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Bulgarian sculptor Atanas Kachamakov and the Amercian bestseller ‘Dobry’

Photo: Архив

One of the most popular children’s books in the US has a chance to appear on the Bulgarian marker 77 years after it was initially published. The book, written by author Monica Shannon in the 30s, is based on the memories of renowned Bulgarian sculptor Atanas Kachamakov. “Dobry” is a bestseller in the US but the book has just been translated in Bulgarian. Who is Atanas Kachamakov and what is the story of Dobry? Emilia Velinova, director of the History Museum in Pernik told Radio Bulgaria more.

11-08-03-83244_1.jpg“The book ‘Dobry’ tells the story of artist Atanas Kachamakov, who was born in the Bulgarian village of Lyaskovets in 1898 before later he emigrated to the US. Dobry is a young boy who lives in a small Bulgarian farming village together with his widowed mother and grandfather. Dobry’ natural artistic talent and dedication finally brings him the respect of the whole town and his moter sends him to study art. Atanas Kachamakov has been working in Hollywood since 1924 and his art can be seen in movies like Ben Hur, Helen of Troy, Noah’s Arc and others. Kachamakov’s story told to friends at a dinner impressed writer and journalist Monica Shannon, who decided to write it down. The book entitled “Dobry” was published in November 1934 and a month later it was selected for the most interesting book of the month. Next year Dobry won the prestigious Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature. At that time Bulgarian ambassador to the US Konstantin Popatanasov reported to the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences about the success of the book, but despite that it was not translated. In 1966 an edition of the book with illustrations by the Kachamakov himself was published in the US.”

The book has finally been translated in Bulgarian recently by 20 students and their English teachers of the Simeon Radev Language School in the town of Pernik. 
“During one of his visits to the United States, former director of the History Museum in Pernik, ethnologist Simeon Milyov was pleasantly surprised to learn about the book. He brought it back to Bulgaria in order to promote it,” Emilia Velinova says. “It was Mr. Milyov’s idea to give the book for translation to the students in Pernik, who could this way learn a lot about the great Bulgarian artist, who is actually little known in the country. The book has already been translated but now a publisher must be found. A competition for illustrations to the book was also organized among students of art in Pernik. The original illustrations by Atanas Kachamakov will also be published,” Ms. Velinova adds.

During the 70s Atanas Kachamakov returned to Bulgaria and an exhibition of his works was organized in the National Academy of Art in Sofia. More than 50 works by Kachamakov are kept in the National Endowment Fund “13 Centuries Bulgaria.”

English: Alexander Markov
Photos: provided by fond13veka.org (illustrations by Atanas Kachamakov for the book "Dobry")

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