Last biography of Boris Aprilov, a Bulgarian writer, playwright and satirist.

Posted: 26.05.2012 in Bulgarian literature

Brief biographical details: 1990, Hayfa, Israel.

BORIS APRILOV (Atanas Vassilev Djavkov)

BORIS APRILOV (Atanas Vassilev Djavkov) was born on March 21, 1921 in Malko Tarnovo* – Bulgaria. He grew up and studied in the port city of Burgas*. There, as a student, he wrote and published his first short stories of sailors, fishermen and travelers. Even at school age the newspaper “Burgas Lighthouse*” appointed him as a reporter. Still under the name Atanas Djavkov he began sending humorous stories to the satirical weekly newspaper “Hornet*”q the only one of its kind. Soon the journal summoned him to Sofia and appointed him editor of their cultural department. With his new pen name – Boris Aprilov*, in the following fifteen years he went on to publish his humourous books Concerns, The Height of Insolence, The Chief’s Muffin, Knockout and Pirate Romance. The first of these books was published in only 2000 copies, but the rest went up to 30,000. His kind of humour became a welcome guest in all newspapers and magazines. Boris Aprilov was admitted to the Union of Bulgarian Writers, became a professional and started making a living from royalties and copyrights. He returned back to the themes for the seaside and the fishermen, and soon built his beloved yacht, Ahasver.

Having left the confines of humour, and having dedicated himself mainly to serious fiction, from 1960 onwards he published collections of short stories: “The Sea Belongs to Everyone” “Touch”, “Autumn Dunes”, “The Hour of the Eastern Breeze”,  “Sparta’s Defense” and “A Delicate Mood”. Collections of novelettes: “Four Novelettes”, “Distant Sailing” (containing three novelettes). Novels: “The Overturn” and “Monkey Skin”.

“Crossing the Great Prairie” (selected short stories and novelettes) and his new novels, “The Great Vanity” and “Cyclades” were published in 1991 to coincide with his seventieth birthday.

His novels and novelettes for children and adolescents were published in print-runs of 50,000 to 80,000 copies. The series “The Adventures of Foxie” includes three novels and ten novelettes, and amounts to 1,000 pages. All novelettes have been broadcast on television as animated and puppet theater productions, and the novels as serials. There were also numerous radio adaptations. His books have been published in the USSR, Czechoslovakia, Poland, East Germany and Hungary. One of his novels – “The Adventures of Foxie at Sea” – won the National Prize for Children’s Literature in 1968.

As a playwright Boris Aprilov is known for his plays “The Island”, “The Rain,” “A Ship with Pink Sails”, “Chimi”, “Prairie” and “The Road to Mozambique” (prize-winning). His plays have been performed in theaters all over Bulgaria, each one exceeding a hundred performances. Some of them have been played abroad; “Chimi”, after being staged at eight locations in West Germany, had a hundred performances in London and Liverpool, directed by Paul Herman.

He has written about 30 plays and 40 radio plays for children and young adults. Ten of his plays are played continuously at the moment – both in Bulgaria and East Germany, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, West Germany, Romania, Hungary. Some of them, The Six Penguins, Don’t Touch the Suitcas, The Little Ostrich, Square Creatures, Dindie and others, have won prizes. Others, primarily as theatre productions, have been awarded first prizes at various festivals.

Boris Aprilov wrote the screenplays for the films “The Moby Dick Five”, “Escape to Ropotamo” and “Dusk”. All three films have been directed by first-rate directors. The latter two did not achieve greatness, but the first one has returned to screens nationwide once a year for ten years straight.

Boris Aprilov has not written a single line in favour of the communist regime and has not delivered any eulogy to prominent people in power. Studies and articles about him have been written only by dissident-minded critics. Throughout his creative life he was a professional and earned his living only from royalties and copyrights, from both home and abroad.

Haifa, June 7, 1990

He died on April 10, 1995 in Tel Aviv, Israel.



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