Reading Sofia Foundation

Literary Talks June is the first edition of the new series of events produced by the Reading Sofia Foundation. 

Literary Talks will be held several times a year with different guests, different themes and in various formats. The Literary Talks in June take place at 10 June and 11 June at RCCA "Toplocentrala".

The honorary guest this year is Olga Tokarczuk, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature for 2018. Highlights of the program include: awarding honorary doctorate by the Sofia University to Olga Tokarczuk, a conversation with Bulgarian readers and the writer Georgi Gospodinov, and a seven-hours long festival of pop-up literary and music events, conversations and encounters with literature in the spaces of the Center for Contemporary Arts "Toplocentrala". The visual environment of the space is created by Sapromat.


June 10, 2022 | 11:00 - 12:00

Ceremony of awarding the honorary title "Doctor Honoris Causa" of Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski” to Olga Tokarczuk (Poland)

Venue: Aula of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski ”

Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 am

Free admission

photo - Jacek Kołodziejski

photo Olga Tokarczuk - Jacek Kołodziejski; photo Georgi Gospodinov - Dirk Skiba

June 10, 2022 | 19:00 - 21:00

Olga Tokarczuk (Poland) and Georgi Gospodinov (Bulgaria): a conversation

Q and A with the audience

Moderator: Dimiter Kenarov

Venue: Regional Center for Contemprary Arts “Toplocentrala”, Hall 1

Time: 19:00 - 21:00

Free admission


Languages: Polish and Bulgarian with simultenious interpreting. 

Please, arrive at the venue 30 minutes in advance to recieve headphones.

June 11, 2022 | 18:00 - 01:00

Literary (and other) talks

Visual environment: Sаpromat

Venue: Regional Center for Contemprary Arts “Toplocentrala” 

Entry: BGN 15

18:00 18:30 - Welcome drink

Bookstore // Lobby, floor 1

Literary translation hub // Sofia Literature and Translation House // Lobby, floor 1

We pay tribute to Olga Tokarczuk's translators in Bulgarian and in other languages in an interactive space dedicated to the art of literary translation.

See all the editions of Tokarczuk’s books in Bulgarian dating back to 2005, have an informal conversation with literary translators, take part in translation experiments for non-professionals and listen to Tokarczuk’s translators from all over the world.

Relax area with furniture "Videnov" // Lobby, floor 1 and Terrace

Literary Rubik's Cube // Open Theater

An interactive installation in which the audience must discover the sentence of the cube or "arrange" their thought, even a verse, from the words of the different cubes.

"Bookmarks" // project by Maria Nalbantova // Lobby, floor 2

Opportunity to meet the artist between 18:00 and 19:00.

Illustrations and covers of Olga Tokarczuk's books // exhibition of Tanya Mincheva // Hall 4, floor 2

Opportunity to meet the artist between 18:00 and 19:00.

 Literary bar // floor 2

 The Wardrobe // Hall 2

Based on the idea by Mariy Rosen

Visual environment: Sаpromat

Composer: Martin Karov

An interactive installation based on the short story of the same name by Olga Tokarczuk, which is activated by the involvement of the visitors themselves.

18:30 - 20:00 // Terrace

Beyond. On the Boundaries of Arts

Discussion with the participation of Olga Tokarczuk

Moderator: Kamelia Spassova

Participants: Alexander Popov, Boyan Manchev, Vladiya Mihailova


As part of Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk’s visit to “Literary Talks June”, we will place her

work in the broad framework of translation and the transition between the arts. Tokarczuk’s novels, short stories and critical essays are not afraid to think of contemporaneity with its

critical zones, as well as to find a language, delicate and plastic, with which to name our

traumas and anxieties, our complaints and desires.

The starting point of the conversation with Olga Tokarczuk, the philosopher Boyan Manchev, the art historian Vladiya Mihaylova and the computer linguist Alexander Popov is the question of the internal and external boundaries of the arts. What can a novel, a poem, a painting, a photograph, a theatrical performance, a film, a dance tell us? But that means wondering what a certain artwork cannot capture? Could the internal limits of literature be overcome by a leap to another art form, and what is the nature of this leap: translation, metamorphosis or ekphrasis? Where are the external boundaries of the arts outlined and when does the transition to other realms of philosophy, science, political debate or the virtual realm of social networks, happen? What are the spaces of the different art forms – libraries, museums, galleries, theaters, cinemas? And do we have the social imagination to invent new places?

How are the means of one art used in another art form? How do scientific facts become the

basis of works of art, but also how has science fiction already invented the world in which we live together with the scenarios of what is to come.

