• Born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.  
  • Graduated from the Mathematics Division of High Professional School "Georgi Dimitrov" in Plovdiv.   
  • Graduated from Sofia University "Saint Kliment Ohridski" – MA in Bulgarian and Russian Philology.
1976 - 1985
  • Editor, Poetry Section of the Cultural Program at the National Radio
  • Since 1980 - Head of the Poetry Section
  • Created scores of literary, critical and publicistic radio broadcasts, many of which included in the Permanent and the Golden Funds of the National Radio.
  • Established two of the most popular radio-programmes: "Good Morning", which is still being broadcasted daily, and "For More Good Books", which lasted for almost a decade.
  • Conducted for many years the talk show "Evening with Hristo Botev National Radio" and his own show "For More Good Books", both broadcasted alive with public across the country.
1978 - 1984
  • Associate Professor of Contemporary Bulgarian Literature at Sofia University "Saint Kliment Ohridski". 
  • "Narodna Kultura" Publishing House published his translations of selected poems by Arsenij Tarkovski "In the Middle of the World".
1985 - 1987 
  • Editor, Foreign Literature Section, "Plamuk" Magazine. Initiated and published an international discussion on the contemporary non-fiction, later on published as a book ("Bulgarski pisatel" Publishing House, 1988). 
  • Awarded the annual "Fakel" Magazine Prize for the theoretical study "The Literalism Against Itself". 
1987 - 1991  
  • Editor, Literary Critics Section, "Bulgarski pisatel" Publishing House
  • Participated in a dramatic works competition with his play "Toto" which was the only one, awarded a prize at the competition.
  • The producer Emil Manasiev started work on staging "Toto" at the Youth Theater, but the play was removed from the repertoire for censorship reasons.
  • "Pero" Publishing House published the play "Toto" in 50 copies for friends.
  • "Nauka and Izkustvo" Publishing House published "Toto" as part of its series "Theater library" (1989).
  • Awarded the annual "Fakel" Magazine Prize for his translations of selected poems by Osip Mandelshtam.
1990 – 1997
  • Chief Editor and publisher of the magazine for literature and art "Pero".
  • Established (jointly with the artist Kiril Gogov) one of the first private publishing houses in Bulgaria after 1989 – "Pero Publishing"
  • Published the bestselling pocket-size phrase-books series;
  • Published some of the first books to represent the democratic changes in Bulgaria, e.g., Georgi Velichkov's book of essays "In the Hall of Democracy", and Nikolai Kunchev's book of poetry "There is Someone in the Forest" with a study of his poetry by Svetlozar Igov;
  • Published the series "Philosophy Plus", which includes fundamental works of modern philosophy and political thought by Leczek Kolakowski, Milton Friedman, Humboldt, L. Mises, Hayek, I.Berlin, M. Novak, Paul Johnson, J. Gray, and Riszard Legutko;
  • Published the "Owl" series with bestsellers by Sidney Sheldon, Robert Ludlum, Sara Paretzki, Shotaru Ikenami, etc.;
  • Published the series "Novels into Films", including Edgar Doctorow's "Ragtime" complemented by the story of the Milos Forman’s movie;
  • Published "Modern Bulgarian Poetry" series, including works of Ivan Borislavov, Katia Mitova, Ilko Dimitrov, Rumyana Zaharieva, Luchezar Petrov, etc;
  • Published the L. Ron Hubbard’s bestselling work "Self analysis" and the encyclopedia of the British scientist Piers Pennington "The Great Explorers".
  • Set up the first representative Pero Bookshop in Sofia and established an efficient bookselling network in the country.
  • Pero Publishing regularly participated in the national Book Fairs, as well as in the Frankfurt Book Fa
April 1997 – November 1999
  •   Director of the National Book Centre, Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria:
  • Developed an entirely new concept for the Ministry of Culture’s priorities and the Government subsidy for the book sector; Developed a new program of the National Book Center called "Literary Heritage" and aiming at entirely new perception and publishing of the national literary classics, including its digitalization (CD-ROM-publications and a webpage). The program concept provides for the implementation of a sustainable, nationally important project involving great part of the Bulgarian publishers, book traders, libraries and cultural centers.
