Dimitre Dinev was born in 1968 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. He started writing at the time of his secondary schooling in a German speaking ‘Gymnasium’ in Pasardshik. His first texts were published in 1986, both in Bulgarian and Russian. At the end of the 1980’s he took part in protests against the regime of Todor Shikov. Dimitre Dinev left Bulgaria after the collapse of communism in the winter of 1990. He entered Austria illegally via the Czech border and ended up in the refugee detention centre in Traiskirchen. Whilst studying Philosophy and Russian Philology in Vienna, he earned his living doing several odd jobs. Since 1992 he has been writing in German, including film scripts, plays, radio features and prose. His play ‘Russenhuhn’ (t: Russian Chicken) is based on the Euripides tragedy ‘The Trojans’, and had its world premiere in Vienna in 1999. In 2007, his play ‘Das Haus der Richters’ (t: The house of the judge) premiered at the Burgtheater. His short story ‘Boshidar’ won first prize in the year 2000 for the annual literature competition with the theme ‘Writing Between Cultures’. Further short stories which received awards include ‘Ein Licht über dem Kopf’ (t: A Light Above a Head). In 2001 ‘Die Inschrift’ (t: The Inscription) was Dimitre Dinev’s first collection of stories to be published under his real name. These epic short stories about migration and estrangement switch between irony and pathos, the comic and the tragic. Dimitre Dinev describes with a light and distinctive touch of humour, the difficulties refugees, asylum seekers and illegal immigrants tackle on a daily basis. In his debut novel ‘Engelszungen’ (2003; t: Angels Speaking in Tongues), his two protagonists, Svetljo and Iskren, are stranded in Vienna, stuck in a desperate situation. In the Central Cemetery, the two characters accidentally meet each other in front of the grave of the Serbian criminal Miro, who has become an “angel for the immigrants” and a last port of call for many. Through the use of flashbacks, the novel delves into three generations and deals with the parallel destiny of two different families. Through this panorama, we also see the socio-political structure of the last century in Bulgaria. Dimitre Dinev has an abundant and successive string of funny, tragic, fantastic and absurd stories, in which you cannot help but notice the joy he takes in writing them. He makes talented use of poetic images and the style of ‘magic realism’, yet expresses himself in a clear, concise and pithy way. The author takes his inspiration from his own and other people’s experiences: “Many of the stories are true, however, so absurd that I must invent others that are even more exaggerated, so that at least the true ones remain plausible.” Dinev was awarded the Adalbert von Chamisso promotional Prize of the Robert Bosch Foundation. He lives in Vienna.
© international literature festival berlin