In 2023, 125 years have passed since the birth of Yani Kaliakrenski – a writer, journalist and public figure, who completely connected his life with the Dobruja region and advocate for a free Dobruja.
One of the writer’s contemporaries – Pecho Gospodinov – writes about his creative faith: “This devoted service of his to Dobruja gives his stories and sketches something of the atmosphere of the great spiritual leaders during the Renaissance. He does not have time like them to dwell on topics and polish his language – his purpose far exceeds these purely formal questions. He knows that he must be persuasive, touch and ignite hearts – and this gives his creative activity a special charm.”
On this anniversary occasion, with the support of Kavarna Municipality, Dora Gabe Regional Library – Dobrich and patriotic Bulgarians, the collection of short stories “The Unknowns” by Yani Kaliakrenski was published.
The fate of Yanni Kaliakrenski’s unpublished book during his lifetime is interesting. In July 1944, the regional inspector of the Directorate of Propaganda in Shumen, Todor P. Bozhinov, gave permission to print the collection of short stories “The Unknowns”, written in 1943, evident from the title page. The political events that broke out and the death of the author lead to his oblivion. Today, eight decades later, it has been promulgated. The collection – an apotheosis of the liberation of Dobruja, a filial tribute to the memory of all those nameless heroes, drivers of the time in which the freedom of Dobruja dawned, includes the stories: “Idat”, “Seten Blyan”, “We were two”, “The Flag” , “Comrades”, “The Girl from Northern Dobrudja” and “The Old Dobruja Man”.
This is the fourth book to be published in the continuation of Kaliakrenski’s social and literary rehabilitation, after his collection of short stories “Dobrudzhanci” (2020), his short story “Drought” (2021) and the collection of short stories “The Laughter of Dobruja” (2022 ).
The publication has a foreword by the Bulgarian philologist and university teacher Prof. Dr. Margarita Terzieva from the University “Prof. Dr. Asen Zlatarov” in Burgas, who shares: “The book “The Unknowns”, which brings together short, emotionally saturated narratives about the fate of the people of Southern Dobruja in the 1930s and early 1940s, helps the reader to discover direct announcements of important events for Bulgarians from this region. (…) How Bulgarian families, old people and school-age teenagers react to these events – this is the main theme of the individual narratives. They talk about the domestic and social problems of the characters, but they remain in the background. The implication is unequivocal – freedom is the important, the imperishable; it dominates everything transitory and unimportant. (…) The events in his stories included in the book “The Unknowns” are related to the main change in the lives of the Bulgarians from Southern Dobrudja – the feeling of the restoration of the Bulgarian identity lost during the Romanian occupation in 1940. All the retrospectives – about the battles during the Balkan, Inter-Allied and First World War, about heroism and the national pogrom, about the preservation of Bulgarianness, about the resistance against spiritual assimilation – only emphasize the significance of the decisions of the Kraiovo Agreement. It becomes not only a territorial but also a moral imperative.”
The magnificent illustrations for the collection are once again the work of our famous artist and caricaturist Lubomir Mihailov.
The idea, composition and publishing are the work of Atanas Dimitrov – AtaDim.
The edition is a modernized version, in accordance with the requirements of modern Bulgarian spelling, of the unpublished manuscript from 1943 by Kaliakrenski, a copy of which was kindly provided by the Regional Library “Dora Gabe” – Dobrich.
Copies of the book will be provided free of charge to all community centers in Southern Dobrudja, especially in the Dobrich and Silistra regions. Also to all regional libraries in the country, as was done the last three years with the collection of stories “Dobrudzhanci”, the short story “Drought” and the collection of stories “The Laughter of Dobrudja”.
“The Unknowns” is about to be presented in November of this year. in three Dobruja cities – Kavarna, Balchik and Dobrich.
November 8 | Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. in the “Hristo Gradechliev” Art Gallery – Kavarna
November 9 | Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Art Gallery – Balchik
November 10 | Friday from 5:30 p.m. in the “Dora Gabe” Regional Library – Dobrich