Georgi Gospodinov [ Germany, Bulgaria ]
The Bulgarian poet and writer Georgi Gospodinov was born in 1968. His first volume of poetry »Lapidarium« (1992) won a National Debut Prize. It was followed by »Chereshata na edin narod« (1996; t: The cherry tree of one nation), which was awarded the Best Book of the Year Prize from the Bulgarian Writers' Union.
Gospodinov’s first novel »Estestven roman« (1999; Eng. »Natural Novel«, 2005) which has already been issued six times in Bulgaria made him particularly well known to an international audience. It was translated into ten languages. The »New Yorker« described it as an »anarchic, experimental debut« and »The Times« as a »humorous, melancholy and highly idiosyncratic work«. »Natural Novel« takes up the post-modern structuring principle reminiscent of Borges and Pessoa. The main plot is interfused with multiple story lines, digressions and different levels of reflection loosely connected with one another. The fly is one of the subjects of the many literary »natural stories« within this book, the fly’s eye (which is made up of many different facets) acting as a symbolic metaphor of the narrative technique. »It is my immodest wish to create a novel of beginnings. ... It would only provide the initial impulse, move subtly into the shadows of the next beginning and leave the figures to interrelate exactly as they please. That is what I would call a natural novel.«
Gospodinov’s next book, the volume of short stories »I drugi istorii« (2001; Eng. »And Other Stories«, 2007), describes, sadly but comically, the mysteries of everyday life. Two poetry books followed: »Pisma do Gaustin« (2003; t: Letters to Gaustin) and later the collected volume »Baladi i razpadi« (2007; t: Baladies and maladies).
Gospodinov has also turned his interests towards the stage. The play »D.J.« (the initials of Don Juan) was performed at the Satirical Theatre in Sofia in 2004 and won the prize for Play of the Year. It was staged in France and Austria, too. The East European film production »Lost and Found« – for which Gospodinov wrote the Bulgarian contribution’s screenplay, »The Ritual« – opened the International Forum of Young Cinema at the 2005 Berlin International Film Festival.
Gospodinov is the editor of the book »Az zhiviakh sotsializma: 171 lichni istorii« (2006; t: I’ve lived Socialism. 171 personal stories), the result of a two-year Internet project gathering stories of ordinary people’s experiences during socialist times. His work in this field continued with »Inventarna kniga na sotsializma« (2006; t: The inventory book of Socialism; co-authored by Y. Genova), a catalogue of Bulgarian objects of everyday life from the period 1956-1989. Both works were amongst the most debated and bestselling books in Bulgaria.
Gospodinov has received a Ph.D., teaches at the Literature Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and is a columnist for »Dnevnik«, a daily newspaper, in the »Analyses« department.
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