The Palace of Dreams is a novel set in the Ottoman empire but used by the Albanian writer Ismail Kadare to reflect on the totalitarian state. Lea Ypi has been reading the novel which was banned two weeks after publication in 1981, but it had already sold out. Matthew Sweet looks at this and other examples of fiction exploring dreams, power and bureaucracy from Kafka to Dickens and Gospodinov. This Bulgarian novelist won the 2023 International Booker prize for his novel Time Shelter, which New Generation Thinker Mirela Ivanova has been reading. Also joining the conversation is Roger Luckhurst, Professor at Birkbeck University London who studies literature, film and cultural history.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

Lea Ypi is a Professor at the London School of Economics and the author of Free: Coming of Age at the End of History. You can hear her discussing the culture of Albania in a previous Free Thinking episode
Professor Roger Luckhurst’s books include Gothic: an illustrated history; Corridors – passages of modernity; Science Fiction: a Literary History
Mirela Ivanova teaches at the University of Sheffield. You can hear her in a Free Thinking discussion of Slavic Myths
Georgi Gospodinov (born 1968) is a Bulgarian novelist, poet and playwright. Time Shelter translated by Angela Rodel is his most recent novel.