Miroslav Penkov - Stork Mountain - Hodder & Stoughton

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  • Hardback £18.99
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    • ISBN:9781473622180
    • Publication date:10 Mar 2016
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    • ISBN:9781473622203
    • Publication date:09 Mar 2017

Stork Mountain

By Miroslav Penkov

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A captivating, slyly brilliant debut by the award-winning author of East of the West

In his mesmerising first novel, the internationally celebrated short-story writer Miroslav Penkov spins the intriguing tale of an American student who returns to Bulgaria, the country he left as a child. His mission is to track down his grandfather and to find out why he suddenly cut off all contact with the family three years before.

The trail leads him to a remote village on the border with Turkey, a stone's throw away from Greece, high up in the Strandja Mountains - a place of pagan mysteries and storks nesting in giant oaks; a place where every spring, possessed by Christian saints, men and women dance barefoot across live coals in search of rebirth. Here in the mountains, he is drawn by his grandfather into a maze of half-truths. And here, he falls in love with an unobtainable Muslim girl. Old ghosts come back to life and forgotten conflicts blaze anew, until the past finally yields up its plangent secrets.

Biographical Notes

Miroslav Penkov was born in 1982 in Bulgaria. He moved to the United States in 2001 on a scholarship to study psychology at the University of Arkansas, where he subsequently gained an MFA in creative writing.

His stories have won the 2012 BBC International Short Story Award and The Southern Review's Eudora Welty Prize and have appeared in journals and anthologies including Granta, The Best American Short Stories (edited by Salman Rushdie and Heidi Pitlor) and The PEN / O. Henry Prize Stories 2012. Published in more than a dozen countries, his collection East of the West was a finalist for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and the Steven Turner Award for Best Work of First Fiction.

Penkov teaches creative writing at the University of North Texas, where he is the editor-in-chief of the American Literary Review.

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  • ISBN: 9781473622197
  • Publication date: 10 Mar 2016
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  • Imprint: Sceptre
An intelligently mapped plot complements the skilful blend of familial relationships with religious commentary . . . This is a historically rich study of borders: those imposed by cartography and those that are self-constructed. — Zoë Apostolides, Financial Times
Penkov uses classic narrative forms as a springboard for a dark, dreamlike debut novel steeped in Balkan history and legend . . . The characters' lives are beautifully interwoven with ancient tales and family histories, all deeply rooted in the landscape of the Strandja Mountains, home of black storks, fire dancers, and worshippers of pagan saints . . . a beautiful and haunting novel — Hilary Rice, Chicago Review of Books
To the honor roll of the Bulgarian literary diaspora, add Miroslav Penkov, who writes sumptuous English . . . what the Great Bulgarian Novel could be if it could be rendered in English. — Stephen G Kellman, Dallas Morning News
Wildly ambitious . . . thoughtful and thought-provoking, with a passionate faith in the redemptive powers of art. — Wendy Smith, Boston Globe
[A] searing, heartfelt novel . . . rich, enmeshing the personal with the political and historical, told in strange and vertiginous language that seems fitting for a tale of such passion. — Publishers Weekly
A Bulgarian Don Quixote fighting windmills, his Sancho Panza a lost American grandson, and Dulcinea a Turk overfond of smoking dope. Add a smattering of Christian firewalkers, a touch of Muslim clerics, thousands of hysterical storks who deliver more secrets than babies. What you get is a marvel of a novel. Penkov has written a rollicking, poignant delight. — Rabih Alameddine, National Book Award Finalist and author of An Unnecessary Woman.
I can't speak to Miroslav Penkov's standing among Bulgarian novelists, but now that I've read STORK MOUNTAIN, it is easy to say that Penkov is my favorite novelist publishing in America. — Kyle Minor, author of Praying Drunk
Miroslav Penkov writes with warmth, wit and emotional precision, and STORK MOUNTAIN is a gorgeous and big-hearted novel that manages to be both a page-turning adventure story and a nuanced meditation on the meaning of home . . . a fantastic book. — Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans
STORK MOUNTAIN is a timely novel when Europe - its entangled past and its uncertain future - occupies the headlines; it is a timeless tale too about the undying and undead, about dreams not paled by reality, and above all, about a young man's search for an answer by searching for the right question. What a tremendous achievement from one of the best young international writers. — Yiyun Li, author of Kinder Than Solitude
Sceptre

