Dozens of diplomats, entrepreneurs, expats and people with an interest in Bulgaria braved America's East Coast January snow storms and sub-zero temperatures to attend the presentations of A Shadow Journey: A Guide to Elizabeth Kostova's Bulgaria and Eastern Europe in New York City and Washington DC.

shadow journey launch washington DC.jpg

The book is one of the latest publications by the Free Speech International Foundation. It covers the real-life locations and explains the backgrounds and the details embedded in Kostova's bestselling novels, The Historian and The Shadow Land, an informed and entertaining guidebook for anyone who will become interested in Bulgaria and its people and history after experiencing their fictionalised versions.

Elizabeth Kostova was a part of the event, answering questions on her creative process, her connection to Bulgaria and the real-life inspiration for her novels. Though directly inspired by Kostova's novels, A Shadow Journey is a lot more than just a literary travel guide as it covers many areas of life in Bulgaria such as Bulgarian cuisine, folk as opposed to Chalga music, Bulgaria's rusting public monuments, the remains of Communist-era labour camps, the Orthodox churches and monasteries and what they stand for, Bulgaria's infatuation with Rakiya and its inimitable way of giving directions to strangers.

Shadow journey

Authors Anthony Georgieff, Dimana Trankova and Elizabeth Kostova

Travelling through real-life landscapes often surpasses literature, which is particularly relevant in the case of Bulgaria that from an US perspective remains one of the least known locations in Europe.

The events in the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington DC and the Bulgarian Consulate General in New York City were attended also by people with long-standing links to Bulgaria, like the American Ambassador to Bulgaria Eric Rubin, former American Ambassador John Beyrle, and members of the Board of Directors of the America for Bulgaria Foundation Gail Buyske, Gary MacDougal, Lynn Daft and their families.

The book is in the better bookshops in Bulgaria as well as on Amazon in the United States and the UK. It can also be ordered directly from the publishers on www.vagabond.bg 

Shadow Journey book launch

Gary MacDougal and Gail Buyske from the ABF and their spouses were among the people who attended the New York event


Shadow Journey book launch

Bulgarian Ambassador to the United States Tihomir Stoytchev hosted the Washington DC event


Shadow Journey book launch

Lubka Stoytcheva and Elizabeth Kostova


    Commenting on www.vagabond.bg

    Vagabond Media Ltd requires you to submit a valid email to comment on www.vagabond.bg to secure that you are not a bot or a spammer. Learn more on how the company manages your personal information on our Privacy Policy. By filling the comment form you declare that you will not use www.vagabond.bg for the purpose of violating the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria. When commenting on www.vagabond.bg please observe some simple rules. You must avoid sexually explicit language and racist, vulgar, religiously intolerant or obscene comments aiming to insult Vagabond Media Ltd, other companies, countries, nationalities, confessions or authors of postings and/or other comments. Do not post spam. Write in English. Unsolicited commercial messages, obscene postings and personal attacks will be removed without notice. The comments will be moderated and may take some time to appear on www.vagabond.bg.

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Discover More

If you have stayed in Bulgaria for more than a week and have conversed with Bulgarians of a certain age beyond business transactions and polite small talk, you have probably heard them reminisce about something from their youth that you might f

Why is it that there are places in the world which chime with us, even if we've never been there before? While others make us ill at ease, in some subtle but incurable way not unlike a dysfunctional relationship.
This essay was originally included in the anthology Fathers Never Go Away (ICU Publishing, 2020), edited by Nevena Dishlieva-Krysteva and translated from the Bulgarian by Ekaterina Petrova
"Are all Bulgarians as touchy-feely as you?" The question had never occurred to me, until my friend Jenny asked me a few weeks after we met during our freshman year of college in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Writers often find their true material through the subconscious mind. The obsession that has guided me to my truest writing always emerged more intuitively than consciously.
Russia's former imperial capital captivates visitors with its history, its culture, and the splendid riches of its palaces The dark river flows and does not sleep,
Border, her memoir-cum-travelogue about Bulgaria's southeastern frontier from Communism to the present, was published in 2017 to international acclaim.

WHEN WE WERE VIKINGS, An excerpt from a travel essay
The sun doesn't set in the summer there so we played cards for hours in the ceaseless twilight; during the daytime, we hiked an old Viking trail. We carried our backpacks through the wilderness and set up camp each night by rivers and waterfalls.
IN THE SHADOW OF THE DISEASE, An excerpt from a memoir
The day I was admitted to the hospital, I just lay there and stared straight ahead—a piece of paper had been stuck to the closet, and the closet was blocking half of the window. Out its other half, I could see some thick black branches.
I'VE BEEN WRONG BEFORE, An excerpt from a memoir
I went out for a run one lightly rainy morning – on Halloween, actually. Movement kept at bay the dreadful sensation that the island hungered to swallow me up, annihilate my spirit.
1989: NOT YOUR COMRADE ANYMORE, An excerpt from an essay shape
I remember kindergarten as a gloomy and depressing place – now that I think about it, as the place where the groundwork was laid for out future participation in society.