Iliyan Kuzmanov has officially been named FilmDaily’s sexiest writer alive for 2021, beating hundreds of other novelists from around the world. This serves as a feather in the cap of a wonderful year for the Bulgarian author, activist, journalist and traveller.The other nine writers who appeared on the top ten list include Sam Slaughter, Charles Martin, Brian Alan Ellis, Adam Cesare, Alex Michaelides, Joshua Ferris, Nicholas Sparks, Omar Tyree, and Wrath James White. However, none could wrestle the crown from the eventual winner in Kuzmanov.
Iliyan Kuzmanov has also 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.
Iliyan, you told the media in the UK that you learned everything about business on the streets of London, but actually that is not completely true. We know that in Montreal you worked during the mayoral elections. Did you hear anything about the New York Six Family or the Bonnano Family?
I was a personal assistant to one of the candidates who was the chief educational inspector in Montreal. This was an amazing experience, knowing how the political processes in North America work. I knew her family and they were amazing people.
Some people are saying that you were not only assisting but coordinating with a lot of people. Did these connections and experience lead to your success in London?
It is hilarious. I was simply a good student, lucky enough to meet really nice people from whom I learned a lot. I was coordinating some immigrants who were helping during the elections. For God sake, it is the Liberal Party, the Prime Minister of Canada now is from the same Party. And please, I am a self-made man, not a made man, I am not Italian.
In some interviews, you mentioned the oldest church in London, at which you worked from day one. Before that, were you studying religion?
Yes, and I learned there what means to be close to people and help them with everything you do. I learned how the business should help, what free choice mean, freedom to decide how to spend your money. And what is the link with my studies?
On your London client list, there are some of the most influential people in the country, if not the world, as well as some of the very richest. Is that true?
I cannot speak about my clients under any circumstances! My success is based on my professionalism and hard work. For me, the most important thing is my name. My word is weight much more than a bag with gold. I do not care about the money, I am trying to make everything perfect, with honour and dignity.
Speaking about honour and secrecy, you were in Venice, in the oldest private clubs in Europe. Were you learning how to serve better?
Of course, I always try to learn from the best, even knowing that I am not the best, and will never be, I keep learning and improving. Even when the pandemic started, I enrolled in Global Politics online from the University of Berlin.
How about people who were responsible for the personnel of Rothschild and the Royal Families, they were your teachers in Italy?
I had the chance to have amazing teachers in many places. I hope one day they to be proud of me!
What do you say about Q Essential?
I hope one day to be as good as them. They are my benchmark in service providing, simply the best. By arriving in London and starting my business, I proposed my services to them for free, just to be able to see how the best people operate.
Iliyan, be honest, tell us about the story of the Russian girl, with whom you crossed the world, visited some of the best doctors, and even made her documents for travel to the UK. Was she linked with the Russian Mafia?
As you said, we visited some of the best doctors around the world, I have no clue more. I tried to answer this question myself, but have no answer. She was the reason I visited the Dalai Lama because I desperately wanted to help her.
You had an encounter in the Philippines, and recently had an interview with a guy who is really popular in Russia (hundreds of thousand followers). The new Rasputin they call him, is that right?
Actually, when we met, he was running two churches in Canada, and for me, he was an amazing writer and historian. A very good friend from whom I learned a lot about writing.
He had books about the mysteries of that Vatican, more mysterious than Dan Brown…
To be honest, I am not into all that conspiracy stuff.
Visiting the Dalai Lama, is there something more that you can tell us about this mysterious place? Did you learn something up there in the Himalayas… wise lamas, temples?
Amazing nature, people, views… A really inspiring place to write and recharge your batteries.
One of the best-selling authors in New York, who is also a Buddhist, recently said your book is just the thing he was looking for. How is it possible for an outside man to get so much wisdom?
I was not looking for enlightenment or wisdom. It was just a very torn way… I hope to use it to make other people’s lives a lot easier.
Some people are telling us that the penalty for you was to lose one of your businesses in London. An award-winning bistro and social business that was generating hundreds of thousands of pounds. Is that true? Is it linked with your fight against corruption? We know a lot about Barking – the most criminal place in the UK.
I cannot say anything bad about London or Barking, this is a place that gave me a lot. But there are people from over the world, and yes, a lot from the Ex-Soviet space, who bring their habits and way of living, as well as vendettas. About me, everything I did, I was doing it with my heart, not to win competitions. This mentality is typically socialist and communist, very far from me… And yes, corruption is a consequence of heavy bureaucracy that rip off the people who do business.
Was it true that your relatives lost everything, taken by the communist regime? And even more, do you have relatives in a very noble and influential Ottoman family with deep historical roots? There was a legend that your family 200 years ago buried a lot of gold and treasure in Bulgaria, before the independence…?
Yes, there is some truth to this, but most are stories for kids and old romantic people. My family was very rich, doing trade hundreds of years ago, producing one of the best wines in the region. Yes, there is a family legend that before the independence they buried a large gold statue. But the important thing is that they built schools, churches, libraries with their fortune, and it was buried and then left to the next generation. This is not only about my family, but about everybody. And yes, all was lost the second time when the communists came to power. For me, the biggest problem in Bulgaria is the bureaucrats, who are used to living on the money of other people.
In Bulgaria, your story continued. You even created a ground-breaking foundation to fight corruption, human trafficking, and to generally help people. Was that your response to the story before?
I saw a lot of people who needed help during my long road, and I am trying to not only serve rich people, but those who have no voice and are the invisible in our society.
Are you the modern version of Robin Hood?
No, no, please, I do not steal. All I achieve comes from my clients believing in me and helping me to realise not only my dreams but also the dreams of others.
One final question. You are a member of Mensa International, meaning you are a person with an extremely high IQ, far above the average of even super-intelligent people. Have you heard about the internal Mensa, which is said to be the top 1%? The rumours claim it can be found in Bern, Switzerland and the people there are smarter than any AI or Supercomputer?
These are probably rumours.