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Ilija Trojanow

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Julian Preece

Ilija Trojanow, born in Bulgaria in 1965 and brought up in East Africa, established his name as an international writer with the novel Der Weltensammler or The Collector of Worlds (2006), about the cross-cultural Victorian adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton. Since the mid-1990s Trojanow has been prolific in a number of genres, including travel, ethnography and science fiction. He has also become a major public intellectual in Austria and Germany with provocative interventions on topics such as Islam and the West, civil rights in the age of cybersurveillance and climate change. His imaginative writing sits at the centre of a number of defining contemporary concerns, in particular the relationship between identity, language and culture.
This volume contains an interview with Trojanow, a previously unpublished essay by him on Lessing’s Enlightenment parable of inter-religious tolerance, Nathan der Weise ( Nathan the Wise), and essays by European and North American scholars on central aspects of his growing œuvre. The contributors explore why Trojanow is one of today’s leading writers of German while challenging a number of myths that have grown up around him and his magnum opus, Der Weltensammler.

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Biographical/Bibliographical Chronology: Ilija Trojanow

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1965: born in Sofia, Bulgaria, which was from 1945 to 1990 part of the Soviet bloc, and ruled from 1954 to the collapse of com- munist eastern Europe by President Todor Zhivkov, General Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party 1971: the Trojanow family f lee communism and settle in Kenya after passing through Yugoslavia, Italy, and the Federal Republic of Germany. Trojanow first attends the English-speaking Kenton College, then the Deutsche Schule in Nairobi 1977–1981: in Germany 1981–1984: in Kenya 1984–1989: student of Law and Ethnology in Munich 1989: founds Marino publishing house, specialising in African literature Early 1990s: returns to Africa, living mainly in Cape Town in post-Apart- heid South Africa, and spends time travelling 1993: begins to publish. In Afrika. Mythos und Alltag/In Africa. Myths and Realities (Munich: Marino). Republished by Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (Munich: 1996) and Frederking & Thaler (Munich: 2001) 1994: Naturwunder Ostafrikas/Natural Wonders of East Africa (Munich: Frederking & Thaler) 1996: publishes first novel, based on his family’s experiences of f leeing Bulgaria, Die Welt ist groß und Rettung lauert über- all/The World Is Large and Salvation Lurks Around Every Corner (Munich/Vienna: Hanser); and (with Chenjerai Hove) Hüter der Sonne. Begegnung mit Simbabwes Ältesten/ x Biographical/Bibliographical Chronology: Ilija Trojanow Guardians of the Sun. Encounter with Zimbabwe’s Elders (Munich: Frederking & Thaler) 1997: his second novel (with Rudolf Spindler) Autopol (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag) first published as an experi- mental ‘work in progress’ on the internet; Afrikanissimo. Ein heiter-sinnliches Lesebuch/Afrikanissimo. A Serene and Sensual Anthology...

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