NIKOLAI HAITOV was born in 1919 in the village of Yavrovo in the Rhodope
Mountains. He left Yavrovo at the age of fourteen to work for three years
in Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second city, before returning to the village
to become a forester. In 1954, after more than twenty years in the forestry
service, Haitov began to turn his experiences into literature; his collections
of short stories (Tales From the Forest, 1956; Rivals, 1957;
and Sparks From the Hearth, 1959), essays and historical works reveal
and reclaim the cultural heritage of the Rhodope people.
Wild Tales, his most successful work, was published in 1967.
It earned Haitov the Dimitrov Prize for Literature — Bulgaria's highest
literary award — and in 1974 was voted the most popular work by any living
Bulgarian author since 1945. Translations of Wild Tales have been
published in Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, East Germany, Czechoslovakia
('Wild Tales', Peter Owen, London, 1979)