The Book that is Making the World Fly to Fuerteventura
by Irina Papancheva
“She, the Island” is a compelling novel by Irina Papancheva– set in the paradise of Fuerteventura, a place famously known to regenerate and revive the traveling soul.
In this interview with Fuerteventura Times founder Varsha Krishnani, Irina speaks to us about how the book and the writing experience itself on this magical canary island of Fuerteventura have been profoundly life-changing; not only for her but also for those who have been part of her story.
Love triangles, reality, fiction, surfers, waves, oceans, poets, writers, bohemian souls, and the piercing power of this volcanic land are brought alive through the writer’s words. In the story, the author travels to Fuerteventura to write about the famous Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno– a man who was an essayist, novelist, poet, and polymath who has had a huge impact on the Spanish intellect and culture during the 18th century, moving from belief in rationalism and positivism while culminating his last years with a deep influence by existentialism. His influence on the island of Fuerteventura reflects in his workings and writings during exile and is of great interest to many philosophers, researchers, and in this case with Irina, on writers.
This electrifying book evolves with the writer’s different experiences, as she said: “The inspiration comes from the land itself: The novel the island was writing.”
“She, the island” is a wonderful evocation. Beautifully drawn depictions of real people and events from the Fuerteventura history 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.”
In the book, as the protagonist, the writer, travels on her research and writing journey, the stories wisely intertwine, bringing pieces of the puzzle together in an inspiring self-reflecting journey that is a pure, joyous ride as a reader.
According to Irina, it is thanks to the island, the reconnection with one’s soul is possible; “she” helps us to leave the comfort zone, gratefulness as well to “her” stunning beauty that is described as a woman for her roundness, for her comforting and welcoming spirit, for the feeling of relaxation and spirituality that “She, the Island,” instills in those who let themselves go to her.
On the bare island, we were all naked. And each ostensibly voluntary next step of ours would lead to the inevitable denouement. We were all characters in a novel. The novel being written by the island.
About the Island of Fuerteventura
Fuerteventura has long been the hot spot for attracting seasoned surfers & global travelers. Today in 2021, the island has become a mecca for digital nomads from all over the world making their own little paradise for remote working. With an island filled with such varied minds and diverse perspectives, it is hardly a surprise to learn that the encounters and interactions of travelers in Fuerteventura have almost always been inspiring, nurturing. Many such encounters, surf lessons, “remote working buddies” have turned into love stories that have ignited the passion and love for the island. Many consider it to be one of the most inspiring places in the world where they rediscover themselves. Discover more about Fuerteventura in this book by Irina Papancheva,
About the Author
Irina Papancheva was born in the Bulgarian city of Burgas where she studied literature, then continued her education at Sofia University 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 is the author of the illustrated children’s book ‘I Stutter’, the short novel ‘Almost Intimately’ and the novels ‘Annabel’, ‘Pelican Feather’, ‘She, the island’ and ‘Welcome, Nathan!’ as well as short stories and the play ‘About a hippo’.
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 an EU Advocacy and Campaigns Senior Advisor at Lumos Foundation 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).
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