The official presentation of our book The Story of an Hour took place in the National Library “St. Cyril and Methodius” yesterday, November 26th and what a joyful evening it was! The Story of an Hour is a collection of 33 outstanding student works from the first ten years of the Bulgarian Creative Writing Competition. There could be no better way to mark the 10th Anniversary than recognize the students’ insight and eloquence and share them with a wider audience!
The evening was the culmination of many smaller feats: the students’ answers to the challenge of the blank sheets and the brevity of an hour; the dedication of our perceptive judges, and the support of our invaluable partners who help us foster both spur-of-the-moment creativity and continuous personal development among Bulgarian youth. The publication of the book itself wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of the US Embassy in Bulgaria. We were thrilled that we could hear from different members of the community that has grown around the BCWC!
Galina Nikolova, who has helped select the winning works for a few years in a row, described a typical day of judging in the national round. “There would be a few readers, each sitting quietly in her own corner of CORPluS’s office and then someone would laugh, gasp, or exclaim loudly — it didn’t matter that the author was only a sixth grader, as long as they compellingly conveyed a universal emotion.”
If anything, it seems that a youthful gaze and the freedom from grown-ups’ assumptions work to the authors’ advantage. Veronika Belcheva, who created the book’s lovely illustrations shared her heartfelt gratitude to the young authors for challenging the norm that “we have to be excellent at all times in order to write, paint or dance. “These students, by being vulnerable and sharing their work, give us the courage to express ourselves in turn”, Belcheva said.
Drake Weisert, Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy, complemented these comments by remarking that it was great to see so many supportive adults in the audience, whose lives are also enriched by the ingenuity of their children or students. The significance of creative writing at a young age is “lasting”, Weisert emphasized. “It gives one the confidence that they can communicate their ideas and values clearly, and once developed, this confidence is for life”.
Our guests enjoyed a reading of some of the selected works in The Story of an Hour by authors Mihaela Bratanova, Radost Tudzharska, and Maria Ilieva. Peppi and Vilizar, a memorable pair of ukulele players and friends, won the audience’s hearts with their playful interpretations of the well-known song “City of Stars” and the soundtrack from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”.
You can order your copy of The Story of an Hour here!