zdravkaTen Questions Eastwards — Daithidh MacEochaidh talks to Bulgarian writer Zdravka Evtimova about her writing, translation and political change.

Daithidh: As a writer what are your fundamental concerns? Fundamental concerns, may be too loaded a phrase, food in your belly, a roof over your head, these are fundamental; yet, something beneath the pomposity of the question remains: when you put words down on the page,what do you fundamentally wish to achieve?

Zdravka: Yes, I do care about the roof over my head, about food, but when I put words down on the page I want to make people who read them unable to forget it for a long time.  The words give me a chance to open a door for people of other cultures and let them come and sense life in Bulgaria – the only life I know.  Words prove that all people no matter where they live have something in common – strife after justice, freedom, understanding and love. Sometimes words are the only path to justice.

Daithidh: You have work published both in Bulgarian and English, are your translated writings just that or are they, in a sense, a re-write for a different market, audience and culture?

Zdravka: My translated writings are not a re-write for a different market. I understand that there are certain situations when I have to explain what I mean, sometimes I shorten the Slavic names for they are very difficult to pronounce; that however happens quite rarely and in these cases I try to keep the first four or five letters of the name, so that  a Bulgarian reader who lives anywhere in the world can guess what the real name of the character or of the town is. Bulgaria is a small country, there are 7 million Bulgarians. Bulgarian writers have never been rich; they cannot give their countrymen money, but they can give them truth.  In thirteen hundred years of Bulgarian history, truth meant courage to speak it, to stand up for it and to die for it. In the 1300 years of  Bulgarian history truth was Bulgarian survival.

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