Billy Collins

Witty, profound, writing without an ounce of pretentiousness, telling the story of the everyday through poetry.

Haruki Murakami

He used to be my teenage love. One of the authors I would read and recommend religiously; one of the names I would create friendships over. The thin veil in his stories between the here/the now and the otherness, the mystery, the life-once-removed fascinates me, although, I must confess, in my 20s I somehow outgrew him (maybe because of the repetitiveness he can be guilty of). I will, however, always be in awe of his knowledge of music and of the way he incorporates jazz, rock, and classical pieces in his novels.

Prof. Tsotcho Boyadzhiev (Цочо Бояджиев)

Philosopher, poet, historian, photographer, translator. A man of great knowledge and great melancholy. He writes about Europe and farewells, and age, about rain and love, and poetry in such a tender, rich, smart way. When I first moved to study abroad — only a laptop and two suitcases in my hands, so conscious of any additional weight to be carried on the flight — it was a book of his that I took with me.

Georgi Rupchev (Георги Рупчев)

It is his sense for the music in the Bulgarian language that made me want to start writing poetry myself. An inspiration, a master to look up to. A man of dark intelligence who passed away too young. It is a pity that it is not easy to find translations of his poems into English.

Erich Kästner

Sometimes I am convinced that the only books that can bear a lasting influence on us are the ones we love as children; for it is in childhood that we have the time and the hunger to re-read the same stories again and again. It is by the amount of times I would re-read a book that I used to define which are my favourite stories. Although the list is long, Kästner stands out at the moment for his wisdom, sweetness and humour, and the romantic image of a Europe my generation hasn’t known.

Teodora Lalova is Bulgarian and currently lives in Brussels (Belgium). She is a doctoral researcher at KU Leuven and is interested in precision medicine, clinical research, and data protection.

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