Articles

Ani Ilkov: Stony Coke

Stony coke You think, that under the earth there, that we can become worthy. Working out of the companies, we’ll gather enough money, until wife and kids appear. And you think: how straightforward, a black sun shines from the height, and from below naturally intrepid shining ores open eyes up wide like a man rising … Continue reading Ani Ilkov: Stony Coke

TRANSLATORS ASSOCIATION – 60 YEARS OF CLASSIC TRANSLATIONS: The Master and Margarita (1967)

“рукописи не горят.” – “Manuscripts don’t burn.” Mikhail Bulgakov’s extraordinary socio-political satire THE MASTER AND MARGARITA, in which Satan (in disguise) and his demonic cat wreak havoc among Moscow’s literary elite, was first published in book form in 1967. Bulgakov wrote the novel during the Stalinist repression of 1930s Russia and was still revising it … Continue reading TRANSLATORS ASSOCIATION – 60 YEARS OF CLASSIC TRANSLATIONS: The Master and Margarita (1967)

Bulgarian Cuisine: Three Book Recommendations

Bulgarian traditional food is a mix of many influences, and while it is sometimes difficult to say if a specific dish is really genuinely Bulgarian – Turks, Greeks, Serbs and Macedonians have a very similar cuisine – it is safe to say that it is delicious and that you will almost for sure put on … Continue reading Bulgarian Cuisine: Three Book Recommendations

Randall Baker’s Bulgariana: A Review by Nuri Al-Khalaf

“There are very few people with the capacity to change the world. Jesus Christ was one, Karl Marx was another.” Such thoughtful, meaningful and expressing words to start a novel*:  Bulgariana (Dragon Books, revised edition, 2014), featuring Bulgaria’s recent history.  Having lived in Turkey for a few years, I encountered in Çorlu, Turkey a few ambitious … Continue reading Randall Baker’s Bulgariana: A Review by Nuri Al-Khalaf

Katerina Stoykova: Better

Better                 for Toni The time I left my best friend behind was a time of hope for something better than a best friend, was a time of hope for true love, was a time of hope for a better life, better than a best friend, better than her true love, better than a life … Continue reading Katerina Stoykova: Better

Bulgarian Poetry in English Translation III/3: the period 1944-1989 – Danila Stoianova

Unfortunately, Danila Stoianova didn't have much time to fully develop her talent as a poet. She died 1984 at the young age of 23 after a long battle with leukemia. This, and a series of deaths in her family left a deep mark on her and one can not read her poems without thinking of … Continue reading Bulgarian Poetry in English Translation III/3: the period 1944-1989 – Danila Stoianova

Zlatomir Zlatanov: At the grave of Penyo Penev

At the grave of Penyo Penev* I stood in front of the unfinished block, which marks the end of the town. From the one time hill under my feet I just remember the strong wind of dusk - unused to the new echo, it attempts it over again in a cave of concrete, where the … Continue reading Zlatomir Zlatanov: At the grave of Penyo Penev

Hristo Hristov: Kill the Wanderer

In March 2018, one of the top news in Bulgaria was the announcement of the "Dossier Commission" that deals with the files of the former communist State Security Services, that Julia Kristeva, the prominent French writer and intellectual of Bulgarian origin has been an agent of the State Security, according to their findings. What followed … Continue reading Hristo Hristov: Kill the Wanderer

Mikhail Veshim: The English Neighbour

Bulgaria’s rural areas have seen a dramatic change in the last decades: the population of many villages is dwindling, a lack of public infrastructure, such as schools, medical services, sometimes even water and electricity supply, but also of jobs have driven many people in the bigger cities or abroad; at the same time Bulgaria’s population … Continue reading Mikhail Veshim: The English Neighbour

Iliya Troyanov’s The Collector of Worlds: A Review by Lizzy Siddal

Iliya Troyanov: The Collector of Worlds (UK: Faber & Faber; US: Ecco) Winner of the 2006 Leipzig Book Prize for Literature Shortlisted for the 2006 German Book Prize Translated from German by William Hobson I knew nothing of the British explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton, (1821-1890), before reading Bulgarian-born Troyanov’s novel. And so my first … Continue reading Iliya Troyanov’s The Collector of Worlds: A Review by Lizzy Siddal

