PRESENTATION OF IANA BOUKOVA'S
TRAVELING IN THE DIRECTION OF THE SHADOW IN
TRAVELING IN THE DIRECTION OF THE SHADOW
Monday, 18 November 2019, 19:00-21:00
Bulgarian Consulate General, 121 E 62nd St, NY, NY 10065
The event will feature a reading and conversation between the Bulgarian author Iana Boukova and her translator in English Ekaterina Petrova, led by the New Direction's editor Tynan Kogane.
ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS
Iana Boukova is a Bulgarian poet, writer, translator, and essayist. Born in Sofia in 1968, she has a degree in Classics from Sofia University. She is the author of the poetry books Diocletian’s Palaces (1995), Boat in the Eye (2000), and Notes of the Phantom Woman (2018), the short story collections A as in Ànything (2006) and Tales With No Return (2016), and the novel Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow (2014). Her poems and short stories have been translated into Greek, Spanish, French, German, and Arabic, among others. English translations of her texts have appeared in various anthologies and journals, including Best European Fiction 2017, Two Lines, Drunken Boat, Zoland Poetry, Take Five, and Absinthe. Boukova is also the editor and translator into Bulgarian of over ten collections and anthologies of Latin and modern and ancient Greek poetry, including Sappho’s Fragments, the collected poetry of Catullus, and Pindar’s Pythian Odes. She has lived in Athens since 1994, where she is a member of the platform Greek Poetry Now and an editor on the board of FRMK, a biannual journal on poetry, poetics, and visual arts.
Ekaterina Petrova is a literary translator, nonfiction writer, and interpreter. She holds an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Iowa, where she was awarded the Iowa Arts Fellowship and helped edit the Exchanges Journal of Literary Translation. She also holds an MSc in European Politics and Governance from the London School of Economics and a BA in International Studies and German Studies from Macalester College. Currently based in Sofia, Bulgaria, she has spent time living, studying, and/or working in New York, Berlin, Cuba, Northern Ireland, and the south of France. She has been a translator-in-residence at Open Letter Books in Rochester, New York, and at the “Pristina has no river” artists-in-residence program in Prishtina, Kosovo. Her literary translations and nonfiction writing have appeared in various Bulgarian and English-language publications, including EuropeNow, Ninth Letter, Drunken Boat, B O D Y, Vagabond, Dnevnik, Capital Light, Balkan Travellers, One Week in Sofia, and Bulgaria On Air.
Tynan Kogane is an editor at New Directions, an independent book publishing company founded in 1936. He has edited many books of literary and experimental fiction, poetry, and essays, including Mathias Enard’s Compass, Rachel Ingalls’s Mrs. Caliban, Rabee Jaber’s Confessions, Dunya Mikhail's The Beekeeper, Moyra Davey's Index Cards, Fernanda Melchor's Hurricane Season, Natalia Ginzburg's Happiness As Such. He was raised in Seattle and graduated from the New School.
ABOUT THE NOVEL
Iana Boukova’s novel TRAVELING IN THE DIRECTION OF THE SHADOW was originally published in Bulgarian in 2009 (followed by a revised edition in 2014) and has received critical acclaim and several nominations. It has been praised as one of the most innovative, compelling, erudite, idiosyncratic, and ambitious books to emerge out of the contemporary Bulgarian literary scene in recent years. TRAVELING IN THE DIRECTION OF THE SHADOW is a story about storytelling—about stories’ power to mutually attract, to find their path towards each other, and to complete one another. The main characters, whose names serve as titles of the novel’s eight chapters, all have their own complete, cradle-to-grave “biography,” their own hidden, often torturous talent; they have all been marked by fate in their own way. Their lives meet on the thin and changing boundary between chance and purpose, between fiction and reality, where most important things usually happen. The narrator, a foreigner and collector of stories named Jan van Athen (and Iana Boukova’s writerly alter ego) joins the other characters as an equal without privileges: often comical in his insistence on fabricating even the most realistic fact, he is exposed along with all the others in the twists and turns of the narrative. Intellectually, stylistically, and conceptually, Boukova is in conversation with a global community of authors, brought together by translation and including Marguerite Yourcenar, Milorad Pavi?, Gabriel Garc?a M?rquez, Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, Olga Tokarczuk, Virginia Woolf, W. G. Sebald, Thomas Pynchon, Franz Kafka, Clarice Lispector, and Georges Perec, among others.
The US's visit of the author-translator duo is supported by Art Omi, while this specific public event is funded in part by Poets & Writers with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
© 2019, Iana Boukova
Contact e-mail: bukova.iana(at)gmail.com