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Creative writing handbook

A handbook that consists of all lectures delivered within the Sozopol seminar is available now, for Kindle and in pdf to download....


Contemporary Bulgarian Writers in English presents up-to-date profiles of living Bulgarian authors of fiction and short stories.
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The Elizabeth Kostova Foundation and Vagabond, Bulgaria's English Monthly, cooperate in order to enrich the English language with translations of contemporary Bulgarian writers. Each month we give you the chance to read a selected excerpt of a Bulgarian writer. Some of the presented writers will be translated in English for the first time. Enjoy our fiction pages.
more info...

Book News
2012 Sozopol Fiction Seminars Fellows Print E-mail

It is with great pleasure that we announce the winners of the 2012 Sozopol Fiction Seminars Fellowship on behalf of the Bulgarian and the native-English language speaking juries. The field of hundred fifthy-six submissions included many fine candidates, and narrowing the list involved much deliberation and care. We strongly encourage interested applicants to re-apply for future seminars.

NES Finalists: Cab Tran, Delaney Nolan, Garrard Conley, Garth Greenwell, Kathy Flann.
NES Semi-Finalists: Angela Hamilton, Anna Schachner, Christina LaRose, Donal McLaughlin, Jon Lewis-Katz, Michael Hyde, T. M. De Vos.
BG Finalists: Bistra Velichkova , Nikolay Fenerski, Nikolay Petkov, Palmi Ranchev, Philip Anastassiu.
BG Semi-Finalists: Alexander Hristov, Angel Igov, Krassimira Zafirova, Lyudmila Philipova.

Literary Artists' Talk & Reading Print E-mail

Elizabeth Kostova Foundation is pleased to present:
Literary Artists talk & reading with the 2010 Sozopol Fiction Seminars fellows
Ivan Dimitrov (BG) and Paul Vidich (US)
7 pm | 27 March (Tuesday) 2012
The event will take place at the General Consulate of the Republic of Bulgaria in New York 121 East 62nd St., New York, NY 10065
Free admission | In English
For details, please follow the link.

Chichester Writing Festival 2012 Print E-mail

Yoаna Mircheva will be the Bulgarian participant in this year’s Chichester Writing Festival, taking place from Friday 30 March to Sunday 1 April 2012 for the fifth time.
This will be the third time the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation and the Chichester Writing Festival are collaborating in hosting a Bulgarian author.
This year’s focus is on Writing for the Theatre & Film Adaptations.
Yoana Mircheva has graduated in dramaturgy from the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts, and works as screenwriter and playwright
The winner was selected by Greg Mosse, festival director.

Result of the contest for the Translators’ Residency fellowship in UK Print E-mail

The Elizabeth Kostova Foundation (BG) and Istros Books (UK) are very pleased to announce the names of the two translators who have been distinguished in this latest project of the Foundation:

Angela Rodel for her translation of Virginia Zaharieva's 9 Rabbits is the winner of the Translators’ Residency fellowship in Istros Books, UK.

Olga Nikolova is the runner up, whose translation of Albena Stambolova’s This Is the Way It Happens will be presented at the Contemporary Bulgarian Writers' website and published in Vagabond Bulgaria's English Monthly.

The selection was made by Susan Curtis-Kojakovic, the director of our UK partner Istros Books.

Interview with E.J. Van Lanen of Open Letter Books Print E-mail

The following are two interviews taken by Zdravka Evtimova during her residency at Open Letter Books (US) organized in the frame of the Literary Translators’ Residency project of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation.

Interview with E.J. Van Lanen, Open Letter Books’ senior editor.
ZE: What are the selection criteria in accordance to which a book by an international author is selected for publication by Open Letter Books?
E.J.: I’d say our criteria are both broad and specific and can change from book to book and author to author. Since our territory is the whole world, the authors and the books we take on can vary widely in terms of form, content, and style, and it’s therefore difficult to apply a single set of criteria to everything we might encounter. For example, we publish “Zone” by Mathias Énard, a 500-page novel that explores the history of violence in the Mediterranean basin; it’s expansive, philosophical, hugely ambitious, it tries to capture the entire world in its pages. And we also publish “The Private Lives of Trees” by Alejandro Zambra, a novel that barely reaches 100 pages and is concerned mainly with the relationship of three people, a mother, a daughter, and a father-in-law--Zambra has described his technique as a pruning process, he’s constantly pulling away to see what remains, and “Trees” is a very self-reflexive, quiet, meditative work.

