Iliyan Kuzmanov has now officially been named as the winner of The Literary Titan award, a prestigious literature award. Not only did the author scoop the top prize, beating out hundreds of other nominees, but he also becomes the first Bulgarian writer to win a US literature award.
However, this is not the only accolade for Kuzmanov and his hit novel, If You Meet Buddha, Kill Him. In the early weeks of its release, the book shot up the rankings and landed in the top 15 for non-fiction and education novels on Amazon. Not only that, but it later reached Amazon’s top 20 rankings for sales, another feather in Kuzmanov’s cap. If You Meet Buddha, Kill Him was receiving rave reviews from experts, but was also proving to be a hit with the public too, which is truly a deadly combination in the world of literature.
The novel, which explores what it means to be human, also appeared as a Reader’s Choice in Greenwich Book stores and received a Reader’s Favourite five-star rating. Even more impressively, If You Meet Buddha, Kill Him was named among the finalists of The Reader’s Favourites International Award, which is the most lucrative in the world with $100,000 in prizes.
Speaking on the meaning behind the book and its success, Kuzmanov said: “For me, it was a journey, spiritual, deep, and honest. The title and the book’s main purpose was to create a notion of critical thinking, questioning, and living a happy life.
“I am coming from a place with huge problems, corruption, racism, gender inequality, anti-western notions, anti-civilizational, anti-capitalistic, anti-science. I wanted to create something that will make people think more. To provoke them to think more!”
He added: “Individualism and Egoism are not a stigma; it is a matter of personal choice. To choose to be good or not. And even if you made many wrong choices in your life, you deserve redemption.
“In socialism, we have black and white, good and bad, friend (drugar) and enemy. The world is very simple, very terrifying, no concept about individualism or individual happiness, all is for common good, with no notion about God, because all is logical, all is pragmatical, and only the rules matter, because they make you right or wrong.”
The North American critic is known to be one of the most difficult to please in the world, yet Iliyan has consistently been nominated for awards and received rave reviews.
Critic Susan Sewell gave a glowing review of the work: “If You Meet Buddha Kill Him! by Iliyan Kuzmanov is an engaging account of one person’s spiritual encounter with himself and God. The title immediately caught my eye, and its contents are just as stimulating.
“The included Zen Buddhist art is thought-provoking and quite stunning, capturing the essence of Buddhism in its purest form. The author, Mr Kuzmanov, eloquently depicts his spiritual journey, encouraging the reader to begin their own. By leading the reader down a beautiful, soul-inspiring path of philosophically enhanced experiences, Mr Kuzmanov lays the foundation for a life-altering experience.
“A long-time member of MENSA, a creator of several charities, and having been trained with Her Majesty the Queen’s butlers, Mr Kuzmanov’s expertise shines through his accounts, creating a charming, heart-warming narrative with a solid foundation.
“If You Meet Buddha Kill Him! is an inspiring and fantastical book that shows what it means to trust in yourself and the power of love.”
Roy Mauder, a British philosopher and writer, said: “Anti- totalitarian! A great and timely message for the 21st Century. A message for life and living sorely needed.”
Former BBC journalist and owner of TriMedia, John MacDonald added: “A brilliant masterpiece! An intelligent and provocative journey that makes you rethink the nature of existence.”