Iana Boukova

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Iana Boukova
Iana Boukova pic.jpg
Boukova at Apollonia Festival in 2014
Born (1968-07-18) July 18, 1968 (age 51)
Alma materSofia University
OccupationPoet, novelist, playwright, translator
MovementPostmodernism, magic realism

Iana Boukova (Bulgarian: Яна Букова; born 18 July 1968) is a Bulgarian poet, novelist, playwright and literary translator. Considered one of the most significant Bulgarian authors of the 21st century, she was awarded the 2012 Hristo G. Danov National prize and the 2019 National Poetry Award "Ivan Nikolov".


Boukova was born in 1968 in Sofia where she studied Classical Philology at the Sofia University. Since 1994 she lives permanently in Athens, Greece, where she is a member of the editorial board of the biannual journal of theory, poetry, and visual arts “FRMK”.

She is the author of the poetry books Diocletian Palaces (1995), Boat in the Eye (2000), Drapetomania (2018), Notes of the Phantom Woman (2018) as well as the short story collections A as Anything (2006), 4 Tales with no return (2016), and the novel Traveling in the Direction of Shadow (first published by Stigmata, Sofia in 2009 and second, revised edition by Janet 45, Plovdiv in 2014). Boukova is as well the editor and translator into Bulgarian of fifteen literary collections and anthologies of Ancient Greek, Latin and modern Greek poetry, including the, survived Fragments of the great lyric poet Sappho, the Pindar's Pythian Odes, the poetry of Catullus, the Maximus the Confessor's Dispute with Pyrrhus, poems by Costas Montis.

Her poetry and short stories have been translated into more than fifteen languages, and her work has been published in various anthologies and literary collections in the United States, the UK, France, Greece, Sweden: e.g. the Journal of World Literature in Translation Absinthe 2018: Hellenisms (Michigan Publishing Services), the Best European Fiction 2017 (Dalkey Archive Press), the Austerity Measures anthology of New Greek Poetry (Penguin UK), Two Lines 25 - Fall 2016 (Two Lines Press, San Francisco), the journals Drunken Boat, Zoland Poetry, Take Five, etc.

According to the Bulgarian poet and writer Silvia Choleva "Boukova is a Borgesian type of author. She favors play, references, riddles unexpected twists, ironies, and the dramaturgy of verse. She possesses deep knowledge not just in the sphere of the humanities, in which she specialized, but she is also enticed by science, she knows a lot, and all of this is reflected in Notes of the Phantom Woman"[1]


Iana Boukova is the author of the short story collections A as in Аnything (2006) and Tales With No Return (2016), and the novel Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow. Her novel was originally published in Bulgarian in 2009 (followed by a revised edition in 2014). Traveling in the Direction of the Shadow has been praised as one of the most innovative, compelling, erudite, idiosyncratic, and ambitious books to emerge out of the contemporary Bulgarian literary scene for decades past. This very Borgesian novel is a story about storytelling—about stories’ power to mutually attract, to find their path towards each other, and to complete one another. The main characters, whose names serve as titles of the novel’s eight chapters, all have their own complete, cradle-to-grave “biography,” their own hidden, often torturous talent; they have all been marked by fate in their own way. Intellectually, stylistically, and conceptually, Boukova is in conversation with a global community of authors, brought together by translation and including, in particular, Jorge Luis Borges as well as Marguerite Yourcenar, Milorad Pavić, Gabriel García Márquez, Italo Calvino, or Georges Perec, among others.


Iana Boukova's poetry book Notes of the Phantom Woman (2018) won the National Poetry Award "Ivan Nikolov" during the Sofia International Book Fair 2019. The Greek poet, artist, and translator Katerina Iliopoulou defines that: The Phantom-woman orchestrating the book is the invisibly present witness-poet, the one who has been turned into a ghost across the entire spectrum of the totalitarianism of merchandise, disguised as a cartoon-like superhero, showcasing the incredible transforming powers of poetry. Because the poetry at hand is not one of defeat but, rather, battle-ready poetry, the poetry of the present coming-to-be, which declares: we' re perfectly able to use your own weapons![2]. The Athens daily morning newspaper Kathimerini underlines the significance of Iana Boukova's poetry: A pointed intellect is in charge: a restless, ironic intelligence is given utterance in a style that’s meant to smart, to cause abrasions, unburdened by the delusion of prophetic speech and the concomitant assurance of high discourse.[3] The Greek poet, and critic Orfeas Apergis emphasizes in the newspaper Ta Nea that: This book brings in contact the essay form (the philosophic, metaphysical “tendency”) and poetry (poetic excess), like two ever-moving, rotating grindstones that hone one another. Boukova formulates conclusions that appear scientific yet bear a poetic charge, one usually expressed in terms of terror at the metaphysical void. The book’s second central section is titled “Tractatus”. It is a treatise on the revulsion an observer feels towards city pigeons. Like Wittgenstein meeting Kafka, you might say. This Tractatus could well be taught at schools as an example of the difference between poetry and “poeticality”.[4]"


National Poetry Award "Ivan Nikolov" 2019

Iana Boukova was awarded the 2012 Hristo G. Danov National prize and the 2019 National Poetry Award "Ivan Nikolov".



