Daithidh: The work that is best known outside Bulgaria is your shorter fiction. The short story is said to be in crisis at least as far as the English speaking world is concerned. What then draws you to writing and translating short stories?

Zdravka: The short story is a concentrated sort of fiction. It gives one the chance to present a glimpse of life¬† – that can be of unique beauty or cruelty – which in a novel might lose a part of their meaning in the broader picture.¬† On the other hand, it is much easier to translate into English a short story than a novel. In fact, the short story is ‘the reconnaissance vehicle’ that shows how a culture responds to another culture.

Daithidh: In your lifetime, you have experienced deep political change, what impact has this had on your work, in particular, do you feel that you have a duty to bear witness to this change? In short, what are your responsibilities, if any, to your society as a writer?

Zdravka: In Bulgaria we witnessed a radical change and we are beginning to feel the responsibilities of democracy. It is inevitable that I bear witness to this change and as a writer, I think it is my duty to help people around me endure. Maybe that radical change gives us a unique chance to describe society in a state of flux ‚Äď to track our response, to weigh our reactions of fear, anticipation, adaptation to the new conditions.¬†I have yet to learn to appreciate democracy. For me, it is the best medicine after 45 years of authoritarian regime. I hope that I could capture the most important moments of my people‚Äôs painful recuperation. I hope to be able in my small way to contribute to that¬† difficult process of Bulgarian recuperation.

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