East of the West
Farrar Straus and Giroux
Miroslav Penkov
“East of the West”

“East of the West” is the title story from Miroslav Penkov’s debut collection, EAST OF THE WEST: A COUNTRY IN STORIES (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011).  His stories have won The Southern Review’s Eudora Welty Prize and have appeared in, or are forthcoming, from A Public Space, One Story, The Sunday Times, The Best American Short Stories 2008, and The 2012 PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories.  Penkov teaches creative writing at the University of North Texas, where he is a fiction editor for the American Literary Review.   His first novel, STORK MOUNTAIN, was published in 2016. He was born in Bulgaria and his work can be found at www.miroslavpenkov.com.


Kirkus Reviews called the collection “An unapologetic love letter to a culture of many colors.”


Penkov said this about his story: I wrote “East of the West” during my time at the University of Arkansas’ creative writing program. I had already lived in Arkansas for five years and because I didn’t own a car, and because I was restricted to life on campus my feelings of nostalgia were reaching a dangerous depth. But in writing I was free and could travel across ocean and time unimpeded. I wanted to write a story about those Bulgarians who, at the will of the Great Powers, were severed from our country, and who inevitably will lose, if they haven’t already, their sense of being Bulgarian. At the same time, I wanted to write a story about myself, abroad and alone, with a huge body of water between me and the people I love.

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