Sali Ibrahim (Сали Ибрахим, Снежана Иванова/Snezhana Ivanova, b. 1950) is a Bulgarian Romni from the Sofia Erli community of ‘Fakulteta’, one of the biggest Romani neighbourhoods in the Balkans. The author of eight volumes of poetry and other works in both Bulgarian and Romani, Sali prefers to identify herself as a Bulgarian poet of Romani heritage, thus stressing the importance of belonging to the Bulgarian literary landscape.

Indeed, Sali is the first Bulgarian Romni to publish her own collection of poems and to be involved in mainstream literary circles: she is a member of the Association of Bulgarian Writers; her first poetry collections were published by mainstream publishers; and she is involved in informal literary circles of famous Bulgarian writers, for example Radoy Ralin, a Bulgarian dissident, poet and satirist.

Like most Romani writers, Sali has been involved in Romani activism at both the national and the international level. Although she focuses as an activist on promoting Romani culture and literature though various artistic endeavours she also participated in the parliament of the International Romani Union and was involved in organising meetings between Romani representatives and politicians (for example, Petar Stoyanov, who was Bulgarian president from 1997 to 2002).

Sali was editor-in-chief of the newspaper Gypsy Rai/Romano Devleti (published in 1998) and the journal Romance (published in 2005), manager of the Fakulteta-based Cultural Centre ‘Elit’ (established in 2002) and a senior specialist at the Sofia municipal office (2000–2006). As a promoter of Romani culture at an international level, she has presented Romani writers from around the world on the pages of the periodicals she has edited.

Sali Ibrahim’s creative languages are both Bulgarian and Romani, but the majority of her works were written and published in Bulgarian. Her poems have been translated for Romani collections in Spanish, Polish and Serbian.

Selected bibliography

Ибрахим, Сали. 1993. Космична любов. София: Литературен форум. [Ibrahim, Sali. Kosmična ljubov. Sofia: Literaturen forum.]

Ибрахим, Сали. 1993. Гривна за Ева. София: Литературен форум. [Ibrahim, Sali. Grivna za Eva. Sofia: Literaturen forum.]

Ибрахим, Сали. 2001. Короната на битието. София: Scorpion. Ibrahim, Sali. Koronata na bitieto:. Sofia: Scorpion.

Ibrahim, Sali. 2004. Romani mitologiya. Sofia: Elit.

Ibrahim, Sali. 2009. Цигански видения. Романе елпиня. Ciganski videnija. Romane elpinja. Sofia: Elit.