Born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1965. In 1971 his parents fled with him through Yugoslavia and Italy to Germany, where they gained political asylum. A year later, the family moved to Kenya. He grew up in Nairobi from 1972 to 1984, apart from a three year period in Germany. Studied law and ethnology in Munich. In 1989, he founded the Marino Publishing House focusing on African literature. In 1998, he moved to Bombay and in 2003 to Cape Town. Since 2008 he has been based in Vienna. Since his first novel, Die Welt ist groß und Rettung lauert überall (It’s A Big World and Salvation Lurks Everywhere) he has published twenty books in different genres (novel, travelogue, reportage, political essay), five of which have been translated into Spanish. His most successful novel Der Weltensammler (The Collector of Worlds) has been translated into 30 languages. He has received numerous literary awards and has taught as a visiting professor at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Deutsches Literaturinstitut in Leipzig, at Washington University in St. Louis, the Film Academy in Vienna, the New York University and Dartmouth College, USA. He is a board member of the German PEN.