  • Notes of the Phantom Woman: Poetry. Plovdiv: Janet 45, 2018, 67 p. ISBN 978-619-186-460-7
  • К като всичко: Stories. Plovdiv: Janet 45, 2018, 2. еа., 120 p. ISBN 978-619-186-429-4
  • Drapetomania: Poetry. Athens: Mikri Arktos, 2018, 64 p. ISBN 978-960-8104-98-3
  • A as in anything: Stories. Sofia: Prozoretz, 2016, 64 p. ISBN 978-954-733-879-1
  • 4 Tales With no Return: Разкази. Plovdiv: Janet 45, 2011, 44 p. ISBN 978-619-186-291-7
  • Traveling in the Direction of Shadow. Novel. Second revised edition Plovdiv: Janet 45, 2014, 2. ed., 311 p. ISBN 978-619-186-052-4
  • Traveling in the Direction of Shadow. Novel. First edition. Sofia: Stigmata, 2009, 312 p. ISBN 978-954-336-066-6
  • К като всичко: Stories. Sofia: Stigmata, 2006, 103 p. ISBN 978-954-336-016-1
  • The Minimal Garden: Poetry. Athens: Ikaros Books, 2006, 56 p. ISBN 978-960-8399-26-6
  • Boat in the Eye: Poetry. Sofia: Heron Press, 2000, 45 p. ISBN 978-954-336-016-1
  • Diocletian Palaces: Poetry. Sofia: Svobodno poet. obshtestvo, 1995, 39 p. ISBN 954-8642-16-6

Works in anthologies and literary collections[edit]

  • Boukova, Iana. (2018). The Stone Quarter [Fiction]. In: Absinthe. World Literature in Translation: Hellenisms. Michigan: Michigan Publishing Services 2018, pp. 65–78. ISBN 978-1607855095
  • Boukova, Iana. (2017). The Teacher Came Back Drunk [Fiction]. In: Best European Fiction 2017, by Nathaniel Davis (Editor), Eileen Battersby (Preface), Champaign, Illinois. ISBN 978-1628971439
  • Boukova, Iana. (2017). Ausgewaehlte Gedichte [Poetry]. In: Kleine Tiere zum Schlachten: Neue Gedichte aus Griechenland, von Adrian Kasnitz (Herausgeber, Uebersetzer), Köln. ISBN 978-3947676019
  • Boukova, Iana. (2016). A as in Anything [Fiction]. In: Two Lines 25, Fall 2016. San Francisco, California in 2016. ISBN 978-1931883542
  • Boukova, Iana. (2016). - The Minimal Garden, - Black Haiku, - For Miltos Sachtouris, - Fractal [Poetry]. In: Austerity Measures: The New Greek Poetry, by Van Dyck, Karen (Editor), New York: Penguin UK; Bilingual edition. ISBN 978-0241250624
  • Boukova, Iana. (2013). Poems [Poetry]. In: Voix de la Mediterranee: Anthologie poetique 2013. Venissieux, Lyon, 2013, 123 p., ISBN 978-2845622319
  • Boukova, Iana. (2012). - The Poet, All in White, - The Dusseldorf Match Plantations, - Apology on Monday Lunchtime [Poetry]. In: At the End of the World. Contemporary Poetry from Bulgaria. Bristol: Shearsman Books 2013, pp. 82–89. ISBN 978-1-84861-261-7
  • Boukova, Iana. (2008). Les Pommes [Fiction]. In: Concertos pour phrase: 17 nouvelles contemporaines de Bulgarie. Paris: HB Editions, 2008, 210 p.. ISBN 978-2914581868
  • Boukova, Iana. (2007). Thirteen poems [Poetry]. In: Take Five 07, Shoestring Press, Nottingham 2007, Iana Boukova p.p. 29-41. Translated by Jonathan Dunne ISBN 978-1-904885-66-5
  • Boukova, Iana. (2007). - A Short Poem about the Evening and Music, - Self-Portrait on a Background of Begonias, - Balkan Naive Painters [Poetry]. In: Karaoke poetry bar, Futura, Athens 2007, pp. 58–62. ISBN 978-969-6654-64-0

Selected literary translations[edit]

  • Sappho. (2019). 100+1 Fragments preface and translation into bulgarian by Iana Boukova. Sofia : Poetry publishing house DA, 2019, 159 p. ISBN 978-619-7082-51-7
  • Pindar. (2011). Pythian Odes preface and translation into bulgarian by Iana Boukova. Sofia : Stigmata, 2011, 176 p. ISBN 978-954-336-131-1
  • Sappho. (2010). 100+1 Fragments preface and translation into bulgarian by Iana Boukova. Sofia : Stigmata, 2010, 159 p. ISBN 978-954-336-091-8
  • Gaius Valerius Catullus. (2009). Poetry preface and translation into bulgarian by Iana Boukova. Sofia : Stigmata, 2009, 176 p. ISBN 978-954-336-089-5


  1. ^ "Silvia Choleva, poet and writer: A ruthless game". Sofia, Iss. 8: К – The journal of criticism, debate and cultural pleasures. 23 November 2018.CS1 maint: location (link)
  2. ^ "Katerina Iliopoulou, poet, artist, and translator: Burning Braile". Athens: Oanagnostis – Magazine for books and arts. 23 November 2019.
  3. ^ "Maria Topali, poet, critic: Fertile migration to Greek letters". Athens: Kathimerini – Daily newspaper. 8 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Orfeas Apergis, poet, critic, columnist of the newspaper Ta Nea: The poem as a field of action". Athens: Ta Nea – Daily newspaper. 3 August 2019.

External links[edit]