The ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Endowment Fund intends to put up a plaque in memory of Prof. Vera Gancheva at the entrance to the home where she lived on Oborishte Street. The lady, who departed this world on 10 June 2020, has left a lasting mark on Bulgarian literature and publishing. She is especially famous for her translations of ‘Pippi Longstocking’ (the first from Astrid Lindgren’s original), as well as of works by great Scandinavian writers including August Strindberg, Knut Hamsun, Johan Borgen, Rolf Jacobsen, Olav H. Hauge, Tarjei Vesaas, Artur Lundqvist, Tomas Tranströmer, Lars Gustafsson, and P.O. Enquist.
As the daughter of Lalyu Ganchev, a well-known cultural and political figure and a long-time Ambassador to Sweden, Vera had the opportunity of studying at Stockholm University after graduating in Slavic Philology from Sofia University.
On her return to Bulgaria, she began work as a reporter at the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA), before reaching the positions of editor-in-chief of its weekly magazine for literature, arts and culture (LIK), deputy editor-in-chief of Otechestvo magazine, Director of the Sts Cyril and Methodius National Library, and founder and manager of Hemus Publishers.
At Sofia University, she headed the Scandinavian Studies Department, where she taught until her death.
In addition to her numerous Bulgarian distinctions, Vera Gancheva received the awards of the Swedish Academy (1983, 2001, 2013) and the Swedish Writers’ Union (1994). She was also a holder of the Danish Royal Order of the Knight’s Cross of the Danebrog (2002), the Swedish Royal Order of the Polar Star First Degree (2007), the Norwegian Royal Order of Merit to Norway 1st Class (2012), and the International Prize in the name of H.C. Andersen for her translation of Pippi.
Vera Gancheva’s love for Sweden was further expressed in the idea of bequeathing her apartment to the Swedish Academy of Sciences. The institution in Stockholm declined the offer. According to the will of the famous translator, her generous gesture was redirected to the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Endowment Fund.
Her confidence that her will would be observed and respected came from the fact that years ago, as the widow of the poet Vladimir Bashev, who died in an accident, she and his mother Katya Basheva donated his apartment to NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ as a literary office and house museum of the National Literature Museum. The house keeps the memory of the poet alive, exists through the poems of young creative people and, with the support of NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’, presents the Vladimir Bashev National Literary Prize for Poetry.
As an act of gratitude for the donation and a tribute to the memory of the great translator, the Fund is planning to put up a memorial plaque at the entrance to her home on Oborishte Street. Incidentally, the apartment was also once home to her famous family: her father, Lalyu Ganchev, and her sister, Vasa Gancheva.
NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ is convinced that the initiative will meet with a positive responsive and encouragement from Sofia Municipality and the building’s residents.