  • Worked in close co-operation with the Council of Europe and other international organisations on the development of an integrated European information system for the book sector and on providing opportunities for inter-institutional cooperation in favour of the book and the reading;
  • Participated in numerous workshops and seminars concerning the challenges of the book sector in the transition economies and organized by the Council of Europe in Frankfurt, Leipzig, Strasbourg, Sofia and Bucharest, where presented the following reports: "Necessity and specific conditions in applying the Books In Print System in Bulgaria"; "Problems of the Bulgarian legislation related to the book sector"; „Recent Activities of the National Book Center"; "How to keep the literary heritage", etc.; 
  • Proposed and passed concrete texts of the Law on Protection and Development of the Culture, in its part concerning the book sector; 
  • Initiated the establishment of a main database for the book sector in Bulgaria and the introduction of the Books in Print System. Developed the first pilot "Books in Print" edition in Bulgaria both on paper and CD-ROM; 
  • Jointly with the Bulgarian Publishers Association organized the Bulgarian participation at the international book fairs in Frankfurt and Leipzig (where Bulgaria was the focus country);
  •  Organized a number of international meetings and workshops related to the introduction of the new technologies in publishing and book trade; 
  • Worked in close cooperation with the Council of Europe, UNESCO and the German Publishers and Book Traders Association to include Bulgaria as a pilot country in the research programme "Governments Love Books (Electronic Books, too)"
  • Within the Frankfurt International Book Fair, jointly with the Council of Europe, UNESCO and the German Publishers and Book Traders Association, organized and held a special press conference on the study carried out by the British expert David Kingham "Bulgaria: a Book Sector in Difficulty";
  • Published Charles Landry’s report "The Cultural Policy in Bulgaria" and David Kingham’s report "Bulgaria: a Book Sector in Difficulty";
  • Organized (jointly with the Soros Art Centre and the Bulgarian Publishers Association) and chaired the First National Book Conference (Sofia, November 1998). Presented the report "To establish a National Book Policy";
  • Jointly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized and chaired the first regional meeting of experts from all Eastern European countries within the framework of the UNESCO Programme Reading for All (Sofia, 1998). Presented the report "New opportunities for regional cooperation through the programme Reading for All"; 
  • Participated in a regional meeting of professional writers, translators and experts from the book sectors of the Balkan countries (Alexandroupolis, Greece, 1999), where presented the report "Problems, challenges and prospects for the Bulgarian book in the context of Balkan and European integration"
  • Actively participated in the establishment of the Euro-Bulgarian Cultural Centre
  • Developed the concept and established within the European Month of Culture (jointly with the Ministry of Culture and the municipality of Plovdiv) the National Award for Contribution to the Bulgarian Literary Heritage "Hristo G.Danov"; 
  • Managed and organised a Balkan regional meeting "Books Without Frontiers" within the European Month of Culture, Plovdiv 1999. Presented the report "Establishing national book policies in the context of European integration"; 
  • Organized and chaired international seminar "Review of the National Book Policy", where presented the report "What is a National Book Policy and is there ground for it in our country". The Council of Europe experts Prof. Dr. Hartmut Walravens and David Kingham, as well representatives of the Government, the Parliament and the book community were among the participants in the two-days seminar;
  • Within the framework of a PHARE training programme on art administration and management, developed two projects: "Bulgarian Literary Heritage" and "Balkan Dreams", which won the prize of best developed project in both modules; 
  • On 5 November 1999 resigned from the National Book Center, followed by most of his colleagues, due to disagreement with the policy of complete withdrawal from the reforms pursued by the Ministry of Culture, and lack of allocation in the Ministry’s budget of funds for the realization of the Programme "Literary Heritage";
  • On 10 November 1999, together with his colleagues who resigned from the National Book Center, held a press conference, which provoked a heated public debate on the Ministry of Culture’ role in the national cultural life.
1999 – 2006
  • Jointly with colleagues from the book community established "Pismena" Foundation, of which became Program Manager.
  • Created the largest contemporary bookshop on the Bulgarian market – "Pismena", holding more than 20 000 titles; managed the bookshop until December 2001.
  • Participated in the organization, management and implementation of the interceding campaign "The road of the book", initiated by "Grazhdanin" Society, "Pismena" Foundation, the National Book Centre, the Bulgarian Publishers Association, and distinguished personalities of the book sector. Among the campaign’s main outputs were: wide public debate in the media on the state of the book sector; publishing of a collection of topical analysis; preparation of a Draft Law on the Book, presented at the Committee for Culture and Media in the Parliament.
  • Published the head analytical article ("About the State and the Book") in the collection "The road of the book" as part of his study relating to the book sector.
  • Participated in an ad-hoc working group established by the Ministry of Culture to define the priorities in the book sector and outline the necessary changes in the existing legislation.
  • Actively participated in the public initiative "Let’s read to the children" lead by the National Book Centre and non-governmental organizations.   
