Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Yordan Radichkov (October 24, 1929 - January 21, 2004) was a famous Bulgarian writer and playwright, arguably the most significant figure in Bulgarian literature in the last third of the 20th century he was full of subversive insight and is often referred to as the Bulgarian Kafka or Gogol.
Born in a poor family in the village of Kalimanitza, Montana region, he began his career as Vratsa regional correspondent for the "Narodna mladezh" (National Youth) newspaper and later on took over editorial duties. Radichkov's literary career began as he started writing short stories for the "Vecherni novini" (Evening News) newspaper and his early collections caught the attention of readers and critics alike with their lyricism and directness. In 1959, he published his first full-length book, "Sarczeto bie za horata" (The Heart Beats for the People), followed by "Prosti rutse" (Simple Hands, 1961) and Oburnato nebe (A Sky Turned Upside Down, 1962), all written in the socialist-realist official style.
But soon his romantic style was gradually being replaced by parody and the grotesque, with an increase in folkloristic elements, including folk fantasy and humor. Radichkov began parodying styles and reality, his works started to exceed natural limits as he turned everything upside down, deprived objects of their natural dimensions and took them out of context; he combined the uncombinable and transformed reality into a comical theater, masterfully depicting absurd aspects of life by means of laughter. A mixture of the fantastic and the real, Radichkov's works combined images of industrial civilisation with those of a remote mythical past, and were sometimes defined as a Balkan magic realism. His parabolic style was initially met with animosity from the ruling Communist party (he was often accused of primitivism, escapism and dark agnosticism), but eventually his sophisticated metaphor of disillusionment was accepted.
Radichkov's 1966 script for the film "Goreshto pladne" (Hot Noon) was a simple story about a community's efforts to save a boy from a fast running train and was a huge success for the writer. "Baruten bukvar" (Gunpowder Primer), his 1969 novel was the first in his homeland to talk about Socialism through a powerful blend of profanity, fantasy and folkloric wisdom rather than simple idealization. The award-winning "Posledno liato" (The Last Summer, 1974) is possibly his most psychologically dramatic work - a parable of a man trying desperately to stay faithful to his own identity in a dynamically changing world.
He also wrote a number of internationally acclaimed children's books, often illustrated with his own abstract drawings. In 1996 "Malki zhabeshki istorii" (Little Frogs' Stories) won the Hans Christian Andersen award for children's literature.
Radichkov has been awarded a wide number of awards for literature, theatre, and film, both is his homeland and abroad, among them the Order of Stara Planina (the highest order of Bulgaria, 2003), the prestigious Italian prize Grinzane Cavour (1984) and the prize of the International Academy of the Arts in Paris (1993). A founding member, and first president (1984-1991) of the Bulgarian-Swedish Association for Friendship , he received the Swedish national Polar Star Award (1988).
He was a prominent figure in Bulgaria's public life - a member of the Union of Bulgarian Writers since 1962, he was elected MP for the Bulgarian Socialist Party in 2001, but quickly resigned in disagreement and spent the last years of his life increasingly withdrawn from politics.
Radichkov's works have been translated in more than 30 languages and in 2001 he was nominated for the Nobel prize for literature.
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