Levan Berdzenishvili © Writers’ House of Georgia


Levan Berdzenishvili [ Georgia ]

 Levan Berdzenishvili was born in 1953 in the city of Batumi in the Georgian SSR. He enrolled at the Faculty of Automation and Telemechanics of the Tbilisi State Polytechnic Institute in 1970, but did not complete this study, but changed to classical philology at the Faculty of Philology of the Tbilisi State University. He graduated with honors and received his doctorate on Aristophanes. Starting in 1978, he taught History of Ancient Literature as well as Ancient Greek and Latin at Tbilisi State University. At the same time, he was involved in activities critical of the regime. Together with Vakhtang Dzabiradze, Vakhtang Shonia, and his brother David Berdzenishvili, he founded the Republican Party of Georgia. In 1984, he was arrested for anti-Soviet activities and sentenced to three years in a penal colony. He served the entire sentence from 1984 to 1987 in a village in the Soviet republic of Mordovia on the Volga River (where Andrei Sinyavsky or Alexander Ginzburg were also imprisoned). Thus, he was one of the last political prisoners of the USSR. He later wrote the book »Sacred Darkness« (2010) about his time in prison. He himself considers this period as the best years of his life, as he was imprisoned there together with the most intelligent people of that time – dissidents from Russia, Ukraine, or the Caucasus, who had criticized the system and had been convicted for it. »It’s rare to meet so many great personalities in one bunch. With good people by my side, I can be happy anywhere.« (»NZZ«)

Beginning in 1996, Berdzenishvili worked in the non-governmental sector. He was director of the Civil Society Institute (1996-1997), founded the International Center for Civil Development, was director of the Kartu Foundation (1997-1998). He has been the director of the National Library of Georgia since 1998. Between 2009 and 2011, he was a visiting professor at American universities, including Columbia and Stanford. In 2008, he founded and directed the Republican Institute of Georgia. He has been a member of the Georgian Parliament since 2004.

He is currently a professor at the Georgian Institute of Social Sciences and a visiting professor at the Caucasus University in Tbilisi. He has served as Chairman of the European Parliament’s European Integration Committee and as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council. He is also involved in educational work, gives public lectures, and conducts a weekly literary radio program. In 2015, his translation of Homer’s »Iliad« into Georgian was published. The author lives in Tbilisi.




Sacred Darkness

Sulakauri Publishing

Tbilisi, 2010

Sacred Darkness


New York, 2019

[tr. Brian James Baer, Ellen Vayner]


Heiliges Dunkel

Mitteldeutscher Verlag

Halle, 2018

[Ü: Christine Hengevoss]