Minkoff, Velina

Minkoff, Velina

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Biography

Velina Minkoff was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UCLA with a track in Creative Writing Fiction, and a Master of Arts in European Studies from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) with a track in European culture and history. She is a graduate of the ?cole de Traduction Litt?raire at the Centre National du Livre in Paris, France with a thesis in autotraduction (self-translation).

She started writing short stories in English within the UCLA Creative Writing Fiction program under David Wong Louie, Carolyn See and Aimee Bender. Her story The Old Woman received the Harry Kurnitz Award in Los Angeles, CA.

She is the author of a short story collection in English, Red Shorts (Colibri, Bulgaria, 2001) and a novel in Bulgarian, (The Red and Blue Report of the Green Amoeba, Colibri, Bulgaria, 2015.) Her debut novel (self-translated) was shortlisted in the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation contest for the publication of a contemporary Bulgarian novel into English by Open Letter Books in Rochester, New York. Velina is co-translator, with translation professor Patrick Maurus, of the French version of her novel, published in France as Le Grand Leader doit venir nous voir (The Great Leader Must Come See Us, Actes sud, France, 2018.

Her Bulgarian language short story collection, (Full-bush Brazilian, Colibri, Bulgaria, 2018) contains her own translations of several stories she originally wrote in English. It was nominated for the Portal Kultura literary awards and received the special prize of the Yordan Radichkov National Literary Award. Her short story collection Les Shorts Rouges (The Red Shorts, H?misph?res, France, 2020) introduced her French translations of stories she had written in both English and Bulgarian.

In 2014, Velina was awarded a Sozopol Fiction Seminars fellowship by the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation. She is a member of the French Soci?t? des Gens de Lettres. Besides English and French, her work has been published in Hungarian, Greek, Turkish, and Persian. Her stories have appeared in Literaturen Forum, Literaturen Vestnik, GRANTA Bulgaria, Spisanie Mor?, Textil, Haemus, N?bettepe, Jenata Dnes, ARTizanin, Almanach Ogosta, Vagabond, Split Peas Fiction &Photography, Drunken Boat, Exchanges Literary Journal, Public Republic, WIP: Litt?rature sans filtre, Mandragoras, Eurolitkrant, Magyar Lettre Internationale, etc., and are part of the anthologies 90- (Stories from the 90s, ICU, Bulgaria, 2019), After Communism (Hirmand Publications, Iran, 2020), (My Wedding Dress, Colibri, Bulgaria, 2020) and (Bulgaria: Advanced Level, Colibri, Bulgaria, 2020.)

Velina lives in Paris, where she freelances as a translator, editor, lecturer, and writer. She is currently a doctoral candidate in translation of Bulgarian Literature at the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO).

Excerpts

Contact

  • Velina Minkoff:
    E-mail: velinaminkoff@gmail.com
  • Colibri Publishers:
    E-mail: colibri@colibri.bg
    Phone: +359 879 063 217
  • Colibri Bookstores:
    Address #1: 36 Ivan Vazov Street, Sofia
    Phone: +359 2 988 87 81
    Address #2: 3 Slaveykov Square, Sofia (French Cultural Institute)
    Phone: +359 2 937 79 19

Related Links

+359 879 063 217
Colibri Bookstore
36 Ivan Vazov Street, Sofia
+359 2 988 87 81
French Cultural Institute
3 Slaveykov Square, Sofia
+359 2 937 79 19
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Mogilska, Ivanka

Mogilska, Ivanka

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Biography

Ivanka Mogilska was born in 1981. She is the author of the poetry collections DNA; (Publishing House Janet 45, 2004), awarded with a prize for debut, and Otherwize (Janet 45, 2010), awarded with the National Prize for Literature Vladimir Bashev; the novels Hideaways (Janet 45, 2010), and Sudden Streets (Janet 45, 2013); the short story collections This Land, That Land and Ordinary Miracles (Janet 45, 2017, 2023) and the children’s book Colorful Soap Balloons (Janet 45, 2022).

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Nemchev, Vergil

Nemchev, Vergil

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Biography

Vergil Nemchev

Born in 1970, Vergil Nemchev belongs to the generation that came of age as the Iron Curtain tumbled across Europe and the Transition Period kicked off in Bulgaria. Over the turbulent years that followed, Nemchev changed a series ofjobs, including a prolonged experience in the casino business and a year of service in the army until in the late 1990s, when he was out of the barracks and in for some serious writing. His first book was a collection of short stories calledThe Big Pampering (Janet 45, 2002) with an abridged English-language version released by the Dublin-based publisher Scotus. Nemchev win the Rashko Sugarev literary prize for his short story Lily. His first novelRadio a Novel was released in 2007 (Janet 45). Nemchevs collection of short stories,The Superfluous Part, was also published by Janet 45.

Among a number of other books, Nemchev has translated for the Bulgarian reader several important titles such asMockingbird Wish Me Luck by Charles Bukowski (in collaboration with Yavor Nemchev), Jack HartesBirds and Selected Stories,Reflections in a Tar Barrel andIn the Wake of the Bagger, Hunter S. ThompsonsFear and Loathing in Las Vegas,And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks by Jack Kerouac and William S. Burrows,Juliet Naked by Nick Hornby, Jack KerouacsLonesome Traveler etc.

More recent essays and stories by Nemchev are available in Liberal Review (http://librev.com/index.php/2013-02-15-21-42-52/users/vergil).

Vergil Nemchev lives and works in Sofia.

