Bulgarian authors visit Brussels as part of the Fifth Bulgarian Book Festival – a traditional annual forum for meetings between readers, publishers and writers of the pen.
The Bulgarian Cultural Association in Belgium, with the support of the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Belgium, organizes the Bulgarian Book Festival for the fifth time in a row, in partnership with several Bulgarian publishing houses. The debut edition of the Festival took place in June 2019, immediately after the opening of the Bulgarian section in the Flemish library BIB SOPHIA in Brussels, in honor of May 24 – an official holiday of Bulgarian education and culture. Bulgarian writers and poets working in Belgium and other countries in Europe usually attend the Festival. The two-day festival program includes meetings with the visiting authors, who will readily answer readers’ questions and sign autographs.
This year, the Bulgarian Cultural Association also organized a poll about the favorite Bulgarian writers in the world. The results will be announced during the festival. You can view and fill out the survey here.
Here is what Rada Gankova, program director of the festival, shares:
The festival is held for the fifth year in a row. What is the significance of the event for the Bulgarian community with Brussels?
The festival has become a very successful forum that gives readers the opportunity to meet Bulgarian writers, but also writers to meet their readers around the world. In addition to meetings with writers, we also have an exhibition of books from a dozen Bulgarian publishing houses. This is a great opportunity for people to fill their library with books in Bulgarian and stock up for the whole year. I have seen people come and leave with 15-20 books and even ask “will there be another bazaar like this next year?”.
From the beginning, our idea was to make a bridge between authors, publishers and readers abroad. And the people here began to follow Bulgarian literature and our book publishing more closely and accordingly became ambassadors of Bulgarian literature to the world. They already know us and expect the event every year on the first weekend of June. It is up to us to make our culture more visible and take its place in Europe.
For the first time this year, we are organizing a poll for a favorite Bulgarian writer in the world. We will announce the results at the festival. We are excited, especially in the current context, when Bulgarian literature is being talked about all over the world thanks to the award won by Georgi Gospodinov and Angela Rodel.
What are the biggest challenges in organizing such an event?
We are starting with invitations to writers and publishers and hoping they will respond. Then a lot of logistical questions and probably everyone who has ever been to a book fair or other book event can imagine how laborious it is to organize the transportation of about a ton and a half of books from Bulgaria to Belgium.
What have you learned and how has the festival changed over the years?
Every year the friends and like-minded people of the festival increase and more and more people come. In addition to guests from Bulgaria, visitors from France and the Netherlands are now also coming. This makes us very happy.
At the book bazaar, you will find publishers’ stands Jeanette-45, Siela, Musagena, Znatsi, Hermes, Lemur, Lexicon, Hummingbird, Concealer, List, SoftPress etc., which offer over 300 titles.
Program of the festival
June 10, 2023, Saturday
Rue de la Digue 24 – 1050 Ixelles
11:00 a.m. – Opening with Kremena Dimitrova – moderator of author meetings
11:30 h – Meeting with Victoria Beshliyska
Language as home and the gold of silence
1:30 p.m. – A conversation with the publisher Manol Peykov about the challenges and opportunities for Bulgarian literature
16:00 h – Meeting with Gergana Georgieva
To make every day delicious
18:00 h – Meeting with Yordan Slaveikov
“Death sometimes prevails, but love always wins” – about the holiday and the feast of the heart in the prose of Yordan Slaveikov
June 11, 2023, Sunday
Rue de la Digue 24 – 1050 Ixelles
11:00 a.m. – Meeting with Vladimir Zarev
Historicity versus modernity: challenges and responsibilities
2:00 p.m. – Meeting with Momchil Nikolov
Between slow reading and fast literature
4:30 p.m. – Meeting with Maria Kasimova-Moase
Humor, satire and fun on the territory of the Bulgarian-French friendship
The Bulgarian Cultural Association in Belgium (Association Culturelle Bulgareen Belgique – ACBasbl.) was established in the fall of 2017 by Bulgarians living in Belgium. Its mission is to present the multifaceted Bulgarian culture in the heart of Europe – Brussels, enriching it through joint projects with Belgian organizations. Theater performances, concerts and film screenings with Bulgarian artists enjoy a warm reception among our compatriots in Belgium.