East of the West

Miroslav Penkov
Authors:
Miroslav Penkov

Julie Corbin

Julie Corbin is Scottish and grew up just outside Edinburgh. She has lived in East Sussex for the last twenty-five years and raised her three sons in a village close to the Ashdown Forest. She is trained as a nurse and combines running the medical department in a boarding school with writing novels, short stories and currently a radio play.Her psychological thrillers have been described as 'creepy and gripping' (Closer) and 'remarkably assured... suspenseful narrative' (Daily Mail)She speaks at writing events, book groups and libraries, and runs writing workshops for beginners and more experienced writers.Visit Julie's website at www.juliecorbin.com and follow her on Twitter @Julie_Corbin

Karen Campbell

Karen Campbell is a former police officer who lives in Glasgow with her family. She began writing in earnest on the renowned Glasgow University Creative Writing course.www.karencampbell.co.ukwww.twitter.com/writerkcampbell

Karen Robards

Karen Robards is the internationally bestselling author of over forty romantic suspense novels, which have regularly appeared on the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists, among others. She is the mother of three boys and lives with her family in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.You can find out more at www.karenrobards.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorKarenRobards or follow her on Twitter @TheKarenRobards.

Kate Fenton

Kate Fenton was born in Oldham and educated in Cheshire, Manchester and St Hilda's College, Oxford. As a BBC features and documentaries producer she worked for Radio Wales, the World Service and Radio 4. She lives on the North York Moors with her husband, actor Ian Carmichael. To find out more, visit Kate's website, www.katefenton.com.

Kate Jacobs

Kate Jacobs left her native Canada to earn a graduate degree at New York University - and made her home in Manhattan for a decade, where she worked at Redbook, Working Woman, Family Life and LifetimeTV.com. Currently she lives in Southern California with her husband.

Katie MacAlister

For as long as she can remember, Katie MacAlister has loved reading. Growing up in a family where a weekly visit to the library was a given, Katie spent much of her time with her nose buried in a book. Despite her love for novels, she didn't think of writing them until she was contracted to write a non-fiction book about software. Since her editor refused to allow her to include either witty dialogue or love scenes in the software book, Katie swiftly resolved to switch to fiction, where she could indulge in world building, tormenting characters, and falling madly in love with all her heroes. Two years after she started writing novels, Katie sold her first romance, Noble Intentions. More than thirty books later, her novels have been translated into numerous languages, been recorded as audiobooks, received several awards, and placed on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. She also writes for the young adult audience as Katie Maxwell.Katie lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and dogs, and can often be found lurking around online.Contact KatieYou can write to Katie at katie@katiemacalister.com or via snail mail at:Katie MacAlisterc/o Three Seas Literary AgencyPO Box 8571Madison, WI 53708, USA

Kay Langdale

Kay Langdale is the author of five novels: Away From You, Choose Me, Her Giant Octopus Moment, What the Heart Knows (Rowohlt, Germany) and Redemption (Transita; published as If Not Love by Thomas Dunne Books.) Visit Kay's website at www.kaylangdale.com. Follow her on Twitter: @KayLangdale.

Kevin Brockmeier

Kevin Brockmeier lives in Arkansas, USA. His short stories have won many awards. THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEAD is his first novel to be published in the UK.

Lou Wakefield

Born and brought up in Leicester, Lou Wakefield is a writer, director and actor. Highlights of her eclectic career include being in the original cast of TOP GIRLS at the Royal Court and the Public Theatre in New York; playing Janet in the ROCKY HORROR SHOW at the King's Road Theatre in 1975, and Jackie Woodstock in THE ARCHERS. TV appearances include INSIDE OUT, MORSE, THE BILL and CASUALTY. Amongst her many television productions, she has directed CORONATION STREETand BROOKSIDE. She wrote the award winning FIRM FRIENDS for ITV, and co-writes the highly successful Ladies of Letters for BBC Radio 4, which stars Prunella Scales and Patricia Routledge.

Lucy Dillon

Lucy Dillon was born in Cumbria. She won the Romantic Novelists' Association Novel of the Year Award in 2010 for Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts, and is the bestselling author of four other novels: The Ballroom Class, Walking Back to Happiness, The Secret of Happy Ever After and A Hundred Pieces of Me. Lucy now divides her time between London and the Wye Valley where she enjoys walking in the Malvern Hills with her basset hounds, Violet and Bonham. You can follow her on Twitter @lucy_dillon or on Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/LucyDillonBooks.

