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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.
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Elizabeth Kostova


Elizabeth Kostova holds degrees from Yale University and the University of Michigan. She has published fiction, poetry, and essays. Her first novel, The Historian (Little, Brown, U.S./Ciela Soft & Publishing, Bulgaria), set partly in Bulgaria, has been translated into more than 40 languages and has sold nearly five million copies worldwide. Kostova has a strong interest in Bulgarian history, literature, and culture and is co-founder (with Svetlozar Zhelev) of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation for Creative Writing in Bulgaria. Her second novel, The Swan Thieves, was published by Little, Brown in January 2010. She lives in the U.S.,where she teaches fiction writing at the University of Michigan Bear River summer seminar. She has also taught in the MFA Program at the University of North Carolina (Wilmington).


Julian Popov


Julian Popov graduated in Bulgarian studies from Sofia University. He is the author of English Bulgaria, or Switzerland in the Balkans (Ciela Soft & Publishing, 2004) and the novel Island of Mists (Ciela Soft & Publishing, 2006), as well as a contributor to the widely successful Bulgarian anthology Sex-Off ( Iztok-Zapad Publishing House, 2006). He has also written hundreds of articles, published in Bulgaria and abroad, about Bulgarian, English, and EU politics, society, and education. Julian Popov is one of the founders of New Bulgarian University, as well as its first executive director, director of the UK charity organization Friends of Bulgaria, and chairman of the board of directors of the Bulgarian School of Politics. Since 1994 he has worked in London as a journalist and consultant; his articles have been published in such leading international periodicals as The Independent, EU Observer, The Scotsman, and many Bulgarian journals. He also created the first blog for publications on current issues on the Bulgarian Internet.


Dessislava Gavrilova

Dessislava Gavrilova graduated in theater studies from the National Academy of Theater and Film Arts in Sofia and has studied screenwriting at the Moscow Film Institute. She holds a master’s degree in public policy (CEU, Budapest) and has conducted research on British cultural policy after WWII at the University of Oxford. Shewas a guest lecturer at the Cultural Studies Department of Sofia University and has published in the field of cultural policies and performing arts practices. Dessislava Gavrilova is the founder-director of The Red House Center for Culture and Debate. Since 2005, she has also been director of the Center for Arts and Culture of the Central European University in Budapest. In 1997, she established the Open Society Institute Performing Arts Program in Budapest, directing it until 2000. She also directed the Performing Arts Program of the Soros Center for the Arts in Sofia from its establishment until 1996.


Meglena Kuneva

Meglena Kuneva graduated from the Faculty of Law at Sofia University, where she wrote her Ph.D. thesis on environmental law. She worked as a journalist for the law program of the Bulgarian National Radio from 1987 to 1989 while an assistant professor at Sofia University. From 1990 to 2001, Kuneva was senior legal advisor to the Council of Ministers. In 2001, she was elected as a member of the Bulgarian Parliament and in the same year was appointed chief negotiator of the Republic of Bulgaria with the EU and deputy minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In May 2002, she was appointed Bulgaria’s minister of european affairs. On December 12, 2006, the European Parliament approved her candidature for EU commissioner. From 2007 to 2010, she was the Commissioner for Consumer Protection at the European Commission. She is currently Chair of the Governing Board of the European Policy Centre.


Philip Dimitrov

Philip Dimitrov holds a degree in law from Sofia University and has worked as an attorney at law in Sofia. In 1990, he became a chair of the Coordination Council of the Union of Democratic Forces. He was elected prime minister of Bulgaria in 1991 and remained at this post until the end of 1992. He served as ambassador of Bulgaria to the UN (1997-1998) and ambassador of Bulgaria to the U.S. (1998-2001). He was a deputy in the 40th Bulgarian National Assembly. Philip Dimitrov is currently the EU ambassador to Georgia.
Philip Dimitrov is author of the books For They Lived, Oh Lord (1991), The True Story of the Knights of the Round Table (1996), Jumping into the Atlantic (Woodrow Wilson Center, USA, 2003), The Myths of the Bulgarian Transition, and Light of Men (2003).


Raina Gavrilova

Rayna Gavrilova graduated in history from Sofia University. She was an instructor in the history of Bulgarian culture (XV-XIX centuries) and deputy head of the Department of Theory and History of Culture at Sofia University. From 2000 to 2001, Rayna Gavrilova was deputy minister of culture in Bulgaria. She has also served as executive director of the Open Society Foundation, Sofia (2002-2005). Sheis former executive director of the Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE Trust). At present, Rayna Gavrilova is deputy director of International Operations at the Open Society Institute–New York.


Sasha Bezuhanova

Sasha Bezuhanova is a graduate of the Technical University of Sofia. At present, she is public administration director of Hewlett-Packard for Central and Eastern Europe. She has also been general manager of Hewlett Packard Bulgaria. She is currently co-president of the Confederation of the Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria, chair of the board of Junior Achievement for Bulgaria, and chair of Cluster Information and Communication Technologies. She also serves on the boards of the American University in Bulgaria, Schools On-line, and The Open Society Foundation. Sasha Bezuhanova is honorary consul of Luxemburg in Bulgaria.


Stefan Tafrov

Stefan Tafrov holds a degree in journalism from Sofia University. He has worked as a staff writer for the weekly newspaper ABV, as an editor for the magazine Contemporary and as a translator from French and Italian. He has held a number of diplomatic posts, including counselor on foreign policy to President Zhelyu Zhelev; deputy minister of foreign affairs in the government of Philip Dimitrov; and Bulgarian ambassador in Rome, London, and Paris. He also served as the permanent delegate of Bulgaria to the United Nations in New York. In March 2001, Stefan Tafrov was awarded the highest recognition given by the Legion of Honor.


Svetlozar Zhelev

Svetlozar Zhelev graduated in history from Sofia University and has worked in book publishing since 1998. Currently, Zhelev is publishing director of the highly successful Bulgarian company Ciela Soft & Publishing. He is also a member of the managing board of the Bulgarian Book Association and the managing board of the program Access to Information.