Interview with Chad Post of Open Letter Books Print E-mail

Interview taken by Zdravka Evtimova with the Open Letter Books’ director Chad Post.
ZE: Open Letter Books is a young publishing institution and its first publication was “Nobody’s Home” by Dubravka Ugresic in 2008. Its work is dedicated entirely to international literature. What were the reasons that led to establishing Open Letter Books? Why was it established to the University of Rochester?
CP: Open Letter Books came about mainly through the initiative of the professors and adminstrators at the University of Rochester. They were all interested in developing a series of "translation studies programs" to help address the so-called "3% problem" (the fact that less than 3% of all books published in America are in translation--a situation that many have pointed to as a root cause of our "cultural isolation" from the rest of the world.) In addition to having classes on the theory and practice of translation, the U of R people creating this really wanted to include a publishing venture where students would have an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of book publishing. Nate, E.J., and myself had recently left Dalkey Archive Press (a very prestigious nonprofit publishing house) with a ton of connections, knowledge, and excitement about creating something new . . . so it all sort of worked out!
ZE: Are there other publishers of international literature in USA? What makes Open Letter Books unique in this respect?
CP: There are a number of presses in the U.S. that are doing translations: Dalkey Archive, Archipelago, Europa Editions, New Directions in terms of fiction, Host Publications, White Pine, Ugly Duckling Presse, in terms of poetry. The vast majority only do a few titles a year though. (All the actual statistics and details can be found in our Translation Database: http://www.rochester.edu/College/translation/threepercent/index.php?s=database.)Open Letter (and Archipelago with one minor exception) is the only one that does *only* literature in translation. And our aesthetic is fairly specific--20th and 21st century unique, innovative works from around the world. But what really sets us apart is our general approach to publishing. Rather than rush out as many books as we can, we're only doing 10 a year, encouraging people to subscribe to our series, and using a lot of new media tactics to identify readers.

Winner announcement :: Writers' Contest Print E-mail

The Contest for Contemporary Bulgarian Writers was won by Milen Rouskov.
The outcome of the contest will be a publication of his novel Thrown into Nature in English by Open Letter Books in 2011 and introduction of the book for acquisition on Canongate's list. Ruskov is author of Pocket Encyclopaedia of Mysteries (2004), which was awarded the Bulgarian Prize for Debut, and Thrown into Nature (2008), awarded the Bulgarian Novel of the Year Prize. An excerpt from the novel, translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel, can be read here: http://www.contemporarybulgarianwriters.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/ThrownIntoNature_Chpt-1_final.pdf
His candidature was chosen among 20 other worth applications.

In addition to that, the review panel has selected the following runners up:
Winner announcement :: Literary Translators Fellowship Print E-mail

Zdravka Evtimova is the winner of the Contest for Translators. Evtimova, a literary translator and author of several books of fiction will spend 3 weeks at Open Letter Books, one of the U.S. premier publishers of literature in translation, based at the University of Rochester.
Evtimova’s short stories have appeared in American journals such as Antioch Review, Massachusetts Review, the anthology "New Sudden Fiction" etc. as well as in various journals in 23 countries in the world including UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Austria, Japan, Russia, India, Denmark, Czech Republic, Poland, Argentina, Turkey, Romania, New Zeeland, Nigeria, Serbia etc.
Her candidature was approved out of 6 applications. The judge of this contest was Chad Post.

The pilot phase of this project is implemented with the kind support of the America for Bulgaria Foundation, http//www.americaforbulgaria.org.

Sozopol Fiction Seminars - Edition 2009 Print E-mail

This year’s line-up features:

  • 10 emerging and aspiring writers from Bulgaria and the United States, who were selected among 105 candidates coming from 13 countries;
  • Leading American and Bulgarian publishers and writers;
  • 4 engaging topics stemming from the contemporary literature landscapes.

The Seminar will take place between 4 and 8 of June in Sozopol with an exclusive fringe event in Sofia organized in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy.

Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich is now available in Bulgarian Print E-mail

The book describes the key elements of a writing workshop: clear instructions, illustrated contemporary and classic works, innovative exercises and methods to gauge your progress.

The book is being published with the support by Ciela Publisher and it is resulting by the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation’s efforts in promoting the teaching and professionalization of creative writing in Bulgaria.

Poet Roger Craik in Sofia Print E-mail

Monday, March 23, Sofia City Library, Slaveikov Square, 6pm (poet Roger Craik reading new work)

Tuesday, March 24, Sofia University, English Department Resource Centre, 5th Floor, Library, 4:30pm (poet Roger Craik and translator Evgenia Pancheva reading from THOSE YEARS, which will appear in Bulgarian this month)

Fellows in Literary Publishing Print E-mail


Dalkey Archive Press
ph 217.244.5700
fax 217.244.9142
University of Illinois
1805 S. Wright Street, MC-011
Champaign, IL 61820


Beginning in the summer of 2009, Dalkey Archive Press at the University of Illinois will be offering an opportunity to young people to gain full-time experience in literary publishing by working at Dalkey Archive Press. The expectation is that, at the end of a year, fellows will be qualified for a position at either Dalkey Archive or at another literary publisher.

