BBC International Short Story Award. Penkov's story, "East of the West," from his 2011 debut short story collection of the same name, "explores the difficulties of love, relationships and identity in a region ridden with conflict," according to the contest's organizers.
"East of the West" is the story of a village, divided by a river and by the harsh realities of the Cold War. To the east is Bulgaria, home of a boy known as Nose, and to the west is the home of his cousin, a more liberal land where one can buy blue jeans and Adidas sports shoes. Every five years the authorities allow the villagers to reunite for a feast, where the cousins can dream and plan for freedom and a different future.