How is Romanian literature received in Southern Dobruja?

Hristo Boev and Bogdan Boeru (source: Hristo Boev)

Bulgarian translator Hristo Boev’s presentation in Craiova discusses a variety of his translated titles and their promotional events

On 27-28 August 2021, a cross-border and trans-Danube literary festival was held at the Craiova County Library, bringing together intellectuals from Romania and Bulgaria. The Bridge of Friendship blog offers here the transcript of perhaps the only event within the festival that had a Romanian-Bulgarian character. It is the presentation of Hristo Boev – translator of Romanian literature, who offered pictures and stories about his work in recent years. The discourse takes place as photos from Boev’s presentation are changed on the screen in the American corner of the library.

Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Hristo Boev and I would like to present my work as a translator of Romanian literature. I don’t know how many Romanians are here. Okay, so we continue in Romanian. I can do it in other languages, but it seems to be fine in Romanian. If you need a translator to Bulgarian, Viorel already does that. Thank you!

So I’m a translator and professor of English and American literature at the University of Shumen. I translate from English, Bulgarian and Romanian and here I will show you what I have already translated and published. I mean Romanian literature in my translations. I am also an editor and my publishing house is called Nordian. So you can see what the logo looks like. These are the books translated by me but not all of them, not all of them because when the picture was taken it was 2016. But I will mention some of the titles of the books

We have Adela by Garabet Ibrăileanu. Moșenik EOOD is the next title in Bulgarian. So in Romanian it’s Escroc SRL. It’s an amazing novel by C.G. Bălan. Inocenți (the title in Bulgarian is When the world was innocent) by Ioana Pârvulescu. I am the translator of Ioana Pârvulescu i.e. I have translated all three novels she has published. She has published another one which I have not yet translated. 

Defect. A very very good book – a novel written by Florin Irimia. The Russian by Gib Mihăescu. Here we have Adam and Eve by Liviu Rebreanu. 770 is a historical novel by writer Bogdan Boieru who is from Constanta. Here we have Donna Alba also by Gib Mihăescu. Life begins on Friday. It is the famous book by writer Ioana Pârvulescu in Bulgarian in my translation. The Accident by Mihail Sebastian. The Woman by Mihail Sebastian.

Here’s another book. It’s about fishing, It’s the only book that’s not a novel. It’s a translation I did from Bulgarian into Romanian. Here we have another book, The City of Acacia Trees. Also Mikhail Sebastian. The Future Begins Monday which is a sequel to the book Life Begins Friday. Another novel here is Angel Angelus by Ruxandra Cesereanu and here we have two books in one volume, Ioana and A Death That Proves Nothing by Anton Holban.

Here are only some of the books I translated. Most of them are novels. Here I have the latest ones that I have also published. Spider’s Web – Cella Serghi’s novel for the first time in Bulgarian publication. And this monograph with which I hope to finish the presentation. So I established my publishing house in 2018 but before that I worked for other publishing houses and even though I was under no obligation to promote Romanian literature I still did. That means I organized and initiated an event called Romanian Literature Day and this event was held in three cities Dobrich, Shbla and Balchik, because I live in Balchik.

In this event you can see Mr. Bogdan Boeru from Constanta who came for the event. He was very warmly received and the students you see there are from the high school in Dobrich who were involved and have been involved in these events I am talking about. That means that they read passages from my translations and did a little bit of drama there as well.

An important author presence. I think I’ve done some things for the first time. That means that guests like Mr. Bogdan Boeru had not appeared in the media before so he came with my invitation. I translated not only his books and what he had to say there. So he read from the book his favorite passage and I read in my translation this passage. 

This woman is called Magdalena and she works at the Literary Museum in Dobrich. She was so impressed by Bogdan’s book. And she made such a deep analysis that Bogdan and I were simply amazed. Here we are together. The writer and I are amazed at the reader’s perception which means I’ve done my job well, obviously if you get to these depths. Here we see students from Geo Milev High School involved in reading a novel by Ioana Pârvulescu Innocents.

