CULTURE

TRIGGER CUT. THREE ACTS FROM A LIFE, A short story

1.

One evening, two weeks before loan sharks would chase him away into the unknowable depths of Indonesia, Frankie's father sat and sighed at the dinner table. It was the round marble table with a Lazy Susan, stained with sesame and chili oil-spills.

"What's wrong?" Frankie asked, doubled over, hands above his knees. He was breathless and sweaty from running up and down the alleyway, chasing the fat brown dog with the lolling tongue.

Frankie's father sat frowning at his left palm.

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THE COMPUTER PROGRAMMER, An excerpt from a novel

The number of clients I had was growing, and so were my apprehensions about how I was going to manage.

"Hello," the Computer Programmer said and took off his jacket, which looked like an oversized piece of kids' clothing. His red boxers were peeking out over the belt of his jeans. "I've come to you with a specific question."

I felt a sudden urge to explain what a psychotherapist's job was, and that he was neither a fortune-teller nor a TV game show contestant, which is why he couldn't be expected to give answers that were either right or wrong.

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RISE UP SINGING, An excerpt from a novel

You do get hot summers in Bolton and we had one that year, for weeks on end as I remember it, although it may just have been a fortnight or so. This was a Friday so we had double English that afternoon with Mr Howard. Lisa and Claire had both had a full tab, but Janey and I had just taken half each.

"Who or what do you think is causing the friction here between Jane and Elizabeth?" asked Mr Howard. His hair was aglow and the walls pulsed gently.

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NIKOLAY CHAPKANOV

Kukerlandia, the annual exhibition of photography of Kukeri, or mummers, has been taking place in Yambol, southeastern Bulgaria, for the past 10 years. Since its very beginning, Vagabond, Bulgaria's English Magazine, has been a partner to it, giving a special prize to a photographer who excels in photographing what we think is a very interesting Bulgarian folk tradition.

This year the winner of Vagabond's Special Prize is Nikolay Chapkanov, a Sofia photographer, who, in addition to mummers, likes to shoot thunders and airplanes.

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LITTLE ESCAPES, A short story

He is a completely normal guy. Every week, he reads his horoscope, but it's usually wrong. Most times it says that no major catastrophes, long journeys, love affairs or problems at work await him. In many respects he is completely normal. No nightmares plague him, his wife doesn't cheat on him, his kids are pretty good.

But as a matter of fact, magnetic storms and solar flares sometimes affect him.

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THE KNIFE, An excerpt from the novel You Belong Here

Mum says I have the memory of an elephant. That Jay got the brains, Emily, the beauty, and me, I never forget.

I remember sixth grade: Blair Cavaney, year five toff kicking Johnny in the nuts, not once, but twice because he looked 'weird.' Walker and me, suspended for a week because we pushed him up against the dental shed. Told him that you never kick anyone in the nuts. That if he did it again, we'd kick his head in.

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RAT, A short story

Jacques loved his home town. And why wouldn't he – Paris was the most beautiful city in the world. Everybody loved Paris, people came in throngs. Tourists prowled every nook and cranny. It had long ago become impossible to take a stroll around the Latin Quarter, by the Eiffel Tower, or down the small, picturesque streets of Le Marais. Not to mention Montmartre or the Champs-Élysées.

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TOTI BADZHAKOV

This year's 11th salon will open in the Yambol City Gallery in March, 2015.

Born in 1986 and still looking for his true self, Yambol photographer Toti Badzhakov is young and healthy. Everyone may be young and healthy, but then everyone can fall ill, which is what happened to Toti last year when he had to spend a week laid up in hospital.

There, he found a new subject for his photography, the atmosphere of Bulgarian hospitals outside the capital Sofia – a subject rarely if ever touched upon by Bulgarian photographers.

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TOP 100: VAGABOND FICTION

The first to feature was Kapka Kassabova, the Bulgarian-born author living in Scotland, and Street Without a Name, her brilliant memoir for childhood under Socialism and revisiting modern Bulgaria.Since its first issue, Vagabond has been the only media introducing contemporary Bulgarian literature and writers to English-speaking audience.

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VAGABOND READS

In 2008 we published East of Constantinople/Travels in Unknown Turkey, a travelogue about some of the highlights of one of Europe's most amazing countries. From the Iranian border and what some still think is the remnants of Noah's Ark to places like Mount Nemrut, Şanlıurfa, Cappadocia and Trabzon, we transversed eastern Turkey several times over to be able to come up with a product that still captures the imagination of thousands of readers. In Bulgarian only.

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