Ultimately, the works gravitate around an invisible field in which they want to name what is

unparalleled, unrepresentable and unimaginable. Clearly, we wonder where this “beyond” borders is located.

20:20 - 20:40 // Terrace

Literary reading

Dimiter Kenarov, Yordanka Beleva, Nadezhda Radulova

20:50 - 21:50 // Terrace, Hall 1

"Tales of the Bizarre" // theatre performance

Director: Mariy Rosen

Visual environment: Sаpromat

Sound environment: Martin Karov

Actors: Jana Rasheva and Alexander Mitrev


Three stories from "Tales of the Bizarre" by Olga Tokarczuk are the basis of a theatrical performance, conceived by the director Marie Rosen and set designers from the creative team "Sapromat" - Mihaela Dobreva and Boris Dalchev. The author of the sound environment is the composer Martin Karov.

The actors Jana Rasheva and Alexander Mitrev, as two panoptic narrators, will take the audience through the worlds of the three short stories. Following the passage through their strange lands, three installations will be left, with which the spectators will be able to interact after the end of the performance. “The Wardrobe” installation will function independently, as a world closed in itself. Based on a story from another collection by Olga Tokarczuk, it will be activated by the curiosity and active involvement of the visitors themselves.

My meeting with Olga Tokarchuk was intense. I read her books one after the other without mixing them with other literature. My desire was to be immersed in her, as far as my capacity allowed. To feel her densely and sensually, and only then to choose which parts of what I had read would be used to build a theatrical world. My goal is not to create something comprehensive, but on the contrary, to leave the door half open, just to peek inside and thus arouse interest in the rest, which is not included ... To unlock the strange world of the writer, and anyone who feels like a traveler is welcome to open the door and enter. ”

Mariy Rosen

22:00 - 23:00 // Hall 4, floor 2

Speed meetings – dating????

Personal time with writers, translators and scientists in a short conversation on a topic of their choice.(With pre-enrolment)

Bogomil Peshev (neurobiologist): Aromas: Modulators of Human Memory and Emotions


Vladimir Poleganov (writer and translator): To the Other through Literature: Rethinking People's Attitude Towards Animals and our Place in the World


Mihaela Beluhova (hydrobiologist): Bacteria as an Analogue of Human Societies


Nasko Stamenov (chemist and teacher): The death of the Nerd: Is There a Place for Encyclopedists in the Modern World?


Spas Kerimov (entrepreneur in the biotechnology sector): Assortment of Immortalities


Stefan Ivanov (poet and translator): Below the Surface: The Need for a Dialogue about Memory


Stefan Rusinov (translator): "God of synthesis, god with a sense of humor, god prone to lies and deception": About Mastering, Flattering and Cheating in Translation

22:15 - 22:45 // Open Theater

Literary reading

Albena Todorova, VBV, Momchil Milanov, Natalia Ivanova

23:00 - 23:20 // Hall 2

Poetic video triptych "Another Light"

Artists and video processing: Ralitsa Toneva and Spartak Yordanov

Poetry by Ilko Dimitrov, Radoslav Chichev, Tsveta Sofronieva

Actors: Elena Dimitrova, Tsvetan Alexiev, Juliana Saiska

Music and sound processing: Lubomir Brashnenkov and Angel Dodov


"Another Light" is a video triptych on contemporary Bulgarian poetry. This small three-part screening brings together the work of artists working in literature, visual arts and music.

The three video miniatures include poems by the poets Radoslav Chichev, Ilko Dimitrov and Tsveta Sofronieva with the voices of actors Elena Dimitrova, Tsvetan Alexiev and Juliana Saiska and the music of Lyubomir Brashnenkov and Angel Dodov. The videos were shot entirely analogue, by means of  a specific author technique based on "painting under camera", which artists Ralitsa Toneva and Spartak Yordanov have developed over the years, experimenting under camera with liquids, pigments, substances and various materials.


The arts involved in the triptych function simultaneously and equally. It is equally true that “Another Light” is a work of literary art, painting, or audio-visual forms. The triptych works with the associative movements between text, sound and image in words, rhythm, voice, timbre, substance, color and composition. Light is a building block of the abstract composition, as well as a leading thread in poetry.

23:30 – 23:50 // Bar-stage, floor 2

Literary reading

Joanna Elmy, Lilia Trifonova, Martin K. Iliev

00:00 – 01:00 // Bar-stage, floor 2

Closing party with DJ Clipper from Disco Comrades


Organised by
With the financial support of
Programme partners:
Media partners:
Visual Identity: Studio Frank