The National Palace of Culture in Sofia has steadily been reclaiming its role as a centre of culture. After the founding of the National Book Centre and the Plume literary club, one more successful idea has come to fruition – the Valeri Petrov Creative Writing Academy, named after one of Bulgaria’s foremost 20th century poets.
“I hope in the future, society will be more open, more humane, that it will continue to battle greed, aggression and anger, the things that underpin all problem we have with one another,” said poet Valeri Petrov in one of the last interviews he gave.
In this sense, the Creative Writing Academy could well be called a challenge to its lecturers and mentors but also to the young talents. It is the organizers’ endeavor to keep the memory of the poet alive and to keep his name unblemished. More about the academy from poet Iliyan Lyubomirov:
“It is a project we came up with together – myself, Irena Ivanova, Dimitar Stoyanovich and Luchezar Avramov. We all wanted to create a place where people could go to learn, to meet foremost scriptwriters and writers of poetry and prose. Interest in reading, writing and publishing has been running high of late. And there was need of having a place on the market where people could be given the basics in different spheres. At the moment there are four: poetry, prose, cinema and TV scriptwriting. As of the next semester we shall add another four or five – playwriting, editing, copywriting, political writing and translation because they are all very different and have their own idiosyncrasies. That is why it was so important to us to supplement the lecture courses.”
For Iliyan, the “flying people” (from a poem by Valeri Petrov) are all people touched by the written words who are not afraid of devoting themselves to literature.
The graduates of the Academy are able to continue their training in master classes given by their lecturers, set to begin in October. All trainees who have finished their manuscripts following the guidelines they have been given will be able to meet with publishers to help them publish their works. At the Academy the lecturers are professionals in literature, scriptwriters and film directors like Lyuben Dilov Jr., Stephan Komandarev, Angel Igov, Vladimir Zarev, Toma Markov and others. These names span different generations and that is no coincidence, as this is a way to bridge the generation gap between the young and the older authors, a process in which each of the sides has something to learn from the other, says one of the talented authors in the Academy, Karina Popova. She says that it is in the small things that one can discover one’s individuality, whatever the art form. National Palace of Culture Director Miroslav Borshosh stated at the opening of the Academy, that it was important to have talent, but no less important to be able to discover it in others and help them unfold it.
The Valeri Petrov Creative Writing Academy has accomplished its mission. Its second edition is due in the autumn. So, if you have a penchant for writing, the best and easiest way to learn is by practicing it.
English version: Milena Daynova