Mandasue Heller

Mandasue Heller was born in Cheshire and moved to Manchester in 1982. She spent ten years living in the notorious Hulme Crescents which have since become the background to her novels. Not only is she a talented writer, but she has also sung in cabaret and rock groups, seventies soul cover bands and blues jam bands.www.facebook.com/mandasue.hellerwww.twitter.com/mandasueheller

Marina Fiorato

Marina Fiorato is half-Venetian. She was born in Manchester and raised in the Yorkshire Dales. She is a history graduate of Oxford University and the University of Venice, where she read for a master's degree in Shakespeare. After university she studied art and worked in the film and music industries, creating visuals for U2, The Rolling Stones and the Queen musical We Will Rock You. Her novels Daughter of Siena and Beatrice & Benedick were shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association Historial Fiction Award. Marina was married on the Grand Canal and lives in north London with her husband, son and daughter. You can find out more about Marina and her writing at www.marinafiorato.com and follow her on Twitter @marinafiorato

Martin Davies

Martin Davies grew up in North West England. All his writing is done in cafes, on buses or on tube trains, and an aversion to laptops means that he always works in longhand. He has travelled widely, including in the Middle East and India, and substantial parts of THE UNICORN ROAD were written while travelling through Sicily. He works as a consultant in the broadcasting industry.Translation rights in Martin's books have now been sold in Germany, Sweden, Poland, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Korea, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Holland.

Melissa Hill

Melissa Hill lives with her husband Kevin, their daughter Carrie, and their dog Homer in Blackrock, Co. Dublin. Previous titles, including The Charm Bracelet, Something from Tiffany's, The Truth About You and Please Forgive Me have all been bestsellers, and her books have been translated into twenty-three different languages. She is a Number One bestseller in Ireland and Italy.You can find out more at www.melissahill.info and at www.facebook.com/melissahillbooks or follow Melissa on Twitter @melissahillbks.

Melvyn Bragg

Melvyn Bragg is a writer and broadcaster. His novels include The Hired Man, for which he won the Time/Life Silver Pen Award, Without a City Wall, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, The Soldier's Return, winner of the WHSmith Literary Award, A Son of War and Crossing the Lines, both of which were longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, A Place in England, which was longlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize, and most recently Grace and Mary. He has also written several works of non-fiction, the most recent being The Book of Books about the King James Bible. He lives in London and Cumbria.

Michael Koryta

Michael Koryta's novels have won the LA Times Book Prize and the Great Lakes Book Award and been nominated for the Edgar, Shamus, Quill and Barry awards. A former private investigator and newspaper reporter, he published his first novel at the age of twenty-one. His work has been translated into twenty languages.Visit Michael Koryta's website at www.michaelkoryta.com and follow Michael on Twitter @mjkoryta

Mons Kallentoft

Mons Kallentoft grew up in a working-class household in the provincial town of Linkoping, Sweden, where the Malin Fors series is set. Before becoming a writer, he worked in journalism and is also a keen food critic. His first novel, Pesetas, was awarded the Swedish equivalent of the Whitbread Award. He has been married to Karolina for over 20 years, and they live in Stockholm with their daughter and son.His novels are translated into English by Neil Smith.Visit Mons' website at www.monskallentoft.se and his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MonsKallentoft and follow him on Twitter @Kallentoft

Natasha Solomons

Natasha Solomons is the author of the internationally bestselling Mr Rosenblum's List, The Novel in the Viola, which was chosen for the Richard & Judy Book Club, and The Gallery of Vanished Husbands. Natasha lives in Dorset with her son and her husband with whom she also writes screenplays. Her novels have been translated into 17 languages.

Ned Beauman

Ned Beauman was born in 1985 and lives in London. He has written for Dazed & Confused, AnOther and the Guardian. His debut novel, BOXER, BEETLE was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Desmond Elliot Prize, and won the Writers' Guild Award for Best Fiction Book. Ned Beauman was picked by The Culture Show as one of the 12 Best New British Writers in 2011. His second novel, THE TELEPORTATION ACCIDENT was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012.www.nedbeauman.co.ukwww.nedbeauman.blogspot.co.uk