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Dimitar Shumnaliev

Ferodo (Brake Lining /Ferodo)

Library 48 Publishers

Brake Lining (Ferodo)

About the author:

Dimitar Shumnaliev was born in Sofia in 1947. He graduated from the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridki with a major in Bulgarian Philology. Dim Shum is the pen-name of the novelist, who graduated in creative writing graduate from the University of Iowa, USA, in 1988. Dimitar Shumnaliev worked at the newspapers Narodna Mladezh, Otechestven Front, Literaturen Front and Narodna Kultura. He is the author of 15 books including the following three novels The Abdovitsa Marsh, River Spirits and Hell. His books have been translated into many languages including English, Russian, German, French. Dimitar Shumnaliev is also popular as a passionate collector and painter. He is the editor-in-chief of Noshten Trud newspaper.


The author about the novel:

In the name of love, a boy commits an act of treachery. The Communist regime imprisons the accused, and he is sent an uncivilised village where life is drudgery and toil.

A sense of guilt starts to consume the traitor's soul. This determines the fate of a boy on his way to becoming a man - marking his feeling and his deeds.

Ferodo is a material used in the production of motor brakes. The novel follows the life of the inventor of Ferodo in England at the end of the 18th century. This leads us to a workshop in Sofia, where the production of the first Bulgarian friction pads has begun. The author introduces the metaphor of stoppage. To cease loving is also love, says the character, a producer of Ferodo friction pads. One has to learn to desist - to stop being obsessed, to stop envying, having excessive ambition etc.

Will the character also cease feeling guilty? The novel takes us from a detailed description of Socialist times up to the present day, when the guilt-torn character gets rich as a Ferodo manufacturer. Is there a psychological equivalent to Ferodo and the brake pads for which it is used, and will the protagonists mental sufferings therefore cease? Can love bear treachery and culminate in forgiveness?
The plot is lively, real, dynamic and cinematically structured in frames.



Ivan Golev

Okh, liou/bo/v (Oh Love)

Trud Publishing House

Oh Love

About the author:

Ivan Golev was born in Sofia in 1950. He has published books of poetry, short stories, novelettes, and novels, as well as books for children. Ivan Golev is also a translator, author of six plays and of several film scripts. Mr. Golev is deputy editor-in-chief of the Suvremennik Newspaper.


The author about the novel:

When one morning I realised that we human are also snails, I decided to write a novel about it. It's great to see the earth as pure as it is after rain, and when the dry spell comes - simply shrink into your shell and dream about what you have seen.

We write our personal story with Sisyphean tenacity, but the stones of stupidity incessantly roll back down the slope on us. What is then left for us to do except sprout wings in our shells and try to fly over the walls and mountain ridges that surround us?

As a synoicous being, the snail is twice as devoted to love. In contrast to human beings, who love themselves first, and then others, the snail loves when he is he and when he is the Other. Life does not exactly facilitate love, but it is distinctly less bearable if love is not there.

Oh, love is a parable, a novel of balance, and a novel of absolution, in short it is a novel for a time when here, in the Balkans, the shells of the old are being broken and the core of the new is being established. Alas, as often happens, the new is merely rediscovered old. And the conviction that art can save the world - just another charming and old-fashioned illusion.




Kerana Angelova

Elada Pinio i vremeto (Elada Pinio and Time)

Izdatelsko atelie Ab Publishing House

Elada Pinio and Time

About the author:

Kerana Angelova was born in the village of Brodilovo in 1948. She is the author of several books of poetry including Summer, Underground River, Defenceless as Dandalions, the novelettes Zana and Papazini and the novel Elada Pinio and Time which won the most prestigious Bulgarian awards for literature: - Belletristic Book of the Year, awarded by the Association of Bulgarian Writers;
- The Blaga Dimitrova Award, named after the great female Bulgarian writer and awarded by the Bulgarian Women's Forum;
- Pegasus, the literature award of the city of Burgas (the city where the writer lives and works);
- The Vick Foundation Readers' Vote Prize


About the novel:

Very Bulgarian, extraordinary, a literary event, philosophical and passionate - these are just some of the reviews of the novel, with the critics calling it a highpoint of Bulgarian literature.

