Ilija Trojanow was born in Bulgaria, but his family left the country when he was very young and he has lived all over the world. He writes in German, and has always published his books under the name ‘Ilija Trojanow’.
Of course, Bulgarian is written in Cyrillic letters, and were one to transliterate his name from those into English one would do so differently than into German: the German w is the English v-sound, and a y is the obvious choice where the Germans use j. And, apparently seeking to get the pronunciation right, Faber is publishing The Collector of Worlds as by: Ilya Troyanov. Which does give English-speaking readers a better idea of how to pronounce his name.
The problem with this is that Ilya Troyanov is better-known as—indeed, very well known as: Ilija Trojanow. Even in the English-speaking world.
Two of his books have even been published in English translation—Mumbai To Mecca and Along the Ganges (get your copy at Amazon.com)—and they were published under the name: Ilija Trojanow.
When he appeared at the PEN World Voices festival last year it was as: Ilija Trojanow. (See now The Messiness of Now, an adapted version of his conversation at the festival now up at the PEN site, which is where we learned about the forthcoming translation.)
Perhaps most obviously to the point, in this Internet age, consider the Google results for the searches of his name:
* “Ilya Troyanov”: “30 results”
* “Ilija Trojanow”: “about 46,300”
You think maybe anyone who goes looking for information about this new Faber-author “Ilya Troyanov” on the Internet might wind up missing something?
My first reaction was “of course it should be Ilya Troyanov in English!” but as I read on I realized that, though it would have made sense for his first English publisher to have retransliterated the name, by now it’s pretty silly, and if his preferred transliteration makes it difficult for English-speakers to say his name correctly, that’s just the way Troy crumbles. (I added the alternate transliteration to his Wikipedia page; we’ll see if it stays. Oh, and by now “Ilya Troyanov” gets over 900 hits.)