Review of The Descent of the Lyre in Bulgarian

I’m delighted to have a review of The Descent of the Lyre / Произходът на лирата in the Bulgarian publication Kultura (Култура), written by the wonderful novelist and translator Angel Igov. The review, which is only available in Bulgarian, is very thoughtful and considered  (though given my poor Bulgarian, I’m relying mainly on the powers of Google translate!), and deals with both the English and Bulgarian versions, as well as with some of the interesting slippages that have taken place between the two.

Read the interview here.

Extract in Dnevnik

There’s an extract from the Bulgarian translation of my novel, The Descent of the Lyre, or (in Bulgarian) “Произходът на лирата”, on the website of today’s Dnevnik newspaper in Bulgaria. If you want to know how the book reads in Bulgarian, then go to the link here. I’ll be following the comments with interest, but feel inordinately pleased with the person who said that I’m clearly not British because the book is, you know, poetic and stuff like that…

Press Clippings from Bulgaria

I’ve been sent a few media clippings from the recent launch of Произходът на лирата (The Descent of the Lyre) in Bulgaria, so I thought I’d upload them here. You can click the tabs below, and download the articles as PDF files.

An interview with Presa/Преса, published on 16th April 2014.




A write-up in Weekend/Уикенд, 5th-11th April 2014.




And finally a brief feature in Monitor/Монитор from 5th April, 2014.



Interviews, Meetings and Plans

Today I catch the flight back to Manchester, and then head home to Leicester. The last couple of weeks in Bulgaria have been busy. At the last count, in the last ten days or so, I’ve done two book launches, one creative writing workshop, one school visit, one literary and cultural evening, two radio interviews, one TV interview, and five or so more media interviews. In addition, it has been an absolute delight to meet up with so many old and new friends, and to have all kinds of meetings making plans for future projects and collaborations.

I’m hoping to be back in Bulgaria before long. But until then, here’s my interview on Bulgarian National TV where — thanks to the miracle of dubbing — I’m miraculously fluent.

A Blog Post about Hospitality, Books and Big Sticks

In the town of Omurtag, Hasan the geographer welcomed me with a story about the perils of refusing hospitality. Hasan is a vigorous man in his late forties, and he is locally famous for his fierce home-made rakia (although, being a Muslim, he doesn’t drink any of it himself). He has about him an air of restless intellectual curiosity. He is an Esperanto speaker, an expert on the history of local place names, a respected scholar, a translator, and a compiler of collections of folk tales. Read more

Photo Gallery from Sofia Launch

Photographs from the Sofia launch of The Descent of the Lyre in Bulgarian translation, Произходът на лирата on 8th April 2014.

Thanks to all the photographers, and to everybody involved! It was a great evening.

Back in Sofia, Seven Years On

It’s been a quiet morning here in Sofia. The coffee pot is bubbling away on the little electric stove-top, outside there are sparrows cheeping busily, and I’ve got the entire guest-house to myself. The last time I stayed here was in 2007. Back then, the guest-house was busy: there was an alarmingly fierce six-and-a-half foot actor who strode around in his underpants, and who was apparently playing the part of a mafia hoodlum in a TV drama; there was my Russian guitarist friend (and lover of P.G. Wodehouse) Dmitri — who I last spoke to online a few weeks ago, who has more recently taken up the harp, and who played me O’Carolan tunes via Skype all the way from Nizhny Novgrod; and there was a serious German sociologist who spoke excellent Bulgarian, and who was carrying out research on corruption amongst the political classes. It was a heady mix. But now it is low season here in Sofia and the guest house has only recently reopened after a few months closed for business over the winter — so at the moment I’m the only person here. Read more


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