Bulgarian Literature Month: Wrap-up and a few recommendations

Time to wrap-up Bulgarian Literature Month 2018!

I would like to thank Global Literature in Libraries Initiative, and especially Rachel Hildebrandt and Karen Van Drie for trusting me with this task – it was a lot of work, but I am rather satisfied with the result.

My thanks goes also to the contributors: Ellis Shuman, Scott Bailey, Jean Ping, Dorian Stuber, Caroline Couderc, Lizzy Siddal, Nuri Al-Khalaf, Karen Van Drie; and to my interview partners: Milena Deleva and Vladimir Sabourin. It was a pleasure to see so many people from different backgrounds and countries involved.

Christopher Buxton and Katerina Stoykova granted me the right to publish some poems that had translated – also for this I am very grateful.

Finally thanks to all who sent me encouraging messages; it’s nice to know that there are some people who appreciate what you are doing.

One month proved still too short for Bulgarian literature. So, in case you are an author, don’t feel disappointed if I didn’t include your book. Time constraints are one reason for that, and in some cases I didn’t receive the review I was expecting from someone. But I suppose, there is always a next time…

The main purpose of this month was to create more awareness regarding Bulgarian literature, and if in the future, some more people will pick up a Bulgarian book, I consider that my mission has been accomplished.

I would like to close with a few recommendations for publishers, editors, and other people from the book industry, and I will do it just in “telegram style”. These are books that could/should be considered for an English translation:

Short Prose: Yordanka Beleva has published three slender books with stories. What she does on just a few pages is amazing! Poetically charged, highly condensed prose that has no equal in Bulgarian literature in my opinion. If I had to reduce my recommendations down to one book, it would be a selection of her stories!

Novel: I was particularly impressed by the following novels in the last years: Angel Igov – The Meek One’s; Vladimir Poleganov – The Other Dream; Rene Karabash – Ostaynitsa; Lea Cohen – Rafael; Ivo Topalov – The Doctor; and Milen Ruskov – Chamkoria. (The book by Lea Cohen has already found a publisher as I have heard.)

Children’s books: I am not an expert here, but you should look out for the charming books by Zornitsa Hristova and Petya Kokudeva.

Poetry: Kiril Vassilev; Maria Virhov

Journalism: Georgi Markov, Vladislav Hristov

Modern Classics: Ivailo Petrov – Before I Was Born – And Thereafter; Atanas Dalchev – Fragments

Feel free to contact me regarding any question related to Bulgarian literature (th@mytwostotinki.com). I realized that some of the books reviewed here are a bit difficult to purchase outside Bulgaria; also in this case, drop me a line and I will try to help. On my personal blog I will also in the future frequently review Bulgarian books.

Happy Reading!


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 has worked with German Development Corporation, the European Union, USAID, the Catalonian Development Agency, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and others and was an advisor to various governments in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central Asia. He lived several years in Yogyakarta/Indonesia, where he was involved in livelihood recovery work with the Java Reconstruction Fund (after the big earthquake in Central Java). 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: Cornelia Awear

This blog post is part of #BulgarianLiteratureMonth.

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