  • Under contract with the High Commissioner on National Minorities Mr. Max van der Stoel participated as independent expert in two OSCE field missions to Ukraine (June 2000) and Russia (August 2000) with the aim to study and assess violations of the two respective minorities’ language rights. Presented at a special conference in Hague (September 2000) his reports containing the relevant recommendations to the two governments.
  • Jointly with "Prof. Marin Drinov" Publishing House published the bi-lingual edition of selected poems by A. S. Pushkin ("Prophet") and the scientific work of Lila Zaharieva "A Glance at the Most Ancient Culture of our World".
  • Developed the conception of a new multimedia series "Literary Heritage", and worked as compiler, editor and manager of its first edition "Hristo Smirnenski – the New Perception", published in two volumes and a CD-ROM (2001).
  • "Hristo Smirnenski – the New Perception" and its creators (Svetlozar Zhekov, Prof. Zhivko Ivanov and Alexander Vanchev) were awarded the National Prize "Hristo G. Danov" for contribution to the Bulgarian literary heritage, in "Electronic Publishing and New technologies" Category (2002).
  • Joint a large international project "Hyper Learning", where intends to introduce to the European cultural stage the digitized literary heritage of the great Bulgarian classic Aleko Konstantinov
  • Published his broad literary inquiry with the famous Bulgarian poet and translator Kiril Kadiiski, member of the French Academy for Poetry "Malarme".
  • Leaves with his family for Brussels, Belgium (2004), where he lives and works till now.
  • In Seon, Germany (2004) took part in the establishment of a consortium, GDRE+, within the framework of the "Hyper Learning" Project.
  • Continues his work in the project "Hyper Learning", through the COST Program, Action COST A32 "Open Scholarly Communities on the Web", where he is nominated representative of Bulgaria and is a member of the Management Committee.
  • Registered as member of the European Union Publishers’ Forum.   
Professional activities as literary critic, translator, journalist and editor: 
1969 - 2007
  • Published literary studies and critical articles, literary portraits, reviews, surveys and interviews in numerous newspapers ("Literaturen Front", "Literaturen Forum", "Narodna Kultura", "Puls", "Narodna Mladezh", "Otechestven Front", "Otechestven Glas", "Pogled", "Sofiiska Pravda", "Kultura") and magazines ("Septemvri", "Plamak", "Suvremennik", "Literaturna Misal", "Fakel", "Rodna Rech", "Trakia", "Plamuche", "Pero", "Stranitza" etc.);
  • Published in various literary periodicals his translations of Russian classic poetry (A. S. Pushkin,E. Baratinski, S. Esenin, Osip Mandelstam, A. Tarkovski, Nikolai Rubtzov, Tatiana Bek, etc.), issued later by "Narodna Kultura" Publishing House in collection of selected Russian classic works; 
  • Published his translations of John Lennon’s songs.
  • Published his broad literary inquiry with Kiril Kadiiski.
  • Published his selected critical works in the volume "Across the Yard of Time" (Nov Zlatorog Publishing House, 2007) .
  • Published the voluminous bilingual book of poetry translations: "Arseni Tarkovski and Other Russian Poets", including the best of his translation works (A. Tarkovski, A. S. Pushkin, E. Baratinski, Osip Mandelstam, S. Esenin, Nikolai Rubtsov and Tatiana Bek) (Nov Zlatorog Publishing House, 2007)
1987 - 2007
  • Editor of more than 100 literary and scientific editions of "Bulgarski pisatel" and "Pero" publishing houses.
  • Currently is working on his doctoral thesis "The Bulgarian Book Heritage and the new Book Economy".
Professional Organizations:  
1980 - P          Member of the Union of Bulgarian Journalists
1983 - P          Member of the Bulgarian Translators Union
                         - Chair of the Poetry Section (1984-1986)
                         - Member of the Management Board (1989-1991)
1991               Founder of the first Private Association for Culture
1994 - P         Founding member of the Bulgarian Publishers Association
2005 - P          Member of the European Union Publishers’ Forum
Political Activities:
Has never been and is not a member of any party
  • Actively participated in the public political debate on the need of democratic changes; published the articles "Decent Here Is Regarded as Fool", "Light in the Darkness" and "At a Crossroad", which provoked wide public reaction.
  • One of the founders of the Club for Democracy within the Bulgarian Translators' Union.
  • Supported the election campaign of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF).
  • Actively participated in the election campaign of the UDF as Head of the Party’s Media Council.
© 2023 Svetlozar Zhekov
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