• ©Patrick Egan


AFTER WIP invites Velina Minkoff for a debate and signing session of her novel «Le Grand Leader doit venir nous voir»
MON 25.02.2019 / 18:30
In the context of: Word in Progress
Language: Français / Anglais
In collaboration with: Work in progress Paris
Partner(s): Café littéraire Le Bovary
Box office: Entrée libre

The After-WIP is the natural offspring of Word In Progress (WIP). While during the WIP sessions the audience had a chance to listen to excerpts of a text in the making, they can now discover the whole published piece.  The evening features readings by the author, a moderated talk, and a unique opportunity to discuss with the author, buy the book and have it signed. 

Velina Minkoff was invited for an English-language WIP in May 2017, where she read excerpts from The Red and Blue Report of the Green Amoeba, her own English version/translation of her debut novel, originally written in Bulgarian and published in Bulgaria by Colibri in 2015 (Доклад на зелената амеба за химическия молив, or “The Report of the Green Amoeba about the chemical pencil.”) In 2018, the novel was published by Actes Sud, translated from the English version into French by Patrick Maurus.

  • Doors open: 6.30 pm
  • Reading and debate: 7.30 pm
  • Café littéraire Le Bovary, 1 rue de Laroche, L-1918 Luxembourg
  • Reservation recommended. Café littéraire Le Bovary, tél: 27 29 50 15.

Velina Minkoff was born in 1974 in Sofia, Bulgaria. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from UCLA with a track in Creative Writing – Fiction, and a Master’s degree in European Studies from the University of Amsterdam with a track in European culture and history. She started writing short stories within the UCLA Creative Writing Fiction program under David Wong Louie, Carolyn See and Aimee Bender. In 2000, her novella Iodine came out in four consecutive installments in Split Peas – Fiction and Photography, and her story The Old Woman (later included in the short story collection Red Shorts) received the Harry Kurnitz Creative Writing Award.

Velina is the author of a collection of short stories and a novel. Her collection of short stories entitled Red Shorts came out in English by Colibri Publishers in 2001. Her debut novel The Red and Blue Report of the Green Ameba appeared in Bulgarian by the same publisher in 2015. That same year, her short story Rat came out in English in Vagabond magazine, and her story Church was included in the fifth edition of GRANTA Bulgaria. In 2014, Velina was awarded a Sozopol Fiction Seminars fellowship by the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation.

Over the years, Velina has translated several books, plays, films, poems and short stories to and from English and Bulgarian. She was selected as a participant in the Translators’ Atelier Workshop of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation for three years in a row and is a member of the Bulgarian Translators’ Union.


Velina lives in Paris, where she teaches English, freelances as a translator and editor, and is currently working on a short story collection in the Bulgarian language, which will include her own translations of shorts stories she originally wrote in English.

Le Grand Leader doit venir nous voir (Editions Actes Sud): Summer, 1989: Alexandra is a fascinating Bulgarian teenager that unexpectedly finds herself halfway around the world, in an international pioneer summer camp in North Korea among comrades from all the socialist states. Impervious to the political changes beginning to happen in her native country, she discovers a dream-like Korea, enjoys meeting other young people, falls in love and even when the obligations of pioneer life annoy her, she convinces herself to go on because the Great Leader could very well come visit that day. It is a slightly grown-up Alexandra that comes back home to Sofia, only to find the Bulgarian political system collapsing. The fall of communism in Eastern Europe is imminent and her world will never be the same. Thirty years later, Alexandra’s 1989 Korean adventure triggers a myriad of existential questions that her naïveté makes all the more hilarious to the reader.

With the support of

  • Consulat Honoraire de la République de Bulgarie
  • Association bulgare au Luxembourg a.s.b.l. (BGLUX)
  • Club Gaïda
  • Le café littéraire Le Bovary
  • The Alinea bookstore will be present and provide copies of “Le Grand Leader vient nous voir” for purchase.