Iliyan Kuzmanov is a Bulgarian writer, journalist, public figure, and social entrepreneur. Founder of the award winning social venture Ezo in London, and game changing Foundation Art Angel in Bulgaria. (1)He gained international fame with If You Meet Buddha Kill Him!, the first book by a Bulgarian author to enter Amazon’s Top 20 best-selling books (15th place). Winner of the Titans Book Prize, US, one of the Top 10 Writers with Greater Potential for 2022 by Art Daily, The Sexiest Writer Alive for 2021 by the cult Film Daily, 2021 Man of the Year in Bulgaria according Tv Evropa- Career (Euronews Bulgaria now) and the hipster writer who did the road Balkans Book Rock Toor 2021 in 5 countries. (2)
Heir of a significant family from the village of Kalugerovo, Bulgaria- enterpreneurs, major wine producers, and public figures. His great-grandfather Kuzman Mushev and his great-great-grandfather Lulcho Mushev are prominent personalities, wealthy landlords and philantrophes, created schools, libraries, churches. Kuzman is a WWI heroe. They are honored with a public memorial.
The family roots go deep into the Ottoman history of Bulgaria. As they are currently the subject of extensive historical research by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
In Canada, community service begins for Ilian Kuzmanov. He started his career as a social worker at a centre for immigrant children. The next step was Concordia University, where Ilian studied and worked. He later taught history at the Bulgarian Cultural Centre and was part of the Liberal Party, as a personal assistant to one of Montreal's mayoral candidates. (68)
Kuzmanov’s legacy in the UK began with creating a multi- million business that helped him found project EZO, voted the best social initiative by the Londonist, one of the biggest cultural portals in England. It was a self sustainable community cultural hub, with a profound library in a train station in Barking, London. The venue works with homeless people, displays and sells art by homeless people. It also became known for the story of a woman who found her father, a homeless man, after 20 years, which was covered by the BBC. The coffee shop has its own library of over 3,000 books, also used by the Bulgarian community in London. The venue also serves as a meeting place for the Mensa society in the UK, for free bartending and cookery courses for the local disadvantaged community. It offers free food and drink to those in need. Ezo has been described as "a rare example of a train station coffee shop with soul" in the UK by one of London's biggest cultural portals, cited as "one of East London's eight true hidden gems" and one of the best cafes to work from. Iliyan Kuzmanov has been featured in the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences’ publication for the Bulgarian cultural heritage in migration.
Who is Iliyan Kuzmanov- Nova TV
Art Angel Foundation
In 2020, Iliyan Kuzmanov established the Art Angel Foundation to address issues he personally faced on his return to Bulgaria, as well as to protect other returning Bulgarians: such as violence against women, human trafficking and corruption.  Iliyan is the creator of Ezoligentsia, an open cultural space, which provides free space to artists and serves as a multicultural hub in Pazardzhik for people of different communities, ethnicities, beliefs and sexualities[. Art Angel's more well-known causes and projects include Project Maria and Project Redemption. Project Maria has helped a pregnant Latvian woman, a victim of human trafficking, and has asked 100 questions about the social sector in Bulgaria, its level of efficiency and corruption in the countryside, and has also inspired a Christmas story competition with over 120 participants from Bulgaria, France, England and Spain. The Foundation's Project Redemption began in 2020 borrowing models from England, Norway and the United States. It has been hailed as a precedent in Bulgaria, as well as the largest and most significant social entrepreneurship project in Bulgaria. The project includes building an art space in the Pazardzhik prison, providing enriched food for the inmates there, and bakeries for bread and coffee, with profits from the prison's own production going to help victims of violence and disadvantaged people. It also raises questions about corruption in Bulgarian prisons and proposes solutions. The Pakistani academic community is using the project as a model for addressing corruption and malpractices. Other activities of the foundation include: art activities for children from the Military Ramp refugee camp; integration of children from minority areas through art; sponsorship of an international gymnastics competition in the Pazardzhik;  food assistance at the beginning of the COVID crisis to seniors, artists, and teachers in Pazardzhik region; free coffee equipment for the COVID ward at the Pazardzhik Public Hospital; some of the foundation's advertising campaigns include causes such as banning sport hunting, vaccination against COVID-19, fighting racism, domestic violence, human trafficking, and homophobia.  In 2022, Art Angel, in cooperation with the National Library Network and the municipality of Pazardzhik, announced a contest to preserve folk traditions by collecting and digitizing old Kuker photos.  Art Angel Foundation is a member of Social Enterprise UK, the largest network of social businesses in England, and the British-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce. In 2021, the London Post called Iliyan Kuzmanov "the new Gandhi", the influential Brazilian blogger Ana Luisa Fragoso called him "the Mad Man of social advertising", and Odyssey magazine – "the Bulgarian Mad Man".
