June 25 | 5:00 pm Letters dedicated to the Front
June 25, 2023
June 25 | 8:00 pm Poetry against the War
June 25, 2023


Reportages from the Rifts of the World

25 June 2023 | 6:00 pm

Great Hall, Sfumato Theatre


➠ Owen Matthews (UK)
➠ Dimiter Kenarov


➠ Biliana Kourtasheva

In English, with simultaneous translation

At 6:00 pm in the Great Hall of the Sfumato Theater will be the central discussion Reportages from the Rifts of the World, devoted to both the genres and the possible narratives of some of the most striking events in our contemporary history.

The British journalist, writer and historian Owen Matthews is coming to Bulgaria specially for this event. He was born in London and his mother is from Kharkiv. Matthews studied Modern History at Oxford before becoming a freelance journalist in Bosnia. In 1997 Owen Matthews became a correspondent for Newsweek magazine and covered the second Chechen war as well as Russian politics and society. Between 2001 and 2006 he lived in Istanbul and covered the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Matthews is a contributor to the BBC, CNN, NBC and many others. Since 2006, he has also run Newsweek magazine in Moscow. His very first book, Stalin's Children: Three Generations of Love, War and Survivor, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Books Award, the Orwell Prize for Political Writing and the French Prix Medicis Etranger. The book has been translated into 20 languages and actually follows the personal stories of three generations of Owen Matthews' family in Russia. Matthews' latest book (Overreach, 2022) is an investigation that looks at the beginning of the war in Ukraine through historical connections, what happened during the Covid-period and Putin's plans, insider information related to the Kremlin and the propaganda machine, reports from Russian and Ukrainian soldiers. The book not only traces the origins of the war, but also how hostilities unfolded in the first six months. The book was shortlisted for the Parliamentary Book Awards. Owen Matthews is also the author of the book An Impeccable Spy: Richard Sorge, Stalin’s Master Agent, which has been translated into Bulgarian and focuses on the life story of one of the Soviet Union's famous spies. Matthews is also the author of novels based on true stories. His books have been translated into more than 28 languages.

Another keynote speaker at the event will be the journalist and poet Dimiter Kenarov, whose book Dictators, Tractors and Other Adventures came out a few days ago. Kenarov studied at the American College in Sofia, and in 2004 he received a bachelor's degree in American and Russian literature from Middlebury College (USA). His thesis on the poetry of W. H. Auden and Joseph Brodsky was awarded three academic prizes. He is a graduate of Middlebury College and Berkeley University. His poems, translations, essays, reports and travelogues have been published in the Bulgarian and foreign press. He is the winner of the annual journalism prize of Virginia Quarterly Review. He has worked as an intern at Literaturnaya Gazeta (Russia) and The Atlantic Monthly (USA). His poetry collection, Journey to the Kitchen, won a special prize in the Southern Spring National Debut Literary Competition. Dimitar Kenarov has lived in the USA for nearly 12 years and has written reports for publications such as The New Yorker, Foreign Policy, Boston Review, etc. He collected some of these reports in the book Dictators, Tractors and Other Adventures. He also translates fiction.

The discussion will be moderated by literary theorist and lecturer Biliana Kourtasheva. She holds a PhD in Theory and History of Literature and is an associate professor at the New Bulgarian University. She is the author of the books On the Edge of Comparison. Yavorov and the Rolling Stones and other not/possible intertexts (2018, nominated for the Hristo G. Danov National Prize) and Anthologies and Canon: Anthological Models of Bulgarian Literature (2012, Southern Spring National Prize for Literary History and Criticism). Bilyana Kurtasheva is the co-founder and editor of the independent literary journal "Vitamin B", and since 2000 has been the editor-in-chief of "Follows", a journal of university culture and humanitarian studies published by the New Bulgarian University.
Literary Talks Summer 2023 is held with the financial support of the National Culture Fund, "Program for the Recovery and Development of Private Cultural Organizations"; Sofia Municipality and the Ministry of Culture.
Literary Talks are organized by the Reading Sofia Foundation. They are realized with the partnership of Sfumato Theater.