Sozopol Fiction Seminar 2010

Before heading off to Bulgaria to participate in the special translation panels at this year’s Sozopol Fiction Seminars, I knew next to nothing about Sozopol. I knew that we had to fly in Sofia and take a bus for something like eternity 8 hours to get to Sozopol and the Black Sea. From Wikipedia I found out that Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Goldfrapp (?!) have been spotted there.

To be honest, I didn’t even realize that Bulgaria — which is part of the EU — doesn’t use Euros.

What I know now: Sozopol is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The beach is pristine, the water unbelievable, the weather spectacular, the food delicious. Even the Art Gallery where all the Seminar events take place is wonderful and charming. And the people! Not just the people involved with the Workshop itself—and Elizabeth Kosotova and Milena Deleva deserve a very special, very public shout-out for their generosity and overall brilliance—but the three sisters that ran the Hotel Diamanti where we stayed were also amazing, as were all of the other locals we met during the Seminars.

My main point with this post is that any and all eligible fiction writers should apply for this. The American writers that I spent the most time with — Carin Clevidence, Charles Conley, Kelly Luce and Paul Vidich — absolutely loved the morning workshop sessions, and the afternoon translation panels were always quite interesting. The evening lectures — from Alex Miller and Kristin Dimitrova — were really fascinating, as was the reading by all ten of the American and Bulgarian fellows. And I haven’t laughed as hard in months as I did during the evening informal bonding sessions that took place over a seemingly limitless amount of wine . . .

Definitely apply for this.

There were a number of interesting outcomes from this, starting with the Contemporary Bulgarian Writers website, but that totally deserves its own post . . .

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