The Sozopol seminar offers a unique perspective: for the first time in Bulgaria writing is not simply about talent but also about craft. That means a different kind of responsibility – the responsibility to make choices, to choose the fate of your text. Before the text chooses its ultimate fate.
I am giving myself a mental tap on the shoulder for applying to the seminar. My desire for reading and writing has grown exponentially. And I’ve met people who can help me do both in a better way. On top of everything, they are all decent chaps.
Overall, I couldn’t have been happier with the seminar. I met amazing, talented writers and I became a better writer myself. I also ate amazing food and experienced some of the most wonderful hospitality in the world! It is my sincerest hope to return to Bulgaria again in the very near future.
Having the chance to discover another country's literature by meeting its practitioners in person, rather than simply on the page, was a terrific experience that makes me hungry for more like it. The environment of SFS is like one big open border that invites people to cross it.
I wake up and I know exactly how my day will unfold. In a folder on the bed beside me, I have the stories of my fellow writers – Alexandra Chausheva, Alexander Shpatov, Maria Doneva and Evgeni Cherepov. Until a few days ago I’d met none of them and was eagerly looking them up in Google. I knew even less about Kodi, Lana, Maya, Jeremy and Stephen. We are now, I strongly believe, united by the creative spirit of what we experienced in Sozopol. And there was plenty to experience, plenty to remember: the small cobbled street leading to the old building of the city gallery, the seagulls flying over the almond tree in front of the hotel, the workshops, the conversations, the green fig preserves insisting, irresistibly, to be our dinner desert… While, in the mornings, we talk about the stories – Alexandra’s, Alexander’s, Maria’s and Evgeni’s – and what improvements they could make, I rummage in my mind through my own text and look for places that would benefit from similar massaging…
In her lecture “The Experience of Writing” Emilia Dvoryanova tells the following joke from an American creative writing textbook: “There are exactly three rules for writing a good book. The only problem is that no one knows them.” Having met and talked to all these creative people in Sozopol, I am convinced that all three of these have rolled out towards me. One morning I will wake up and remember them.