Elada-Despina-Pinio examines the miraculous element of life. Surprising, an extraordinary interrelationship between image and thought, a daring use of symbolism: these are among its most outstanding characteristics. The reader enters the world of the story to find a tale embroiled in the logic of personal mythology, where the inexhaustible, bright and exciting whims of the text can be experienced as pure aesthetic delight. The style perfectly combines the philosophical and the lyrical. A beautiful book. 

Prof. Milena Kirova - literary critic

Elada Pinio and Time cannot be summarised, but it can be strongly recommended. It is a very complicated extended metaphor, an interweaving of layers of time, memories and identities!  It is surely writing beyond time and place, articulating the past to the future.

Georgi Koritarov - journalist for Radio New Europe

Such literature rarely appears. It possesses a certain uniqueness, style, creates a world of images - everything in it impresses me. Not its exterior, but by its spirit. What a major influence this unique author could be!

Julia Ognyanova - director




Konstantin Iliev

Porajenieto. Khonika ot kratkoto stoletie (The Defeat. A Chronicle from the Short Century)

Janette 45 Publishing House, Fakel Publishing House

The Defeat. A Chronicle from the Short Century

About the author:

Konstantin Iliev was born in Gorno Pavlikeny in 1937. He won the international Herder Award. He graduated in German Philology at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski and defended his dissertation at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Later, he worked as a playwright for Sofia Dramatic Theatre and now he works for Ivan Vazov National Theatre. His most renowned plays are Music from Shatrovets, The Window, Basil for Draginko, Odyssey Travels to Ithaca, Easter Wine, Nirvana. He has translated plays by Buchner and Brecht. His works have been staged in Poland, Russia, Austria and Estonia. In 2003 The Defeat received the prestigious Helicon award for new Bulgarian fiction.


About the novel:

Critics have found it difficult to define the genre of this book. The author describes it as autobiographical, but distances himself from the term 'memoir'; readers tend to see it as a novel. The book tells about dramatic events that took place in Bulgaria during the recently ended century: war, consecutive invasion of the country by the German and the Soviet armies, change of the political regime, collectivisation, peasant revolt, economic deadlock, yet another change of the regime. It is a first-person narrative, the world being seen through the eyes of a child, then a teenager, a young man and, finally, a mature adult. Against the backdrop of the major social collisions in the country we see the formation of an individual: grotesque episodes from childhood, clash with the dominant ideological postulates during adolescence, first sexual experiences retold with subtle irony, political delusions and insights.

With an exquisite sense of humor, erudition and sincerity, Konstantin Iliev returns in time like an anthropologist who is exploring human relationships not in alien lands but in times that are now alien, to tell us what he himself has seen.The Defeat beautifully explores the tragic guilt which the supporters of the old and the new regimes manage to incur by defending their rightness during times of changes that are much bigger than they are themselves.

Christine Dimitrova, poet, translator
and lecturer in English Language at the University of Sofia

It seems to me that the content of The Defeat is consistent with the definition of a chronicle. An attempt to bear witness. And an attempt to reflect, I hope objectively, on what has happened in a small world whose only difference from the big world is that it is easier to observe.

Konstantin Iliev

In 2003 The Defeat won the prestigious Helicon Prize for New Bulgarian Fiction.




Hristo Karastoyanov

Aoutopia: drouguiat pat kam ada (Autopia: the Other Way to Hell)

Janette 45 Publishing House

Autopia: the Other Way to Hell

About the author:

Hristo Karastoyanov was born in Topolovgrad in 1950. He is a prose writer, playwright, a poet with a guitar. He is a member of the Union of Bulgarian Writers. His first book Cracked Asphalt (1981) won one of the South Spring Awards in Haskovo and Notes on Historical Naivete (1999) won the award of the Union of Bulgarian Writers in 2000. He has won the Chudomir Award in Kazanluk and the Golden Chain Award of the Trud Newspaper competition, as well as the Grand Award of CorpoRadion Development KDA Publishing House for the novel Death is Preferable (2003). Hristo Karastoyanov is the author of 17 books of fiction, non-fiction and journalism, three novels, plays and a collection of poems.


