Alek Popov (born Sofia, Bulgaria, 1966) is one of the most popular contemporary Bulgarian writers, working not only as a novelist but also a dramatist, essayist, and short story writer. His hugely successful first novel, the comic satire Mission London, based on his experiences as a Bulgarian cultural attaché in London, has been translated into sixteen languages. The 2010 film adaptation of the book became the most popular Bulgarian film since the revolution of 1990, and was described by Variety as “a breakthrough phenomenon.”
Alek Popov has won many literary awards, including the Elias Canetti Prize (forThe Black Box), the Helkon Award, the Chudomir Award for satirical prose, the Reading Man Prize, and the Ivan Radoev National Prize for Drama. In 2012, he was elected corresponding member of the Bulgarian Academy of Science in the field of Arts, the youngest member of the Academy to date. He serves on the board of Bulgarian PEN and is part of the editorial body of the literary magazine Granta Bulgaria.
The Black Box, his award-winning second novel, has so far appeared in six languages, including English, and was a bestseller in German translation as well as in its original Bulgarian edition. Palaveevi Sisters in the Storm of History, his third novel, won the Helikon Award for best prose book of 2013 and was translated into German under the title Snow-white and Partisan-red. A tragicomic tale of two well-off girls siphoned in the underground resistance during WWII, the novel was recently adapted for stage with great success.
Angela Rodel is a professional literary translator living and working in Bulgaria. She holds a BA from Yale and an MA from UCLA in linguistics. She received a 2014 NEA translation grant for Georgi Gospodinov’s novel The Physics of Sorrow, as well as a 2010 PEN Translation Fund Grant for Georgi Tenev’s short-story collection Holy Light. Her translations of Milen Ruskov’s novel Thrown into Nature (2011), Zachary Karabashliev’s 18% Gray (2013) and Angel Igov’s A Short Tale of Shame (2013) have been published by Open Letter Books. The UK publishing house Istros Books published her translation of Virginia Zaharieva’s novel Nine Rabbits in 2012; it was rereleased by Black Balloon in the US in 2014.