Neli Sadovska

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Neli Sadovska
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Born(1943-01-19)January 19, 1943
Bosilegrad, Kingdom of Bulgaria
DiedJuly 23, 2019(2019-07-23) (aged 76)
Vienna, Austria
  • Poet
  • Author
Alma mater
  • University of Sofia
  • University of Vienna
GenreLyric poetry

Neli Sadovska was a Bulgarian poet, author of twelve collections of lyric poetry and numerous poems published in literary magazines and miscellaneous volumes of poetry.


Sadovska was born on January 19, 1943, in Bosilegrad, at that time still within the territory of the Kingdom of Bulgaria, where her father, attorney-at-law Atanas Tančev (member of the Bulgarian People's Farmers' Union "Vrabča 1" and, after 1945, of the Bulgarian People's Farmers' Union – Nikola Petkov, the main representative of the united opposition against the Bulgarian Communist Party), who till then was Mayor of the town of Bregovo, has been appointed as Commissioner of provisions for the population after the short-termed return of the Western Outlands to Bulgaria. Her mother Maria Zaharieva stems from the extended family of the Bosilegrad-born ethnographer, folklorist and historian Jordan Zahariev, Corresponding member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. In 1944 Neli Sadovska's parents settle down in Sadovec (Region of Pleven, North-West Bulgaria), her father's birthplace, in which she spent her early childhood. From 1950 till 1952 her father was interned in the communist Labor camp of Belene on the Danube island of Persin as political prisoner, since he had vehemently pronounced himself in public speeches against the violent collectivization in Bulgaria and the expropriation of farmers' land in favour of the "TKZS" (the Bulgarian version of the Soviet Kolkhozes). Reminiscences of this period concerning themes of banishment, separation from one's own land and loss of roots of human beings are contained in the poet's books Ostrova ("The Island")[1] and Pustocveti ("Desert Blossoms")[2]

Neli Sadovska graduated from the high school in Lukovit in 1960 and received her M.A. degree from the St. Kliment of Ohrid University of Sofia with a major in Bulgarian Philology and a minor in Slavic studies (Russian and Croatian language and literature) in 1966. As journalist she worked on topics of the contemporary literary, theatre and film criticism and is author of more than 600 papers and reviews for the national and regional press in Bulgaria. In 1973, she are her family established themselves in Kyustendil, South-West Bulgaria, at the beginning as curator in the Ethnography and Folklore Department of the Kyustendil Museum of History, as journalist and teacher of literature, and from 1982 till 1987 as Editor-in-Chief of the Ruen newspaper.

Since 1987 she lived in Sofia; in 1992 she moved to Vienna to follow her PhD studies at the Institute of Slavic Studies at the University of Vienna, where her PhD dissertation was first supervised by the Visiting Professor Dr. Slavomír Wollman and from 1994 on by Prof. Dr. Sergey Averintsev. Simultaneously, this was the most productive period of her creative activity, in which appeared ten from her twelve lyric anthologies (see Section 2.2. "Collections of poems")[3]. In 1994 she belonged to the Founding Members of the democratic Association of Bulgarian Writers (the organization that was created in opposition to the post-communist "Bulgarian Writers' Union"). After the sudden grave illness (2002 – 2003) and the death of Averintsev, Sadovska entirely focussed on her literary activity, remaining in Vienna till the end of her life, for 27 years, together with her son, Assoc.-Prof. Dr. Velizar Sadovski, Senior Scientist at the Austrian Academy of Sciences[4].

Neli Sadovska died in Vienna on July 23, 2019, owing to a long disease (metastasized breast cancer). Sie was buried in the Hietzing Cemetery near Schönbrunn Castle, the "last abode of Viennese artists" well-known with the tombs of painters like Gustav Klimt and Koloman Moser, of the architect of the Vienna Secession Prof. Otto Wagner, of poets like Franz Grillparzer and composers like Alban Berg.

Literary work

Poems and poetic cycles published in periodicals and miscellaneous volumes

Neli Sadovska's lyric poems appeared since 1980 in Bulgaria's leading literary periodicals such as the journal of literature Plamăk, the specialized magazines Literaturen forum[5] [6] and Literaturen vestnik[7] [8], the literary almanacs More, Struma, Trakija and Jug, the political and cultural magazines Demokratičeski pregled[9] and Most,[10] [11] the annual anthologies of poetry issued by the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Lirika 2005, Lirika 2006, Lirika 2007, Lirika 2008, Lirika 2009, the Literary Section of the newspaper of the Union of Democratic Forces Demokracija[12] and many more. In a number of issues between 1982 and 1988, the Almanac for Literature and Art More (Editor-in-Chief Nedyalko Yordanov) published the kernel of poems which then entered in her first book, Sărce v trevite ("A Heart in the Grasses").[13]

