Don’t wait to be discovered by the outside world. Interact with it instead, says young Bulgarian author and poet Nadya Radulova
Issue 13, October 2007
by Ani Ivanova; photography by Dragomir Ushev
Nadya Radulova is a writer who refuses to indulge in the normal complaints of Bulgarian artists. She even inverts traditional grievances, claiming that hardship and a peripheral existence lead to better work.
VAGABOND spoke to Nadya as she was about to leave for London to attend the premiere of A Balkan Exchange, an anthology in which four British poets – Andy Croft, Mark Robinson, Linda France and W. N. Herbert – collaborated with and translated the works of four rising Bulgarian poets – Kristin Dimitrova, Georgi Gospodinov, Vasil Vidinski and Nadya herself. The cross-fertilisation proved fruitful, inspiring both groups to produce new material.
Nadya's involvement in the aforementioned cross-cultural project resulted in another invitation. She and fellow Bulgarian author Georgi Gospodinov were asked by New Writing North, a creative development agency in the northeast of England, to contribute to So, What Kept You?: New Stories Inspired by Anton Chekhov and Raymond Carver. The two feature alongside 12 contemporary writers from the UK, the United States and Eastern Europe. VAGABOND publishes Nadya's work – inspired by a quote from Carver, on the following pages.
Nadya has degrees in Bulgarian and English philology from Sofia University, a degree in Gender Studies from a joint programme of Budapest's Central European University and London's Open University, as well as a PhD in literary modernism. She received the Emerging Author National Literature Award in 2001, has published three books of poems and is a prominent contributor to literary magazines and newspapers. She works as a translator and editor with the altera monthly, travels extensively and yet still finds time for her own artistic endeavours. “I simply like working with language, regardless of its manifestation,” she says unhesitatingly.
You are active in quite a few fields. Which one do you use to describe yourself?
I tend to say I'm an editor and translator because this is what occupies most of my time. When my books of poetry and short stories are published next year, I'll probably identify myself more with the writer's role. As for my academic pursuits, I've now paused for a while.
70 years ago, on 10 March 1943, Bulgaria's pro-Nazi government decided to defy Berlin and halt the deportation of Bulgaria's 50.000 Jews. This was down to the actions of one man - Dimitar Peshev. Just two years later he faced Communist justice and found himself on trial for his life. His niece Kaluda Kiradjieva remembers