Time Shelter: Georgi Gospodinov with Valentina Izmirlieva

Wed. Sep 7, 2022 6:00pm - 7:00pm EDT
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The award-winning Bulgarian writer discusses his novel about memory loss, time, and what happens when the past and present collide.

Book Cover of Time ShelterIn Zurich, a man named Gaustine has opened the first “clinic for the past,” an institution that offers a unique treatment for Alzheimer’s sufferers: each floor reproduces a past decade in minute detail, allowing patients to transport themselves back in time to unlock what is left of their fading memories. Gaustine’s assistant collects items and ephemera from the past – buttons from the 1940s, nostalgic scents – to make each floor more real. But as the charade becomes more convincing, healthy people seek out the clinic to escape their present-day lives, resulting in an unexpected conundrum: the past begins to invade the present. In Time Shelter, Georgi Gospodinov has written an eerily prescient novel, shadowing the tragedies of the last century and teeming with ideas for our current one.

Georgi Gospodinov researched and wrote Time Shelter during his 2017–2018 Fellowship at the Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. He will discuss the novel with scholar and writer Valentina Izmirlieva.

To join in-person | Please be sure to register for an In-Person Ticket. Doors will open around 5:30 PM. For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance, but registration does not guarantee admission. All registered seats are released shortly before start time, and seats may become available at that time. A standby line will form 30 minutes before the program.

To join the livestream | A livestream of this event will be available on the NYPL event page. To receive an email reminder shortly in advance of the event, please be sure to register!


The New York Public Library no longer mandates proof of vaccination at indoor public programs.

Patrons are strongly encouraged to wear a mask at Conversations from the Cullman Center events.

If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or suspect you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, please stay home.


In-Person | Assistive listening devices and/or hearing loops are available at the venue. You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation or CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) captioning service by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email accessibility@nypl.org or use this Gmail template. This venue is fully accessible to wheelchairs. 

Livestream | Captions and a transcript will be provided. Media used over the course of the conversation will be accompanied by alt text and/or audio description. You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email accessibility@nypl.org or use this Gmail template.


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Georgi GospodinovGeorgi Gospodinov is a writer, poet, and playwright based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Time Shelter, which has been translated into fifteen languages, has won Italy’s Strega European Prize as well as Bulgaria’s most prestigious literary prizes. Accolades for previous works include winning the Angelus Central European Literature Award, the Jan Michalski Prize, and being named a finalist for the PEN Translation Prize, among many others.


Valentina IzmirlievaValentina Izmirlieva is Professor of Slavic Literatures at Columbia University and Director of the Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies. Born and raised in Bulgaria, she received a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago and has taught at Columbia since 1999. The topics of her publications range from medieval to modern and from local to global, while she easily traverses genres, modes, and cultural domains. The recipient of many awards and distinctions, Izmirlieva was the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow at the Cullman Center in 2012-2013.



Please submit all press inquiries to Sara Beth Joren at least 48 hours before the event: email sarabethjoren@nypl.org or use this Gmail template.

For all other questions and inquiries, please email cullmancenter@nypl.org or use this Gmail template.

The New York Public Library's free services and resources are made possible thanks to the support of the Friends of the Library. Join this group of Library lovers and take advantage of special membership benefits, like invitations to members-only virtual events, discounts at the Library Shop, and more. Join now.

The Cullman Center is made possible by a generous endowment from Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman in honor of Brooke Russell Astor, with major support provided by Mrs. John L. Weinberg, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Estate of Charles J. Liebman, The von der Heyden Family Foundation, John and Constance Birkelund, and The Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, and with additional gifts from Helen and Roger Alcaly, The Rona Jaffe Foundation, The Arts and Letters Foundation Inc., William W. Karatz, Merilee and Roy Bostock, and Cullman Center Fellows.

Georgi Gospodinov © Phelia Barouh

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Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Margaret Liebman Berger Forum (2nd Fl) 476 5th Ave
New York, NY 10018