Irina Papancheva was born in the Bulgarian city of Burgas. She graduated from the “St. St. Cyril and Methodius” high school in Burgas where she specialized in literature, then continued her education at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” where she earned a master’s degree in Slavonic studies, focused on Czech language and literature, and completed her education at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium, where she got a master’s degree in European integration and development, majoring European politics and social integration.
She has worked as a journalist, editor, translator, deputy mayor of Sofia Municipality and an advocate in the Bulgarian and European NGO sectors. Currently, Irina Papancheva is Head of EU Advocacy at Hope and Homes for Children in Brussels.
Irina Papancheva was among the ten Europeans invited by Felix Meritis Foundation to participate in a public discussion in Amsterdam on the topic of the New Cosmopolitan after she won an essay competition on the same topic. She was also among the five nominees in the Fans of Flanders & VIW writing contest (2014).
She is the author of the illustrated children’s book ‘I Stutter’ (Ciela, 2005), the short novel ‘Almost Intimately’ (Kronos, 2007) and the novels ‘Annabel’ (Janet 45, 2010), ‘Pelican Feather’ (Janet 45, 2013), ‘She, the island’ (Trud, 2017) and ‘Brussels Naked’ (Znatsi, 2022), the novella ‘Welcome, Nathan!’ (2019) as well as short stories.
Almost Intimately got the audience nomination in the 2008 Bulgarian national literary competition South Spring (Yuzhna prolet), and Annabel has been shortlisted in the 2014 January Contemporary Bulgarian Novel Contest of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation and Open Letter Books at the University of Rochester. The manuscript of ‘Brussels Naked’ was shortlisted for the first Prize Orpheus, 2022, but got disqualified due to meanwhile being published.
Irina Papancheva’s works have been translated into English, French, Arabic and Persian.