#LiveFromSofia -Short Stories by Alexander Shpatov: A Review by Caroline Couderc

As soon as you open Alexander Shpatov’s short story collection and read the first story “Experience Sofia”, you know that this author loves his city. He loves it so much that he wants the reader to love it too and – even better – to see it with the eyes of someone who has lived … Continue reading #LiveFromSofia -Short Stories by Alexander Shpatov: A Review by Caroline Couderc

New Social Poetry: an interview with Vladimir Sabourin

"New Social Poetry" is a Bulgarian literary movement, created in 2016 in Sofia. The first publication of this group, the "Manifesto of the New Social Poetry" has created a lot of controversial discussions due to the outspoken rhetoric of the text against the so-called "peaceful transition" in Bulgaria, a period after the official end of … Continue reading New Social Poetry: an interview with Vladimir Sabourin

Two Books on the Ottoman/Turkish Heritage in Bulgaria

The territory of what is today the Republic of Bulgaria was for more than five centuries part of the Ottoman Empire and I think it is fair to say that the fight for liberation from what Bulgarians call either the “Ottoman Yoke“ or “Ottoman Slavery” is until today a defining moment for the identity of … Continue reading Two Books on the Ottoman/Turkish Heritage in Bulgaria

Translators Association – 60 Years of Classic Translations: The Ice Palace (1966)

For almost 300 years Norway and Denmark were united kingdoms, and Danish was the sole official language. When the two countries separated in 1814 a linguistic struggle ensued in Norway with different versions of written and spoken Norwegian competing for official recognition. The heavily Danish-influenced Norwegian of the 19th century urban and educated classes evolved … Continue reading Translators Association – 60 Years of Classic Translations: The Ice Palace (1966)

Bulgarian Poetry in English Translation (III/2): the period 1944-1989 – Blaga Dimitrova

In John Updike’s short story “The Bulgarian Poetess” the narrator reports the following short dialogue with the eponymous Bulgarian Poetess: "Your poems. Are they difficult?" She smiled and, unaccustomed to speaking English, answered carefully, drawing a line in the air with two delicately pinched fingers holding an imaginary pen: "They are difficult—to write." He laughed, … Continue reading Bulgarian Poetry in English Translation (III/2): the period 1944-1989 – Blaga Dimitrova

Bulgarian Poetry in English Translation (III/1): the period 1944-1989 – Konstantin Pavlov

Konstantin Pavlov was one of the most important and gifted Bulgarian poets of the period after 1944. His immense talent and poetic imagination, and his independent personality brought him in frequent conflict with the Communist regime. Fortunately, two of his poetry collections are available in English: Cry of a Former Dog (translated by Ludmilla G. … Continue reading Bulgarian Poetry in English Translation (III/1): the period 1944-1989 – Konstantin Pavlov

Marina Konstantinova: The White Coast – A Review by Thomas Hübner

Balchik is a small coastal town at the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, approximately 30 kilometers north of Varna. A century ago, it was not much more than a fishing village, but its natural location at a small bay, its Mediterranean climate and its picturesque houses and small streets made it a magnet for the Romanian … Continue reading Marina Konstantinova: The White Coast – A Review by Thomas Hübner

Bulgarian Poetry in English Translation (II): available titles from the pre-1944 period – An overview by Thomas Hübner

In this second part of my short series about Bulgarian Poetry collections available in English translation, I will cover the period until 1944, the year of the Communist takeover in Bulgaria. While in the last blog post I was presenting anthologies, I will focus in this post on books that present the (selected) poems of … Continue reading Bulgarian Poetry in English Translation (II): available titles from the pre-1944 period – An overview by Thomas Hübner

Publisher Spotlight: Feminist Press

  Happy Pride, GLLI readers! June 1st saw the kickoff of Pride festivities around the world. In celebration, June’s “Publisher Spotlight” posts will feature publishers of LGBTQIA+ literature in translation. First up: the prize-winning activists at Feminist Press. Feminist Press, or FP, is an educational nonprofit at City University of New York (CUNY) that built … Continue reading Publisher Spotlight: Feminist Press

