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Words have the word at the Sofia International Literary Festival

The 9th edition of the Sofia International Literary Festival opens a conversation between languages and cultures

Photo: Facebook / @sofialiteraryfest

The ninth edition of the Sofia International Literary Festival will be held under the motto “Words have the word”. The largest and most prestigious literary forum in Bulgaria will take place between December 7 and 12. For the second consecutive year, all events, meetings and discussions part of the festival’s program will be held online and will be broadcast live on the festival’s Facebook page.

„This year we have heard different groups of people, politicians, misinformers and trolls, but now it is time for the words to have the floor again“, the director of the literary festival Desislava Alexieva said.


This year’s edition of the literary festival will lay the emphasis on high-profile voices from Europe. The aim of the forum is not only to follow the trends that prevail in Europe’s literature, but also to hear the questions raised by the authors, learn their attitude towards past, present and future, their worries and anti-crisis recipes, Desislava Elexieva explains. The topic related to the coronavirus pandemic and the existential changes it caused will be subject to discussions as well.  The first results of a national survey on readers’ attitudes amid the Covid-19 pandemic will be also presented at this year’s edition of the Sofia International Literary Festival, Desislava Elexieva went on to say.

Despite the vicissitudes of time, the principal mission of the Sofia International Literary Festival to engage worldwide and Bulgarian authors in dialogue and open a conversation between languages and countries “large” and “small” has remained unchanged.

“We have invited exceptional authors who have published books in the past 12 months. It is absolutely worth hearing these authors”, the festivals’ Program Director Professor Amelia Licheva said for Radio Bulgaria of the BNR.


“I will single out several names, including Connie Palmen – a big name in the contemporary Dutch literature. Fiona Sampson- a leading British poet and writer, author of 29 books published in 37 languages. Muriel Barbery, who has a very serious readership in Bulgaria, will also attend this year’s edition of the literary festival. Elvira Seminara is one of the most interesting names in the contemporary Italian literature. Of course, Dubravka Ugrešić and Ana Blandina, pen name of Romanian essayist, journalist, poetess and public figure Otilia Valeria Coman, considered one of the most famous contemporary Romanian authors, will also participate at the Sofia International Literary Festival. Many winners of the European Union Prize for Literature, including Noémi Kiss, Claudiu Florian, Kristina Gavran, Haska Shyyan, Lidija Dimkovska and Associate Professor Georgi Bardarov, who won the 2021 European Union Prize for Literature, will also attend the festival. ”

Bulgaria will be also represented by Georgi Gospodinov, who won a number of prestigious international literary awards, Zachary Karabashliev, Alek Popov, Elena Alexieva, Georgi Tenev, Alexander Shurbanov, Aksinia Mihaylova, Tsocho Boyadzhiev, etc. The discussions organized within the frameworks of the festival are of great significance, contends Professor Licheva.

“A very interesting discussion will be held within the frameworks of the literary festival. It is themed “Who has the right to translate- political correctness in translation. We shall endeavor to present different points of view in the discussion of translation as such, but also of the culturological problems connected with translation. Another discussion is named “Online Literature”- we are to talk about literature podcasts.”


The festival’s programe envisages a meeting with Bulgarian-born Austrian writer Dimitré Dinev. Mirela Ivanova, a close friend of Dimitré Dinev, will be a moderator of the event, which again proves that borders in our contemporary literature are becoming increasingly invisible. 


Written by: Vesela Krasteva

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

Photos: Facebook / @sofialiteraryfest, BGNES

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