A Voyage into Alchemy


Set in the valley of the Mesta, one of the oldest inhabited river valleys in Europe and a nexus for wild plant gatherers, Elixir is an unforgettable exploration of the deep connections between people, plants and place.

Pre-order Kapka Kassabova’s new book, Anima: A Wild Pastoral, now

‘Kassabova had me under her spell from page one’


Over several seasons, Kapka Kassabova spends time with the men and women of this magical region. She witnesses their rare knowledge, not only of mountain plants and the ancient practice of herbalism, but also of how to transform collective suffering into healing. Elixir is, at its heart, an urgent, hopeful call to rethink how we live – in relation to one another, and to the world around us.

* Longlisted for the Highland Book Prize 2023 *

‘Dark and mysterious and beautiful’

‘Uplifting and beautifully written’



  • The mark of a good book is that it changes you. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Nan Shepherd, Robin Wall Kimmerer and Jay Griffiths have all wielded that power over me, but I’ve rarely been so aware of an internal change being wrought, word by word, as I have these past days immersed in Kapka Kassabova’s alchemical prose. I fancy she had me under her spell from page one
    Guardian, *Book of Day*

About the author

Kapka Kassabova

Kapka Kassabova is a poet and prose writer and, most recently, the author of Elixir (2023), To the Lake (2020) and Border (2017). Border won a British Academy Prize, the Scottish Book of the Year, Stanford-Dolman Travel Book of the Year, the Highland Book Prize and the Prix Nicholas Bouvier. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The French edition of To the Lake won the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger (non-fiction). Kassabova grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria, and studied in New Zealand. Today she lives by a river in the Scottish Highlands. Anima is the final book in her Balkan quartet exploring the relationship between humans and their environment, following Border, To the Lake, and Elixir.
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