Bulgarian Poetry in English Translation: Some Anthologies – an overview by Thomas Hübner

Poetry is very popular in Bulgaria; I am still very much surprised about the sheer amount of new poetry collections that are published on the small Bulgarian market every year by „regular” publishers, but also by authors themselves (self-published, or “Samizdat” as they say in Bulgaria – an expression that hints at the subversive tradition … Continue reading Bulgarian Poetry in English Translation: Some Anthologies – an overview by Thomas Hübner

“Our Bitter Beloved Borderless Balkans”: Kapka Kassabova’s Border – by Dorian Stuber

Kapka Kassabova Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe 2017 (UK: Granta Books; US: Graywolf Press) Halfway through her exhilarating narrative of travels through the borderlands of Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, Kapka Kassabova tells the story of the Spring of the White-Legged Maiden, popularized in a nineteenth century poem but dating back much earlier. … Continue reading “Our Bitter Beloved Borderless Balkans”: Kapka Kassabova’s Border – by Dorian Stuber

John Atanasoff – The Electronic Prometheus, by Blagovest Sendov: A Review by Thomas Hübner

John Vincent Atanasoff (1903-1995) was an important American computer pioneer; his father was born in Bulgaria and came to the United States as a young boy. Due to his Bulgarian origin and some factors about which I will speak in this review, Atanasoff had a special relationship to the home country of his father, where … Continue reading John Atanasoff – The Electronic Prometheus, by Blagovest Sendov: A Review by Thomas Hübner

Albena Stambolova’s Everything Happens As It Does: A Review by Jean Ping

Everything Happens As It Does, by Albena Stambolova Translated from the Bulgarian by Olga Nikolova Published in 2002, in English in 2013 by Open Letter Books, winner of 2013 Contemporary Bulgarian Writers Contest Everything Happens As It Does is something of a mosaic whose pieces, some not visibly related, eventually go to make up a … Continue reading Albena Stambolova’s Everything Happens As It Does: A Review by Jean Ping

Georgi Gospodinov’s Natural Novel: A Review by Scott Bailey

Natural Novel, by Georgi Gospodinov (originally published in 1999, English translation 2005 by Zornitsa Hristova, Dalkey Archive Press) "People take pictures of each other just to prove that they really existed" Georgi Gospodinov's first novel begins not with the Kinks lyric quoted above (that shows up on page 55), but with an epigraph from Foucault … Continue reading Georgi Gospodinov’s Natural Novel: A Review by Scott Bailey

The Satire of Alek Popov: A Review by Ellis Shuman

In the opening chapters of Mission London by Alek Popov (Istros Books, November 2014, translated by Daniella and Charles Gill de Mayol de Lupe), the staff of the Bulgaria’s UK Embassy awaits the arrival of the newly appointed ambassador. “They sat fidgeting ... beneath the map of Bulgaria, with its cold pink and yellow colouring. … Continue reading The Satire of Alek Popov: A Review by Ellis Shuman

Promoting Bulgarian literature in the Anglosphere: Interview with Milena Deleva, Managing Director of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation

The by far most important institution involved in promoting Bulgarian literature in the English-speaking world is the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation. I (TH) am extremely grateful to its Managing Director Milena Deleva (MD), for being so kind to agree to this interview despite her very busy schedule. TH: Milena, most readers know probably Elizabeth Kostova at … Continue reading Promoting Bulgarian literature in the Anglosphere: Interview with Milena Deleva, Managing Director of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation

Bulgarian Literature Month – a short introduction

It is already a tradition at the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative to organize a series of “Literature Months” devoted to the national literatures of countries and languages from all over the world. In this tradition, the month of June will see the “Bulgarian Literature Month” in which our readers will have the opportunity to … Continue reading Bulgarian Literature Month – a short introduction

Stoyanka Grudova: Picking Loneliness

PICKING LONELINESS just like mushrooms loneliness too has a double poisonous and edible loneliness one bows to you with its red hat the other watches you smiling with polka dots by its blue blood you’ll recognize which one counts your hours Stoyanka Grudova Translation: Katerina Stoykova from the anthology Season of Delicate Hunger (ed. Katerina … Continue reading Stoyanka Grudova: Picking Loneliness