A new novel about Fuerteventura

A new novel about Fuerteventura, ‘She, the island’, by the Bulgarian writer Irina Papancheva is now on Amazon . The book was initially published in Bulgarian in 2017 by Trud publishing house.

Irina's research

Irina did a two-year research on Fuerteventura in order to write her polyphonic novel which depicts both fictional characters and historical figures, including the Spanish philosopher and writer Miguel de Unamuno and his exile on the island in 1924, the teacher Esperanza Godé and her student Chanita Suárez, the German Gustav Winter, the centenarian Carmen.

‘I arrived to Fuerteventura in January 2014 with a certain idea about the plot but the people I met there and the stories I discovered inspired me to add more storylines and voices. Particularly important were the meetings with the photographer Emiliyan Draganov as well as with Daniela Valcheva and Evelyna Todorova, with Concha Maria Fleitas Perdomo from the cultural association Raíz del Pueblo whose insights and support during my research have been invaluable and with the centenarian Carmen, who, sadly, passed away before the book was published,’ Irina Papancheva said.

Irina Papancheva

About the book

In ‘She, the island’, the paths of two couples - Marina and Gerard and the younger surfers, Carla and Gerd - cross on Fuerteventura. They meet a writer who is working on a novel about the exile of Miguel de Unamuno. The writer soon finds herself lost in the labyrinth of their complex relations. She escapes by returning to her book and by travelling the island, absorbing its landscapes, history and culture. The various stories from Fuerteventura’s past and present turn it into a main character.

“She, the island’ is a wonderful evocation. Beautifully drawn depictions of real people and events from the history of the Fuerteventura are interwoven with fictional characters who are in love with surfing, writing and love itself. The island is a protagonist, a mysterious siren who captures souls. The book is drenched in enchantment,” says the Welsh poet Phil Madden who is one of the editors of the English version of the book.

About the author Irina Papancheva was born in the Bulgarian city of Burgas. She holds an MA in Czech language and literature from Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and in European Politics and Social Integration from Vrije Universitet Brussel (VUB). She is the author of the illustrated children’s book ‘I Stutter’ (Ciela, 2005), the short novel ‘Almost Intimately’ (Kronos, 2007), the novels ‘Annabel’ (Janet 45, 2010), ‘Pelican Feather’ (Janet 45, 2013) and ‘She, the island’ (Trud, 2017) and the novella ‘Welcome Nathan!’ (Fast Print Books, 2019) as well as of short stories and the play ‘About a hippo’ (2016). Her work has been published in English, French, Arabic and Persian. She, the island is available now on Amazon

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