers focused on political instabilities caused due to the Soviet Union.[5]


  1. ^ "Uzbek literature". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  2. ^ "Uzbek". Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region. 2021-08-05. Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  3. ^ "Uzbek language - Alphabet, History, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. 2020-08-17. Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  4. ^ Pillalamarri, Akhilesh (2016-02-07). "The Weird Case of the Uzbek Language". The Diplomat – The Diplomat is a current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific, with news and analysis on politics, security, business, technology and life across the region. Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  5. ^ Hayit, Baymirza (1965). "Two outstanding figures in modern Uzbek literature: Qadiri and Cholpan". Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society. 52: 49–52. doi:10.1080/03068376508731894.

Further reading