Dimitrova, Kristin

Dimitrova, Kristin Print This Post Print This Post

Bio | Synopses | Excerpts | Critical Reviews | Interviews | Contact | Related Links

Biography

The Bulgarian author Kristin Dimitrova, born in 1963 in Sofia, has won five national awards for poetry, three for fiction and one for poetry translation, among others. She graduated in English and American studies from Sofia University, where she now works in the Department of Foreign Languages. Translations of her poems and short stories have been published in anthologies and literary journals in 23 countries. She has been an editor of Art Trud, the weekly supplement for arts and culture of Trud Daily, and a columnist for the Klasa Daily.

Publications

Poetry

  • Jacob’s Thirteenth Child, Svobodno Poetichesko Obshtestvo, Sofia, 1992;
  • A Face Under the Ice, Svobodno Poetichesko Obshtestvo, Sofia, 1997;
  • Closed Figures, Ab Publishers, Sofia, 1998;
  • Faces with Twisted Tongues, Literaturen Forum, Sofia, 1998;
  • Talisman Repairs, PAN Publishing House, Sofia, 2001;
  • Kristin Dimitrova: Selected Poems in Greek, Bulgarian and English, transl. into Greek by Panos Stathoyannis, Soros Center for Arts, Sofia, 2002;
  • The People with the Lanterns, Janet 45, Plovdiv, 2003;
  • A Visit to the Clockmaker, transl. into English by Gregory O’Donoghue, Southword Editions, Cork, Ireland, 2005;
  • The Cardplayer’s Morning, Janet 45, Plovdiv, 2008;
  • My Life in Squares, Smokestack Books, UK, 2010;
  • The Garden of Expectations and the Opposite Door, Colibri Publishers, Sofia, 2012.

Fiction

  • Love and Death under the Crooked Pear Trees, short stories, Obsidian Ltd., Sofia, 2004;
  • Sabazuis, a novel, Ink (Locus Publishing Ltd.), Sofia, 2007; Colibri Publishers, Sofia, 2011.
  • The Secret Way of the Ink, short stories, Obsidian Ltd., Sofia, 2010.

Screenplays

  • The Goat (2006) (Kozelat), written in co-authorship with film director Georgi Dulgerov. The film was released in 2009;
  • Etienne (2007), written in co-authorship with film director Svetla Tsotsorkova based on Dimitrova’s short story of the same name.

Translations Into Bulgarian

  • The Anagram, a selection of John Donne’s poetry, Obsidian Ltd., Sofia, 1999.

Awards

  • 1996: The Trud Daily Award for poetry of the year;
  • 1997: The Vek 21 Literary Weekly Award for A Face under the Ice;
  • 1997: The Gold Metaphor Award from Ab Publishers for A Face under the Ice;
  • 1997: The Ivan Nikolov Award from Janet 45 for A Face under the Ice;
  • 1998: Second Place (for team performance) at the Poetry Olympics in Stockholm, organized by the International Organization of Performing Poets;
  • 2001: Third Place in the Fantasy Short Story Contest by Argus Publishers;
  • 2003: The Trud Daily Award for short story of the year;
  • 2003: The Association of Bulgarian Writers Award for The People with the Lanterns;
  • 2004: The Union of Bulgarian Translators Award for The Anagram;
  • 2006: Ritzar na Knigata (Knight of the Book) – A Bulgarian Book Association Award, given to journalists who actively promote Bulgarian book publishing and literature;
  • 2006: Winner of the novel contest of Ink (Locus Publishing Ltd.) for Sabazius;
  • 2008: Hristo G. Danov, the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture and Municipality of Plovdiv Award (fiction category), for Sabazius.

Shortlisted for:

  • 2004: Helicon Award for Love and Death under the Crooked Pear Trees;
  • 2008: The Ivan Nikolov Award for The Cardplayer’s Morning;
  • 2009: The Canetti Award for Sabazius;
  • 2010: Helicon Award for The Secret Way of the Ink;
  • 2010: Contest for Contemporary Bulgarian Writers for Sabazius.

