Born in Bulgaria in 1968, Georgi Gospodinov is a prominent writer, poet and playwright in European literature, with a unique body of work that echoes the individual and collective concerns of our times and which has been recognised with various awards and nominations. His debut novel, Natural Novel (1999), was an immediate success and has been published in 23 languages.
His second book, The Physics of Sorrow (2012), enjoyed an even more extraordinary success, selling out on the day of its release. Written in response to an article in The Economist in 2010 that referred to Bulgaria as "the saddest place in the world", the novel takes this tragic fate as a starting point to consider the way sadness – that of its protagonist and that of his country – can be lived with, welcomed and used as a driving force to build a more empathetic world. In 2019, the book was adapted into an animated short film by Theodore Ushev, who had already made a cinematographic adaptation of a short story by Gospodinov in 2016.
As well as novels, short stories and plays, Gospodinov has written the screenplay for two short films, including Omelette (2009), which received an Honourable Mention at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2015, he also wrote a libretto for A. Novak's Space Opera (2015).
His most recent book, Time Shelter (2020), a reflection on memory and its absence, won the 2023 edition of the International Booker Prize. The Portuguese translation of the book will be published by Relógio d'Água and launched at LEFFEST'23.
Alberto Manguel is an Argentinian writer with Canadian citizenship, born in Buenos Aires in 1948. He has published fiction and non-fiction, including A History of Curiosity, With Borges, A History of Reading, The Library at Night and (with Gianni Guadalupi) Dictionary of Imaginary Places. He has been honoured with various prizes and awards: Guggenheim, Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres Formentor, Alfonso Reyes, Gutenberg, Officer of the Order of Canada, among others. He holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Ottawa and York (Canada), Liège (Belgium), Poitiers (France) and Anglia Ruskin (Cambridge, UK). Until August 2018, he was the director of the National Library of Argentina. He currently runs "Espaço Atlântida: Centro de Estudos da História da Leitura" in Lisbon, where he lives.