About the novel:

Hristo Karastoyanov's novel explores the concept that life is what happens, while we are making plans.

According to the plot, an unknown race, called by the author The Aging, left their concrete world thousands of years ago and settled somewhere under the ocean. In their new habitat all is orderly and calm for millennia on end - until a nearby island suffers a cataclysm and The Aging shelter the inhabitants of the island in their underwater caves - these islanders are also an obscure race, named The Preserved by The Aging. The Aging plan to return The Preserved to the human sphere of the Upper World at a specific point in time.

The time chosen is September 11 2001.

Meanwhile, the Upper World is changing, (something The Aging carefully observe using the scouts they send up top at the end of every century). The Aging think that humanity should be made to accept the unknown beings as their brothers; they are convinced that The Preserved are a special, chosen race, called "the missing link" by scientists, an element in the evolutionary chain of mankind - the essential connection between primitive hominoids and homo sapiens.

The Preserved, though initially innocent, are also changing. They suddenly acquire knowledge. And at the very moment that they acquire knowledge they start killing one another. The plan of The Aging is ruined. What is more, it turns out that the deadline - September 11 2001 - has also been ruined, for specific reasons that contemporary readers will immediately understand.

Annotation to the Bulgarian edition of the book:

Of course the world autopia cannot be found in dictionaries - it is a neologism, because only an invented word could properly encapsulate a book, in which Hermes pretends to be Philip Marlow, Apollo steals the Mona Lisa and sings Bandera Rosa, while accompanying himself on the guitar, and Amazons fight in the arena with Antipodeans; in brief, it's a book, where everything starts with a Kalashnikov rifle, both beginning and ending in this cursed and undone world of ours.

According to autopia, all human history has been a prelude to September 11 2001 - a date for which something beautiful and noble was planned by The Aging. But the way to hell is paved with good intentions. And yet, even if there were another way, it too should be paved with the same.




Stephan Kisyov

Ekzekoutorat (The Executioner)

Janette 45 Publishing House

The Executioner

About the author:

Stephan Kisyov was born in Stara Zagora in 1963. He graduated from the French Language School in his home town. He studied at Sofia and Plovdiv Universities and also at the Sorbonne in Paris. He has worked as an electrician at a tram depot, locksmith at a chemical factory, administrator at a Black Sea hotel, stage worker at the Stara Zagora Opera, waiter, freelance journalist for several metropolitan newspapers. He was an immigrant in France and Switzerland for three years. Stephan Kisyov has published four novels, over 60 short stories in influential newspapers and magazines and many non-fictional pieces. He is the author of the play Peculiarities of Bulgarian National Sex, staged at the Blagoevgrad Theatre.


About the novel:

The title of the novel creates expectations about a cruel murderer, but Stefan Gashtev is a funny little person who has been trying to become popular all his life. He grows up in a circus, works as a clown, studies to become a fakir, then a pilot, unexpectedly goes to prison where he gets to be the executioner. Finally he flies into Outer Space and gets back to Earth after 20 years more obscure than ever. His misadventures are so terrifying that the best-selling author Stephen-Larry King (who has a creative block) decides to use them, but he dies a poor, preposterous death. Only the "non-fictional" story of his prototype remains.

Kisyov unfolds Gashtev's life by means of fragments written at the edge of the factual, so that the ironically displaced reality of the 60s to 80s of the previous century is easily recognisable. Outer Space plays an important role in this faction novel (a mixture of facts and fiction). It is the source of the family myth (the father is an alien) and of the leading political myth (the system will conquer Outer Space), but most of all it works as a narrative trick for abrupt and effective shifts of scale. With the literary devices of clownery, farce and absurdity Stephan Kisyov has created an impressively light (in Kundera's sense), funny and deep story about a system, which degrades the human being to executioner and victim at the same time.

Simona Mircheva





Winners 2009

Milen Ruskov-“Zahvarlen v prirodata”

Zahari Karabashliev-“18% sivo”


Judges 2009

Panel of Judges 2009 BULGARIAN NOVEL OF THE YEAR: Professor Milena Kirova  Professor Svetlozar Igov  Georgi Tenev Kristina Patrashkova

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