Kuzmanov also works as an activist journalist. He is the author of international analyses and investigations, and writes on topics such as tourism and travel, social entrepreneurship and social activities. He gives publicity to corruption patterns in the NGO sector in Bulgaria and in small towns. He is a member of the American Press Association, PEN America and Reporters Without Borders. He is the owner of the independent www.theangel.today. National Officer in the Union of Journalists in Bulgaria Podkrepa. Iliyan is far more than simple pleasant words on a page. He is a wisdom, spirituality, mystery, trill, and modern hard rock philosophy.
Creative Works and Awards
Kuzmanov's debut book, If You Meet Buddha Kill Him (2021)  has become the first book by a Bulgarian writer to enter Amazon's Top 20 best-selling books (reaching #15). Kuzmanov was influenced to write the book by his traveling in Asia. Over the course of two years, he traveled and stayed in Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, China and Malaysia. In India he met the Dalai Lama's personal physician and spent some time in Dharamsala, the place where the Dalai Lama lives. Kuzmanov describes his book as a "profound and honest spiritual journey." The critic calle it "a personal encounter with God", and "Life- changing book that shape your thinking". Won the Literary Titan Award and was a finalist in Readers' Favorite. Iliyan was named the Sexiest Living Writer of 2021 by the popular culture media (with over 2 million daily readers) Film Daily, the Writer with the Most Potential for 2022 by Britain's Essex TV, in association with the cultural portal Art Daily, and Person of the Year in Bulgaria by Career TV (TV Europe).  He was awarded the honorary "Golden Key" of the village of Kalugerovo for his work . At Christmas 2021, Ilian Kuzmanov made his book, that was the first Bulgarian international best seller, available for free in electronic format in Bulgarian as a gift for Bulgarian readers. In 2021, he went on a Book Rock Tour to promote If You Meet Buddha Kill Him! in Turkey, Romania, Serbia, and the Republic of North Macedonia. The tour started from North Macedonia, a country with very difficult diplomatic relations with Bulgaria. It was a friendly cultural bridge built by Iliyan, and very well accepted by the Macedonian medias. In Turkey Iliyan book- rock performance was a sensational. The tour aim was also to demonstrate that writing can create experiences like the experiences created in an international rock star tour.  For similar reasons, he announced the organization of a debut novel contest in 2022, with the largest single cash prize for literature ever in Bulgaria, so that the winner would have the opportunity to create for a year instead of having to work elsewhere to support themselves. In Bulgaria, the first book was presented twice- the first was together with British- Bulgarian Business Chamber, the second in a cabaret in two night show.
The second book, even before to be published was more than well accepted by the critique. The most notorious Bulgarian critique and publisher Ivan Granitski, called the book "a happening in the Bulgarian modern literature." and "a rare gem, the most talanted and complete new Bulgarian writer".
Words have power! Yes, they can give strength, they can motivate, they can make us believe in the most difficult moments, they can make us dream... That's what words are to me! Iliyan Kuzmanov
Service with High IQ
Ilian Kuzmanov has been a member of the Society for People with Exceptionally High Intelligence Quotient MENSA since 2004. In the UK and in Bulgaria he has provided his social businesses as a meeting place for intellectually gifted people, of which he is a bright representative. Which in between can be seen in his highly distinctive signature in everything he does.
Broadcast on Europe TV (Euronews Bulgaria), together with the President of MENSA, about the difference to be an intelectual genius and the usual problem with self realization.
Balkans Book Rock Tour 2021
The 2021 Book Rock Tour is something never done by a Buglar writer, especially during a time of pandemic and political crises. Ilian Kuzmanov shows that a writer can be like a true Rock Star and Rock and Roll Kissinger! Over 500 people in the audience, five countries, and all this happening in the Balkans. Someone had called it 21st Century Cultural Diplomacy...
"It was important for me, as is the content of the book, to break frames and stereotypes, as well as to provoke thinking. A stereotype is Macedonia for Bulgaria! As well as the inculcated post-Soviet mentality that our neighbours are hostile, just like the whole West. And with my debut, I succeeded first in the West, as in my life, by the way. From scratch, I might add! That we started with Macedonia. The place is great; the people are extremely cool, open, modern and creative. In just a few days, through a non-ideological book, I reached a bunch of young people who were super nice and interesting. But this is the way - casual, friendly, interesting, modern not only for Macedonia and our other neighbours, but for anyone outside. And not to hate each other and turn us against each other, the same ones who kept us in fear and subjugation for decades. It’s time to clean out our closets of inadequate exes, of Post Soviet- notions and start simply enjoying and rejoicing in life. It was a very hard road rock and roll diplomatic experience!"
East London is not a posh area, but that's why everything we do is very Heavy Metal! Some make iron music, others heavy literature.... Just respect for a mate Steve Harris and his Iron Maiden!