Dyankov Award Winner for 2008 Print E-mail

Translators Iglika Vassileva and Yordan Kostourkov were conferred with the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation's Dyankov Award! Due to the very high quality of the nominated translations the jurors Alexander Shourbanov, Stefan Tafrov, and Vanya Tomova took the unusual decision to award two prizes of 2000$. The winning translations are THE SEA by John Banville translated by Vassileva and THE MESSIAH OF STOCKHOLM by Cynthia Ozick translated by Kostourkov.
Iglika Vassileva is a literary translator, best known for her translations of Virginia Woolf’s works and ULYSSES by James Joyce. Yordan Kosturkov is a writer of fiction, translator and university professor of English and American literature.

We congratulate the winners on their achievements and thank all of the nominees for their continuous contribution to the art of translation!


Beginning in the fall of 2009, Dalkey Archive Press at the University of Illinois will be offering a unique opportunity for young translators working from world languages into English to gain experience in translation and publishing. This program is in response to the need to create the means for translators to take the next major step in their careers.

During the fellowship year, translators will:

  • Complete their first book-length translation that will then be published by Dalkey Archive Press
  • Help to edit translations from other translators and see how editors respond to issues of translation so that they will learn how best to work with editors in the future
  • Work closely with translators who are submitting manuscripts to Dalkey Archive
  • Identify works that Dalkey Archive should consider publishing
  • Learn how to work with translators, agents, and other publishers
  • Work first-hand with funding agencies to secure grants for translations and thereby establish relationships with the funders that translators need to know
  • Establish contacts with editors at other publishing houses in order to have the means to submit work to them in the future
  • Learn how to write reader reports and learn through experience how to write cover letters to publishers
Writers for the Sozopol Fiction Seminars are selected Print E-mail

One year after its establishment Elizabeth Kostova Foundation will organize its first annual seminar on fiction writing. After a very strong and fierce competition our international evaluation committee has selected 5 Bulgarian and 5 NES writers to take part in the first seminar. We have received 80 applications from 10 countries and we would like to thank all of them. We are please to announce that the successful candidates are:
Danielle Trussoni, U.S.
Dena Popova, BG
Eireene Nealand, U.S.
J. T. Bushnell, U.S.
Katya Atanassova, BG
Mariko Nagai, Japan/U.S.
Svetla Damyanovska, BG
Sonya NIkolova, BG
Stoil Roshkev, BG
Travis Holland, U.S.

The seminar programme will include workshops to be taught in English by Elizabeth Kostova and in Bulgarian by Emil Andreev (THE GLASS RIVER, The Vick Award winner for 2005). Special lectures will be delivered by Kate Mosse (LABYRINTH) and Theodora Dimova (THE MOTHERS, awarded The Austrian Grand Prize for East European Literature in 2006). The daily programme also features one craft talk with diverse group of interlocutors coming from the book sector. One of the round tables will be with the special participation of the U.S. editor John O’Brien. Series of public readings scheduled for the evenings are designated to create a room for the faculty and the international group of participating writers to read from their work and for the public a rare chance to meet international writers’ community.
New Bulgarian Fiction in English Print E-mail

The Elizabeth Kostova Foundation and VAGABOND, Bulgaria's English Monthly are cooperating to enrich the English language with translations of contemporary Bulgarian writers. Through 2008 we are giving you the chance to read the work of a dozen young and sometimes not-so-young Bulgarian writers that the EKF considers original, refreshing and valuable. Some of them will be translated in English for the first time. The EKF has decided to make the selection of authors' work and to ensure they get first-class English translation, and we at Vagabond are only too happy to get them published in a quality magazine. Enjoy our fiction pages in 2008!

The fiction series opens with CHRISTO AND ALL THOSE BAD THINGS by Georgi Tenev, winner of the 2007 Vick Prize for the Bulgarian novel.
Available online: www.vagabond-bg.com/?page=live&sub=23&open_news=757
Translated in English by Angela Rodel.
The Winner of the first Translation Award of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation Print E-mail

The first Translation Award of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation dedicated to the Bulgarian translator Krustan Dyankov went to Lyubomir Nikolov for his translation of Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner, published in Bulgarian by Obsidian Publisher.
In his speech during the Award Ceremony, Lyubomir Nikolov urged the necessity of support for young Bulgarian translators and their work. He thanked the translators Krustan Dyankov and Valery Petrov, his university mentors, as well as the publisher of the winning translation.

