Bulgarian literature: Online and print resources – and a poetic experiment

Bulgarian Literature Month has so far brought you an – of course incomplete – overview regarding books related to our topic. (A few more blog posts are about to follow.) But it goes without saying that there are quite a lot of online resources and journals (in print or electronic form) that also give an opportunity to get familiar with Bulgarian literature.

An excellent starting point for any research related to contemporary Bulgarian literature is the portal Contemporary Bulgarian Writers by the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation. Here you can find detailed information on most of the important contemporary authors (with a strong focus on prose) and translators. Apart from biographies and information about their publications, you will find a commented link list that will guide you for each author to excerpts of his works, interviews, and reviews.

Apart from this excellent resource, the work of some other journals has to be mentioned. Vagabond, the quality journal in English for anyone interested in Bulgaria, has in every issue a story or a chapter of a novel by a contemporary Bulgarian author. That’s not the only reason to recommend Vagabond, since its features and articles are excellent, but this journal is one of the few that is doing something for the promotion of Bulgarian literature in the English-speaking world, and therefore I recommend it to you warmly.

Also Words Without Borders – most regular readers of translated fiction know it already – features frequently Bulgarian literature. Have a look and discover a few new but interesting authors!

The Three Percent blog of the University of Rochester is also worth to have a look. The University Press (Open Letter Press) is not only the best address for Bulgarian literature in English translation, but the blog also features frequently interesting posts and in-depth literary analysis of books published by Open Letter Press.

The literary journal Drunken Boat featured Bulgarian literature (poetry and prose) in one of his recent issues. While I am writing this, the website is momentarily in maintenance mode, but this should be only temporary. Have a look again later and discover some of the most exciting contemporary authors from Bulgaria!

English poet Tom Edward Phillips is the editor of Balkan Poetry Today (Red Hand Books 2017), a yearbook that is an excellent resource for anyone with an interest in contemporary Bulgarian and Balkan poetry. The 2017 edition contains among others poetry by Alexander Shurbanov, Aksinia Mihaylova, Vladimir Levchev, Petar Tchouhov, Dimana Ivanova, Mila Lambovska, Amelia Licheva, but also of many authors from Macedonia and other Balkan countries.

Unknown Translations

Phillips is also the author of an interesting poetic experiment: a bilingual poetry book, written by him in Bulgarian – a language he was just in the process of learning – and that was then re-translated into English; a book in which we see a kind of re-invention of the Bulgarian language, and in any case a treat for all who love experimental poetry (Unknown Translations / Nepoznati prevodi, Scalino 2016).

Thomas Hübner

Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips is the editor of Balkan Poetry Today. He was born in 1964 and is a poet, playwright, translator and lecturer living in Bristol, UK and in Bulgaria. His poetry has been published in a wide range of magazines, anthologies and pamphlets, as well as in the full-length collections Recreation Ground (Two Rivers Press, 2012) and Непознати
Преводи/Unknown Translations (Scalino, 2016). Recent plays include No Time for Hope (Ship & Castle, Bristol), Coastal Defences (Theatre West, Bristol) and 100 Miles North of Timbuktu (Theatre West, Bristol). Tom is also the co-founder of Culture Exchange Experiment – an informal network of writers and artists in SE Europe and the UK – and
of Colourful Star, an online project which features his poetry and the paintings of Marina Shiderova. In summer 2016, he was a translator-in-residence at the Sofia Literature and Translation House and his translations of contemporary Bulgarian poetry have been published in a number of magazines. Tom has a PhD in creative writing from the University of Reading and has taught creative writing at the universities of Reading and Bath Spa. He has written about SE Europe for academic publications and spoken at international conferences on the representation of the region in English literature. Ian Brinton described Unknown Translations as “refreshingly original” while David Cooke called Recreation Ground “work of the highest order”.


Thomas Hübner is a German-born economist and development consultant with a life-long passion for books. He lives in Chisinau/Moldova and Sofia/Bulgaria. He is also the co-founder of Rhizome Publishing in Sofia, and translates poetry, mainly from Bulgarian to German (most recently Vladislav Hristov, Germanii, Rhizome 2017). He is blogging at Mytwostotinki on books and anything else that interests him.

Photo credits: Tom Edward Phillips; Cornelia Awear

This blog post is part of #BulgarianLiteratureMonth.


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