Synopses

Synopsis of the novel Radio by Vergil Nemchev

The book is set in the period September 1996 April 1997, the so-called Videnov Winter in Bulgaria, when inflation soared to unprecedented levels, reducing peoples income to mere cents. In the autumn of 1996, four young people get involved in a gaming scam at a Sofia casino, run by English managers. Two of the four the men named Kosyo (the boss) and Dinko (Dizzy) are former classmates from a prestigious school in a provincial city. The female characters, Maria (Mimmy) and Victoria (Vicky) are two girls from Sofia. All four are employed at the casino with Kosyo holding the highest position pit-boss Dizzy and Maria being inspectors and Vicky a cashier. The scam, masterminded by Kosyo, involves interaction between the four and a fifth participant the customer, who needs to be a regular, inconspicuous casino player. The role is entrusted to an elderly Lebanese businessman and an immigrant of sorts, named Abu Naji, aka Djibouti. The conspirators eventually perform a series of more or less elaborate gaming scams intended to redirect substantial amounts of money from the casino.

In a troubled, miserable and impoverished time for the people in Bulgaria, the scamsters feel no moral restraint in stealing from the rich in order to support themselves and their families and tend to regard their dealings as an adventure rather than as a serious crime. The easy money soon produces its inebriating effect on the young people and they all succumb in their own ways to it. After a successful and enthusiastic start, the deal gradually falls apart. Eventually the management finds out about the deal but is only aware of Kosyo, Maria and Abu Naji as part of it and the three are respectively thrashed, sacked, banned from the casino or all of the above.

Meanwhile, Kosyo undergoes a painful ending to his relationship with Katya a student and young radio journalist. He shows his jealousy and sees his love fading away in indifference and contempt. Soon the deal, too, is destroyed, taking away yet another prop from under his confidence, he is left without his well-paid, responsible and respected job and without his secret organization and source of income. Later we see Kosyo stalking his ex-girlfriend, whom hes still obsessed with, outside the National Radio where she works. He sees Katya get into her bosss car (the man who had previously provoked Kosyos jealousy), drives after them, hits their car and escapes. Hours later he crashes his own car in a mountain road accident and suffers serious injuries. In one of the several quartet chapters in the book that see all four characters from different aspects, the reader sees Kosyo on New Years eve at his parents home in the country, and it becomes clear that his relationship with his parents has been shattered, too. In the final quartet chapter we see an embittered Kosyo break with his friends and former scam-mates Maria, Dizzy and Vicky. Discouraged by a fast series of failures, seized by remorse, facing a pending summons to join the army for 18 months, Kosyo lapses into drinking and drugs. The last chapter (32) sees him completely alone, down at heart, nursing vaguely suicidal ideas. He has just come down the mountain from a brave venture outside his home for a well forgotten passion hiking when he hears Katyass voice over the radio in some cafeteria and the encounter proves sufficient for a major breakdown with a possibly fatal outcome.

Dizzy and Vicky hang on to their jobs. However, the deal is dead and the plot follows the separate paths of the former conspirators, eventually revealing Abu Najis unexpected and violent death. The old Arab has, for most of the deal, been making plans to return to his home in Lebanon. However, he has some unsettled debts in Bulgaria he needs to take care of first. His dream of going back to his fathers home in Beirut, which has been ruined in the war and where his young wife died, remains only a dream, and one night, on his return from the casino he is attacked just inside his block of flats. The attempted mugging goes wrong and the old gambler is killed and never returns to his native country.

The concluding chapters see Maria going to Italy with her boyfriend an Italian businessman named Carlo, while Dizzy is set for Ireland, where he intends to continue his education. Maria, who is represented as the most practical of the young four, has invested all her savings in a country house near Sofia, but in the end feels compelled to leave the bleak atmosphere of her native country for a presumably sunnier and easier life in Italy.

Vicky stays on in Bulgaria and in the casino, pregnant and reconciled with her boyfriend a heavy drinking mechanic. Vicky has been the subject of Dinkos unspoken affection.

In clear contrast to his friend and boss, Dizzy is seen as a man whose doubts and moral restraints prevent him from instantly taking what he wants. At different times the reader sees Dizzy frustrated at his last futile effort to restore his students rights and resume studies, haunted by his mothers reproachful words; the character often undertakes conscious, detailed introspections, seeking to unravel certain social, ethical and everyday issues. However, the end of book sees him on a plane flying away from Bulgaria, but focused on Bulgarian political and social issues, clearly without a trace of non-return bitterness. Dinkos inner conflict lies in the fact that he doesnt mind being part of a criminal operation such as a casino swindle, but he still feels opposed to the ethics of the hit and run mentality. He seems more concerned with the general state of affairs in society that directly matter to his closer relations (his sick father and his worried mother) and to the people in general, than with his own welfare and the dubious advantages of being a player.

The book features a number of minor characters from inside and outside casino life, as well as some separate stories, characteristic of the realities and the time of the plot, that are told as seen through the eyes of the main characters.

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Nenov, Stoyan

Nenov, Stoyan

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Biography

Stoyan Nenov graduated in Bulgarian philology from Sofia University, where he also earned a masters degree in literature and creative writing. In 2011, he won first prize in the fiction contest of Literaturen Vestnik (Literary Newspaper). That

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Nikiforov, Galin

Nikiforov, Galin

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Biography

Galin Nikiforov, born in 1968, is a Bulgarian novelist. He graduated from the Technical University of Plovdiv and the Economic University of Varna. He has worked as an engineer in industry since 1993. Galin lives and writes in Dobrich,

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Nikolov, Momchil

Nikolov, Momchil

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Biography

Momchil Nikolov (b. 1970) graduated in medicine, but for the past fifteen years has been primarily dedicated to writing. He has published eight books: Travelers (a novella), Short Stories, Fragments of a Room (short stories), Mad Doris (short

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