Further… all of City of Acacia Treas, Women and some Passages. I actually offered the passages to the students and the students simply chose what they wanted to read because they liked those passages. Anton Holban is a remarkable author from the interwar period. The novel Ioana aroused more interest because you may know the novel is set in an interwar cottage in Southern Dobruja which makes the novel very very special for Bulgarians.

Some passages in Ioana were dramatized as I said. So we also have a musical intervention which means that some of the students who want to sing something can and do. Also the Museum of Literature in Dobrici. Author Bogdan Boeru signing autographs for readers. Group photo at Balcic where we still did these events. Shabla – what the event looks like there. I did even more than that. This means that I accompanied Mr Bogdan Boeru in the presentation of his book in Braila as well. This was the first time the writer and translator went to the writer’s country to talk about the book.

Bogdan Boeru, me and here is Mr Mihail Vintilă who works for a newspaper in Braila. My car can be seen here. More books also in my translation. The Accident presented by other people who read the book here in the library in Balchik. At the literature nights in Dobrich I did some readings from the books I put in.

Here you see on the screen not very well Mr. C.G.Bălan who is an immigrant in Canada. So because he couldn’t respond to my invitation to physically come to Dobrici, I organized a Facebook conference and you can see him there. He is in Ottawa and so he spoke to the students who were there but you can’t see them because they are here. You can see them now. He spoke to them. They asked some questions that posed something amazing. We did this just before the pandemic and I think it can be found during the pandemic because obviously we can’t all go to the event where we like. We’ve already talked about students.

Now something else: so the book Spider’s Web we translated in 2020 and published it in 2020. It’s a very special book because as you all know maybe the author is of Bulgarian origin. That’s what it says everywhere. From her grandfather who is called Avram Marcu and her name is Cella Markov but after she chose this writing pseudonym, she became Cella Serghi. So I had a very nice event in Mangalia where I was invited by Luiza Cala, who has this gallery in her house and there we talked about Spider’s Web, about the art of leadership and how I decided to translate and so on. So I can answer those questions if you have them. This was done in 2021.

Eventually I also wrote a monograph which is called A Different Dobruja in Bulgarian. In this book you see there I discuss how Southern Dobrogea is represented by Romanians who were here during the time when Southern Dobrogea was part of Romania. Yes, you know, between 1913 and 1940 and you know that this agreement was made  in Craiova to give this territory back to Bulgaria.

So I make some I think an interesting comparison between the Romanian authors who described Dobrogea during the time they were here and Yovkov who is the greatest author of Southern Dobrogea but is of course a Bulgarian author. This book has something scientific in it for sure but I also wrote it in such a way that readers told me it was really very enjoyable and some read it in three days.

I have chosen authors who I think are very important not only for Romanian culture but also for Bulgarian culture and they are great authors. I am talking about authors from the interwar period and the contemporary period. I am doing more not only as a translator but also as a publisher – I promote Romanian literature by publishing some passages from my books on the most visited websites such as Liternet.bg. I don’t know if we have internet here or not. If I click, will it open something? What do you think? Just giving you an idea. Thanks for your attention.  I brought The Spider’s Web in Bulgaria and Another kind of Dobruja in Bulgarian. I sell them for 20 lei and 10 leva so whoever wants can buy them. Thanks again for your attention and if you have any questions I am here.

What projects do you have? What are your plans for translations? 

I have already translated three novels that I am going to publish. The first one is Embers by Liviu Rebreanu, one of two novels – Embers and Both. I will translate both of them. I also have another novel – The Lift by C.G. Bălan the gentleman from Canada. I also have another Romanian novel called The Dead East by Mr. Teodor Hossu-Longin. He works at the ICR in Bucharest, but he is also a writer and plans… I also have plans to continue my activities as a language teacher as a teacher of English and American literature as well as a translator.

Poetry?

Do I translate poetry? Yes I haven’t published anything. But publishing.

I have a manuscript contract with a university professor in Canada on English only. If you’d like you have a Facebook account.

I have an account. Look for me under my name Hristo Boev. You can find me easily.

Read in Romanian language!

Read in Bulgarian language!

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