Deborah Levy; Bulgarian fiction; Jamie Byng's literary pick

Deborah Levy's last novel Swimming Home was shortlisted for the Man Booker, the National Book Award and the Wingate Prize in 2012. However that success came after a 15 year long hiatus. With the republication of Deborah's early works, she talks to Mariella Frostrup about those difficult years when her novels went out of print, her relationship to that early work and how it shaped her later books and the impact of motherhood and the Man Booker on her writing.

Bulgaria has been one of the countries in the news in the past few weeks, with politicians and the media endlessly speculating on the number of people who may, or may not, be arriving here, as EU visa restrictions were lifted at the beginning of the month. At Open Book we decided to explore this Black Sea country through that most illuminating of sources - its literature.
Writer Miroslav Penkov, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of North Texas and the 2012 winner of the BBC International Short Story Award and author Kapka Kassabova discuss the Bulgarian literary scene

Now don't you love it when you get a recommendation from someone who really knows their stuff - whether it's a must see film, a new restaurant, or an up and coming artist. In a new series, Insider Reading - some of the most influential, and generous folk in the publishing world give us a hot tip on their must read book, and it's not one they've published. First up is Jamie Byng, the publisher of Canongate books and the man behind World Book Night.

Producer: Andrea Kidd.

Release date:

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Thu 30 Jan 2014 15:30


Deborah Levy's Books:


Swimming Home - Publisher: Faber and Faber

The Unloved - Publisher: Penguin

Beautiful Mutants and Swallowing Geography - Publisher: Penguin

Essay – Things I Don’t Want To Know - Publisher: Penguin


Bulgarian Literature discussion


East of the West by Miroslav Penkov: A Country in Stories - Publisher: Picador (US)

Street Without a Name by Kapka Kassabova - Publisher: Portobello

Twelve Minutes of Love by Kapka Kassabova - Publisher: Portobello

Nine Rabbits by Virginia Zakarieva - Publisher: Istros Books

Circus Bulgaria by Deyan Enev Translated by Kapka Kassabova - Publisher: Portobello

The Smile of the Dog by Dimana Trankova

She is Here; The Nobel Laureate by Elena Alexieva

The Curse of the Frog by Emil Andreev

Under the Yoke by Ivan Vazov

Short stories by Yordan Yovkov and Elin Pelin

Wild Tales by Nikolay Haytov - Publisher in the UK: Peter Owen Books

18% Gray by Zahary Karabashliev - Publisher: Ciela 2009  

The Physics of Sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov - Published in the US by Open Letter

Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement - Publisher: Hogarth Press



Read the Opening Chapter of The Unloved by Deborah Levy

Chapter 1: The Unloved by Deborah Levy


The Unloved


Role Contributor
PresenterMariella Frostrup
Interviewed GuestDeborah Levy
Interviewed GuestMiroslav Penkov
Interviewed GuestKapka Kassabova
Interviewed GuestJamie Byng
ProducerAndrea Kidd

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