Miroslav Penkov

Miroslav Penkov

The protégé

Published in 2014

Bulgarian-born writer Miroslav Penkov wants to “give voice to a voiceless people” by allowing the world to read about Bulgaria, and for the people of Bulgaria to start reading local literature again, after years of being mired in economic crisis. An Assistant Professor of English in the Creative Writing Program at the University of North Texas, Penkov first came to the U.S. at age 19 to study psychology at the University of Arkansas. He ultimately received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2009, after short story writer and professor Ellen Gilchrist recognized his talents and encouraged him to keep writing. Penkov’s first story collection, East of the West: A Country in Stories (2011), won the BBC International Short Story Award 2012, among other prizes. His story Blood Money (Granta, 2013) covers racial intolerance in Bulgaria. For the past two years, he has been working on a novel, Nominalia of the Imaginary Khans. He perceives his books, written in English and Bulgarian, as links in a single chain. Penkov calls his mentorship with Michael Ondaatje “synchronistic”, and looks forward to learning from his favourite contemporary novelist writing in English.