Theodora Dimova received the NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ Prize for Novel of the Year

Prof. Boyan Biolchev presented the prize for the third time as chairman of the distinguished jury

Text: Magdalena Gigova

Video: Tsvetan Ignatovski

At a limited-attendance ceremony held in the Prof. Vasil Gerov Hall, at the headquarters of NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’, Theodora Dimova officially became the holder of the ‘Novel of the Year’ Prize. The extended quarantine required that only three people were present: the Fund’s Executive Director, Slava Ivanova, the author of the novel, ‘The Stricken’, and the chairman of the jury, Prof. Boyan Biolchev. Plus, the silent witness, cameraman Tsvetan Ignatovski, who documented the event on video.

Theodora Dimova, as the ninth winner of the most prestigious literary prize in Bulgaria, emphasised that this type of ‘pandemic’ award ceremony matched the rending subject matter of her work.

Prof. Boyan Biolchev said that he was, for the third time, chairman of the jury. Over the years, he had presented the ‘Novel of the Year’ diploma to Georgi Gospodinov for ‘The Physics of Sorrow’, to Momchil Nikolov for ‘The Last Territory’ (the author was nominated this year for his novel, ‘Chekmo’). He added that, in previous contests, the jury had had to read 70 epic works. This year, there were only 30, but extremely fiercely competitive, given the excellent quality of the literature offered.

Slava Ivanova noted that this gives special weight to ‘The Stricken’, ‘a novel-wound’ that had worthily ‘struck’ the jury.

In addition to its moral worth, ‘Novel of the Year’ has a high pecuniary value: the prize of BGN 11,000 allows the winner to dedicate themselves entirely to writing for months.

You can watch a full recording of the ceremony in this video.

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