Between 1990 and 2004 appeared twelve anthologies of poems by Sadovska, issued by a number of such publishers as Krăg 39, Otečestvo, Ommo-Galaks, Dilemma, Hejzăl, the Art'L Series of Kritika i humanizăm Publishing House, the Publishing Atelier Ab. Two of the books appeared in second editions. The illustrations and the cover design are made by well-known Bulgarian painters and graphic designers like Vassil Kraptchanski (the second edition of Sărce v trevite), Keazim Isinov (Studenec, Slănčasala luna i luničavo slănce, Kak luničavata slănčasalija svalja, Pălna luna za slănceto e praznik), Ivan Yahnadzhiev (the second edition of Smokovnicata), Stanislav Vălkanov (Stăklopis / Stained Glass), Georgi Trifonov (Nedelnite deca) and others. The anthology Stăklopis / Stained Glass is a bilingual publication in Bulgarian and English, the translation being a joint work of the philologists Francis M. Carter, Prof. Vladimir Filipov and Kalina Filipova.

Anthologies and collections of poems

The first volume of poems by Neli Sadovska, Sărce v trevite ("A Heart in the Grasses") could only appear after the turn of 1989 – with a delay of 8 or 9 years (and after a rejection of its publication in 1983 by Narodna mladež Publishers with the following statement of reasons: "The party-free author has never been a member of the DKMS [= the Bulgarian Communist Youth Organization]!"), – in 1990 in Krăg 39, the publishing house established by the poet Edvin Sugarev, the founder of the dissident literary journal Most ("Bridge") that offered a tribune to other cycles of poems by Sadovska, too. From the very beginning of her road in poetry, her works enjoyed positive reactions and overall support from the part of emblematic Bulgarian poets like Boris Hristov, Binyo Ivanov, Nedyalko Yordanov, Nikolay Kantchev (who also compiled a review of her book Nedelnite deca ["Sunday Children"]), Fedya Filkova, Ekaterina Yosifova[14], Ivo Petrunov (the Krăg 39 Association member who submitted to press the first edition of Sărce v trevite), Valentin Dishev (whose Art'L Book Series at Kritika i humanizăm Publishing House printed her second book, Steni pod naem ["Rented Walls"]), Dimităr Kerelezov (who published her volume of poems Ostrova ["The Island"] in his Ommo-Galaks Press), Yavor Konstantinov (publisher of the first edition of Smokovnicata ["The Fig-Tree"]) and in particular Ango Boyanov and Ana Boyanova (in whose publishing houses "Ango Boy" and Izdatelsko atelie Ab were printed four first and two second editions of lyric books of the poet), from the part of prominent literary historians and critics like Prof. Mihail Nedelčev, Atanas Svilenov[15], Prof. Dr. Bogdan Bogdanov, Assoc.-Prof. Dr. Cvetanka Atanasova[16] and Assoc.-Prof. Dr. Ljudmila Malinova[17] from the Institute of Literature of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, as well as of editors of leading periodicals for poetry and belles-lettres like Petăr Karaangov, Nedyalko Yordanov, Marin Georgiev, Nikolay Iskărov.


  • Sărce v trevite. (Kolekcija 39, Nr. 3). Krăg 39, Sofia 1990.[18]
  • Steni pod naem. (Biblioteka Art’L). Kritika i humanizăm, Sofia 1991.[19]
  • Studenec. Dilemma, Sofia 1992.[20]
  • Ostrova. Ommo-Galaks, Sofia 1994.[21]
  • Slameno leglo. Otečestvo, Sofia 1995[22], ISBN 954-419-051-1.
  • Smokovnicata. Hejzăl, Sofia 1996[23], ISBN 954-8283-12-3
  • Sărce v trevite. Second edition. Ango Boy, Sofia 1999[24], ISBN 954-737-020-0.
  • Pustocveti. Sofia: Izdatelsko atelie Ab, Sofia 1999[25], ISBN 954-9885-86-0.
  • Slănčasala luna i luničavo slănce. Izdatelsko atelie Ab, Sofia 1999[26], ISBN 954-8786-67-2.
  • Smokovnicata. Second edition. Izdatelsko atelie Ab, Sofia 1999[27], ISBN 954-9885-14-3.
  • Nedelnite deca. Izdatelsko atelie Ab, Sofia 2000[28], ISBN 954-737-106-1.
  • Kak luničavata slănčasalija svalja. Izdatelsko atelie Ab, Sofia 2001[29], ISBN 954-737-177-0.
  • Pălna luna za slănceto e praznik. Izdatelsko atelie Ab, Sofia 2002[30], ISBN 954-737-296-3.
  • Stăklopis / Stained Glass. Izdatelsko atelie Ab, Sofia 2003[31], ISBN 954-737-381-1.