Translations

Kristin Dimitrova’s short story Black Pages has been included in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Issue #51. Her poems and short stories have been published in Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, The Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Serbia, Poland, Rumania, Sweden, Turkey, UK and USA.

Synopses

Synopsis of the novel Sabazius by Kristin Dimitrova

(The novel is based on two ancient Greek myths, both of Thracian origin: the tales of Sabazius and of Orpheus. Their parallel stories are intertwined in a common plot taking place in present day Bulgaria. Before each chapter a fragment of the original myth, which is about to be tackled, is rendered briefly. The narrative, however, transports the myth in our times, using the symbolism, cast of characters and general outlines of the ancient story. Significant details tie up the threads of “now” and “then”. The synopsis follows the present day account of events.

Sabazius is the Thracian-Phrygian name of Dionysus. According to myth, Sabazius and Orpheus are distant relatives. The two Thracians share still another characteristic: they both experience death, which is uncommon for the Olympic gods in general.)

Orpheus is already in his early thirties, but is still torn between the desire to make a name as a professional musician and the necessity to earn a living. His wife, Eurydice, is an unemployed actress and his father, Apollo, is an important figure of the former Bulgarian literary avant garde. Orpheus is in conflict with him and wants to do things in his own way, but cannot afford to leave his father’s large apartment. Every Friday he plays with his group in a nightclub.

One day Orpheus receives an invitation from a shady relative whom he hasn’t seen for a long time. He has even thought him dead. This is Sabazius, who is five years older than himself and whose name has been generally evaded in family conversations. To Orpheus’ surprise, his relative has moved into a posh office and is doing remarkably well. Sabazius tells Orpheus that a new TV channel is searching for a talk-show host and insistently suggests he take the job.

Orpheus sees the offer as a chance to get out of his father’s financial tutelage, so he accepts it. His independence, however, is bought at a high price. His new job consumes all his time while Eurydice, still without luck at castings, stays alone at home.

Meanwhile Eurydice tries to find out more about this hush-hush relative. The result is a couple of contradictory stories of family guilt, trauma and correction facilities about Sabazius’ birth and childhood. They cannot be both true, but they share skeletons in the cupboard which nobody wants to air.

Gradually Orpheus realizes that the night club he plays in, and which has been keeping him at the threshold of poverty, is owned by his alleged benefactor Sabazius. The TV channel he has started working for is by no means a free territory of the spirit: it is serving a number of undeclared agendas, and is owned by Sabazius too. Behind his easy-going, handsome face, Sabazius has a second one, which is cruel and unforgiving. Rich as Sabazius is, some of his businesses leave a trail of blood behind them. Yet Orpheus finds out that no matter how powerful and unruly Sabazius is, he is controlled by someone else who made him what he is.

Orpheus gets trapped in an underground maze of hidden relationships. His hopes for a better future are gone, his musical career is falling into pieces. Eurydice disappears from his life and he tries to bring her back. Searching for her, he goes once again to Sabazius who seems at equal ease with both the elite and the underworld; he could be responsible for her disappearance or perhaps help. He tells Orpheus about a secret elite gathering where he can get some answers to his questions. Orpheus goes there and searches the crowd but instead of finding Eurydice he finds his father, waiting for a carefully prepared reunion with his prodigal son. Their meeting is a disaster. The gathering gets wild in an ugly kind of way and Orpheus learns more than he ever wanted to know.

Finally Sabazius, who cannot be held in check for long, switches sides and helps Orpheus out, but breaking his former bonds gets him brutally murdered. Orpheus is once again together with Eurydice and tries not to dig into her recent past. But he knows that sooner or later he will turn back for a closer look.

  • Sabazius (2007), a novel
  • Ink (Locus Publishing Ltd.), Sofia.
  • ISBN 978-954-91763-5-3
  • Paperback
  • Format 14/21
  • pages 230

Excerpts

  • Blind Date by Kristin Dimitrova, translated by Kristin Dimitrova
  • Sabazius by Kristin Dimitrova, translated by Kristin Dimitrova

Critical Reviews

Interviews

Contact

Related Links

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.