It was almost seven years ago that I was last in Bulgaria for two months of research towards my novel, The Descent of the Lyre. Back then, I spent two months travelling around the mountains with my guitar, funded by a grant from Arts Council England, drinking brandy with pensioners, visiting small provincial museums and hillside churches, collecting stories. And now, seven years on, I’m heading back for the launch of the Bulgarian edition of the book.
Here’s the rather handsome cover of the book in Bulgarian, published by the excellent Enthusiast.
It is going to be good to be back, and wonderful to be launching Enthusiast’s handsome edition at two events. I’m in Sofia on the 8th April for a book launch at the Greenwich Book Center, and in Varna on the 12th April for a launch at the Ciela Bookstore. In between, I’m also doing a few other events here and there, including a workshop (12th April) and a reading (10th April) for the Lecti Center in Varna (find out more about all these events on their website), who have been amazingly and wonderfully supportive.
I am not, of course, Bulgarian; and although I spoke some rough-and-ready Bulgarian back in 2007, I fear that most of this has been lost under the encroaching tide of my feverish Mandarin-learning over the past few years. And being an outsider with an only rudimentary grasp of the language, it is always perilous to write about other people’s histories. So when I first set out to write this book, I had two ambitions: firstly I wanted to write a book that would do quietly well back at home in the UK; and secondly I wanted to write a book that, whatever its shortcomings, would also be authentic and well-researched enough to manage to work in translation into Bulgarian. On both counts, I am very happy with how things have turned out. And I feel honoured and somewhat humbled that this most hospitable of nations has found a home for a Bulgarian language edition of the book.
I’ll be blogging from Bulgaria about my travels and my somewhat hectic schedule over there — I head out on the 5th April and will be back home on the 18th — so do keep checking back for updates on this blog.