© Ali Ghandtschi

Dimitré Dinev  [ Bulgaria/Austria ]

Dimitré Dinev was born in 1968 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. While studying at a German-speaking high school in nearby Pazardzhik, he began to write and was able to publish his first texts in Bulgarian and Russian in 1986. At the end of the 1980s, he took part in the opposition protests against the regime of Todor Zhivkov. In the winter of 1990, following the collapse of communism, Dinev left Bulgaria. He illegally crossed the Czech border to Austria, where he kept himself afloat with various odd jobs in Vienna. He also studied philosophy and Russian philology. Since 1992, he has been writing screenplays, plays, radio features, and German prose. His play »Russenhuhn« (tr: Russian Chicken), based on the tragedy »The Trojan Women« by Euripides, premiered in Vienna in 1999. In 2000, he received first prize at the »Schreiben zwischen den Kulturen« competition for his short story »Boshidar«. Other short stories, including »Ein Licht über dem Kopf« (tr: A Light Above the Head), also won prizes. In 2001, his first independent collection of short stories, »Die Inschrift« (tr: The Inscription) was published. In the 2006/2007 season, Dinev’s play »Das Haus des Richters« (tr: The Judge’s House) premiered at the Burgtheater in Vienna. Together with Anja Salomonowitz, he wrote the script for her first feature film »Spanien« (2011; tr: Spain).

Dinev’s epic stories about migration and strangeness alternate between irony and pathos, comedy and tragedy. With humor and a remarkable lightness, he tells of the difficult living conditions of refugees, asylum seekers, and illegal immigrants who defiantly and desperately confront everyday adversities. The two protagonists of his debut novel »Engelszungen« (2003: tr: Angel Tongues), Svetljo and Iskren, are also stranded in Vienna and are in trouble. In Vienna Central Cemetery, the two characters meet by chance in front of the grave of the Serbian criminal Miro, who has become ›an angel for the immigrants‹ and represents the last hope for many people. Using flashbacks, the novel unfolds over three generations, telling the story of the fate of two families in two strands, thus creating a socio-political portrait of Bulgaria over the last hundred years. In addition to Dinev’s use of clear, concise language, he employs precise poetic images in the style of magical realism. In his collection of essays »Barmherzigkeit« (2010; tr: Compassion), the individual texts of which are based on his personal experiences and appeared in the series »Unruhe bewahren« (tr: Preserve Turmoil), Dinev questions society’s responsibility to others.

The two stories in his e-book »Von Teufeln und anderen Zeitgenossen« (2015; tr: On Devils and Other Contemporaries) are set in Bulgaria and Dinev’s adopted country, Austria. »A great, shattering, and shockingly good narrative… as  heartbreaking as it gets without being at all kitschy.« (David von Westphalen, BR)

In 2005, Dinev was awarded the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize by the Robert Bosch Foundation.

The author lives in Vienna.




Die Inschrift

Ed. Exil

Wien, 2001




Wien und Frankfurt/Main, 2003


Ein Licht über dem Kopf


Wien, 2005




St. Pölten, 2010


Von Teufeln und anderen Zeitgenossen


München, 2015