Public events featuring volumes by Neli Sadovska took place in the framework of the series of lyric and music presentations Tvorci na živo ("Artists live") at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, at the City Library of Sofia, in specialized emissions on the Bulgarian National Radio (Nešto poveče "Something more presented by Veličko Konakčiev in the radio station "Horizont") and the First Programme of the Bulgarian National Television (Salon na knigata "The Book Salon" presented by Milka Ruseva), as well as at the Bulgarian Centre of Culture "Haus Wittgenstein" in Vienna.



  1. Sadovska, Neli: Ostrova. Ommo-Galaks, Sofia 1994.
  2. Cf. Sadovska, Neli: Pustocveti. Sofia: Izdatelsko atelie Ab, Sofia 1999.
  3. More on the poet's biography and works see in: Atanasova, Cvetanka: Poetičnijat svjat na Neli Sadovska. In: Literaturen vestnik. ISSN 1310 – 9561. V, 1 (18–24.09.1995), p. 2.
  4. Biography and works by Velizar Sadovski on and in the jubilee volume Gold Fund of Bulgarian Science (Zlaten fond na bălgarskata nauka), vol. 2, Sofia, 2014.
  5. Literaturen forum, ISSN 0861 – 2153, no. 2 (425), 5–11.09.2000.
  6. Literaturen forum, ISSN 0861 – 2153, XLVIII, 3 (20–26.01.1993).
  7. Literaturen vestnik, ISSN 1310 – 9561, V, 23 (5–11.07.1995).
  8. Literaturen vestnik, ISSN 1310 – 9561, IX, 13 (7–13.04.1999).
  9. Demokratičeski pregled = Democratic review: a magazine for liberal civic society, ISSN 1310 – 2311, XXVIII, 1996, 8–9, pp. 408–413.
  10. Most. Almanah za eksperimentalna poezija, II, 1990, no. 2
  11. Most. Trimesečno spisanie za poezija i izobrazitelno izkustvo, ISSN 0861-122X, 2 (1998).
  12. Demokracija: nacionalen vsekidnevnik. ISSN 0861 – 1076. XII, 33 (9.02.2001).
  13. Malinova, Ljudmila, Poeticeskite videoklipove na Neli Sadovska. In: Most, 1998, № 2 (December), pp. 54 – 55.
  14. Cf. Ekaterina Yosifova's review of Neli Sadovska's book Slameno leglo (1995) in the journal Kontinent, no. 150, 30.06.1995, p. 27.
  15. See his review of Sadovska's cycle of poems under the title Na slănceto mu sămva, to văzliza. In: Demokracija. ISSN 0861 – 1076, XII, 33 (9.02.2001).
  16. Atanasova, Cvetanka: Poetičnijat svjat na Neli Sadovska. In: Literaturen vestnik. ISSN 1310 – 9561. V, 1 (18–24.09.1995), p. 2.
  17. Malinova, Ljudmila, Poeticeskite videoklipove na Neli Sadovska. In: Most, 1998, № 2 (December), pp. 54 – 55.
  18. Sărce v trevite (first edition) in the Union Catalog of Austria.
  19. Steni pod naem in the Union Catalog of Austria.
  20. Studenec in the COBISS Electronic Catalog of St. Cyril and Methodius National Library of Bulgaria.
  21. Ostrova: in the Karlsruhe Virtual Catalog and in WorldCat.
  22. Slameno leglo: in the Karlsruhe Virtual Catalog and in WorldCat.
  23. Smokovnicata. (First edition): in the Karlsruhe Virtual Catalog and in WorldCat.
  24. Sărce v trevite. Second edition: in the Union Catalog of Austria and in WorldCat.
  25. Pustocveti: in the Union Catalog of Austria.
  26. Slănčasala luna i luničavo slănce: in the Union Catalog of Austria and in WorldCat.
  27. Smokovnicata. Second edition: in the Union Catalog of Austria.
  28. Nedelnite deca: in the Karlsruhe Virtual Catalog and in WorldCat.
  29. Kak luničavata slănčasalija svalja: in the Katalog der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek.
  30. Pălna luna za slănceto e praznik: in the Karlsruhe Virtual Catalog and in WorldCat.
  31. Stăklopis / Stained Glass: in the COBISS Catalog of St. Cyril and Methodius National Library of Bulgaria.

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