/Detelina Kamenova, media relations, International Elias Canetti Society, journalist/

/Roman Kissiov, author of Dreaming and Seeing and The World of Words/

Roman Kissiov, the poet-artist or the artist-poet, presented his latest books on the evening of October 6th at the festival. Here’s how he answered a few questionsespecially for The Breath of Europe 2022.

  • What, in your opinion, gives a literary festival the strength to survive a whole 15 consecutive years?

I think this question can best be answered by the main “culprits” for this unique international festival in Bulgaria to last 15 years. I guess… no, I’m sure that love for literature (and culture in general) and building cultural bridges gives strength to live, develop and build on this and every similar festival. I deliberately avoid the word “survives” because I believe in the future of this Literature Festival and 15 years of experience is a good basis for this. I use the opportunity here to congratulate the team of the International Elias Canetti Society and specifically Penka Angelova – for many years to come!

  • What do you know specifically about the festival organised by the International Elias Canetti Society and what is its place among other literary festivals in Europe and Bulgaria?

Over the years I have been a participant in the literary festival twice and also in several other literary events organized by the IECS, and I can say that I love this festival! And the reason for that is not only my love for Ruse – the city where a big part of my life passed… The festival is definitely physiognomic, with a recognizable identity and at European level, selects the participants carefully – established names not only in national literatures, but also internationally. I should mention here that in the festival programme Bulgarian artists are always present. The programme of each edition is varied. It is rich and makes connections with other arts – art exhibitions, performances, film screenings, etc. Another advantage is that the IECS is international and cooperates actively with European institutions and cultural organisations. And last but not least – what is special is the “aura” of the patron’s name – the world novelist Elias Canetti, as well as the atmosphere of his hometown, the most European Bulgarian city – Ruse.

  • Why does the writer, poet, artist need to meet live with audience and be presented at festivals?

Literature, like the fine arts, are solitary pursuits, without direct relationship with the audience… Festivals and live meetings provide an opportunity for such connection between author and audience, which is always useful for both authors and audiences.

  • What do you expect from the live meetings with the audience in Ruse?

I expect to meet old friends and colleagues, as well as new acquaintances.

  • What should the audience expect from meeting you?

My two most recent books – “Dreaming and Seeing” (short stories, 2021) and “The world of Words (selected and new poems, 2022). I’ll share things related to these books and will read texts from them. I will also be happy to answer questions of the audience, if there are any.

  • Where can we find more space for artistic interpretation – in real life or on social media?

Seems like in recent years, especially since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the world shut down, for understandable reasons, the topics (not just of art, but of all walks of life) have moved mostly into the virtual space and primarily into social media. It can be said that this is a phenomenon that is constructive and positive on the one hand, but destructive and negative on the other. It depends on who is using it and for what. I can say that for art it was (and is) a good opportunity. But the time is coming to rediscover and revive the living connection and communication… There is already a palpable thirst of people for this and the festivals help this process.

  • How do you see geographical borders today, when the world is experiencing tremors of different, supranational character?

Clearly the world and humanity is in a (transitional) period of great change right now. It is possible that these changes will also lead to changing geographical boundaries. For me more important, however, are spiritual boundaries… Those spiritual boundaries that clearly distinguish and separate the dimensions of light from those of darkness, of Good from Evil, of Truth from Falsehood!