Virginia Zaharieva, Nine Rabbits
Daniela Olszewska, Citizen J
Albena Stambolova, Everything Happens As It Does
Location: Hopleaf Bar,
5148 N. Clark St.
In Bulgaria during the height of communism in the 1960s,
six-year-old Manda survives her cruel grandmother and rural poverty by finding
sheer delight in the world—plump vegetables, garden gnomes, and darkened attic
corners. But as a middle-aged artist in newly democratic Bulgaria, Manda
desperately tries to feed her damaged soul. Virginia Zaharieva is a writer,
psychotherapist, feminist, and mother. Nine Rabbits was a bestselling
title in Bulgaria and is the first of Zaharieva’s work made available in North
America. She was born in Sophia.
Citizen J hides in underground forests and worries that her toasters are
miked. She marries twelve husbands and marries twelve wives. In this
series of interconnected poems, Olszewska's everywoman hero moves across a
landscape that might be America re-imagined as a post-Soviet state: surreal,
contradictory. Daniela Olszewska is the author of four collections of poetry.
She serves as an associate poetry editor of H_NGM_N and Another
Chicago Magazine and on Switchback Books’ board of directors. Daniela
currently teaches composition and creative writing in community colleges and at
a men’s maximum security prison. She was born in Wroclaw, Poland, and received
her MFA from the University of Alabama.
Albena Stambolova’s idiosyncratic debut novel, Everything
Happens as It Does, builds from the idea that everything happens exactly
the way it must. In this case, the seven characters of the novel—from Boris, a
young boy who is only at peace when he’s around bees, to Philip and Maria and
their twins—each play a specific role in the lives of the others, binding them
all together into a strange, yet logical, knot. Albena Stambolova is also the
author of two other novels, a collection of short stories, and a
psychoanalytical study on Marguerite Duras. She currently lives in Bulgaria,
where she works as a psychological and organizational consultant and is working
on a book about fairy tales.