Lyubomir Nikolov, a Bulgarian writer and literary translator, was born on January 10, 1950 in Kazanluk.

He studied engineering for two years in Tula, in the former Soviet Union, and graduated in journalism from Sofia University in 1977. Since then he has worked for Channel 1 of the Bulgarian NTV, the Central Council of the Bulgarian Trade Unions and several newspapers and magazines. In 1991, he began his career as a freelance writer and translator. Since 1988, Nikolov has translated more than 70 books from English by authors, including J. R. R. Tolkien, Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, John Grisham, Frank Herbert, John Updike, and Clifford Simak. For his translation of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, he received the Award of the Union of Bulgarian Translators (1991).
Nikolov is author of five science fiction novels:
The Generation Tribunal, 1978; The Mole, 1981; A Worm Under the Autumn Wind, 1986 (EUROCON’87 Award winner); Along the Wall, 1989 (SOCCON’89 Award winner); and The Tenth Righteous Man, 1999 (Readers’ Award for best SF novel of the years 1990-2000).

We congratulate Mr. Nikolov on his achievements!

Dyankov Award reporting for 2007:
The Dyankov Translation Award of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation is given annually (beginning 2007) for outstanding translation of a work of literary fiction from English to Bulgarian.
Titles that received at least one nomination and met the Award competition criteria for year of book publication 1996-2007 for the original titles and 2006-2007 for their Bulgarian translations:
Gregory Norminton, The Ship of Fools, Sceptre, 2001
Translator: Iglika Vassileva
Daniel Silva, Prince of Fire, G. P. Putnam’s Sons – Penguin Group, 2005
Translator: Ivan Atanassov
Christopher Buxton, Far from the Danube, Kronos, 2006
Translator: Todor Kenov
Julian Barnes, Arthur & George, Jonathan Cape, 2005
Translator: Lyubomir Nikolov
Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner, Riverhead Books, 2003
Translator: Lyubomir Nikolov
Marina Lewycka, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, Viking, 2005; Penguin Books 2006
Translator: Nadezhda Radoulova
Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad, Canongate Books, 2005
Translator: Dimitrina Ravalieva
Martin Amis, House of Meetings, Knopf, 2006
Translator: Zornitza Hristova
Michael Cunningham, Specimen Days, Mare Vaporum Corp., 2005
Translator: Iglika Vassileva
Paul Auster, Oracle Night, Henry Holt and Company, 2003
Translator: Iglika Vassileva
First Annual Fiction Writing Seminar in Sozopol on the Black Sea Coast Print E-mail

First Annual Fiction Writing Seminar in Sozopol on the Black Sea Coast, May 2008

The EKF will sponsor its first annual four-day seminar on the writing of fiction in late May, 2008. Workshops will be taught in English by Elizabeth Kostova (THE HISTORIAN) and in Bulgarian by Emil Andreev (THE GLASS RIVER, The Vick Award winner for 2005), with special guest lecturers Kate Mosse (LABYRINTH) and Theodora Dimova (THE MOTHERS, awarded The Austrian Grand Prize for East European Literature in 2006). Full funding for participation will be available on a competitive basis to five Bulgarian writers and five native-English writers, regardless of age and publication record.  

Complete information and application guidelines will be posted on the EKF Website on October 31, 2007.

Art Festivals ‘Apolonia’ Print E-mail

Elizabeth Kostova Foundation at Apollonia Festival of Arts, 2007

The 21st annual festival of Apollonia, held in Sozopol, Bulgaria, on the Black Sea, was marked by a rich literary program (www.apollonia.bg).

The literary events of this year’s Apollonia started on August 31 with a pre-premiere and public reading of Elizabeth Kostova’s new novel, which is now in progress (to be published in 2009).

The following day another EKF event attracted a large audience: a panel discussion among writers, moderated by Georgi Tenev (playwright, writer, and journalist). This included a concise presentation of the recently established organization delivered by Elizabeth Kostova, founder, and Julian Popov, writer and chair of the EKF board, followed by a conversation with the eminent Bulgarian writers Teodora Dimova and Emil Andreev on their writing and teaching experiences. Dimova and Andreev will be the Bulgarian guest instructors at the EKF’s first summer writing seminar in Sozopol, May 2008. The discussion covered a very broad set of issues, from the foundation’s ratio to the current literature scene in Bulgaria. EKF Managing Director Svetlozar Zhelev and board members Sasha Bezuhanova and Stefan Tafrov joined the presentation audience.

The event was honored by the attendance of the U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria HE John Beyrle who traveled to Sozopol especially for the meeting of American writer Elizabeth Kostova with the Bulgarian public and stayed to attend arts events there.

In his speech he said that the American Embassy will use its energy and resources to help with the promotion of Bulgarian literature.