Bulgarian poet, playwright, screenwriter, and translator. Born into a family of intellectuals, Valeri Petrov was a graduate in 1944 of the Faculty of Medicine from Sofia University, but made his career in literature. Among his many career paths: he worked during the last years of World War II at Radio Sofia and then as a wartime writer with the newspaper Frontovak (Front Fighter); he was co-founder of the popular satirical weekly Sturshel (The Hornet), and its assistant editor-in-chief (1945-1962); he was a doctor, a press and cultural attaché in Rome, an editor at the Boyana Film Studio, editor of the Bulgarski Pisatel Publishing House; he served as a deputy in the Grand National Assembly; from 2003, he was an academician of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences …
Valeri Petrov is also author of the well-known poems “Palechko” (Tom Thumb), “Krai sinioto more” (By the Blue Sea), to name only a few, as well as author of collections of poetry, including Stari neshta malko po novomu (Old Stuff in a Somewhat New Way, 1945), Stihotvoreniya (Poems, 1949), Poemi (1962), Na smyah (In Jest, 1970), a collection of satirical poems, and collections of stories Pet prikazki (Five Fairy Tales, 1986).
As a playwright, Valeri Petrov sought new forms, combining prose and poetry, drama and music, the sad and the joyful. He is the author of Improvizatsiya (Improvisation, 1962), a stage play co-written with Radoy Ralin, Kogato rozite tantsuvat (When the Roses Dance, 1965), Teatar, liubov moia (Theater, My Love), and Chestna musketarska (Honest Musketeer’s). His plays for children include Biala prikazka (White Tale, 1977), Kopche za san (Button for a Dream, 1978), Meko kazano (To Put it Mildly), V lunnata staia (In the Moonlit Room), and the play Puk! (Puck), which was an international success. These plays remain unique masterpieces of Bulgarian puppet playwriting.
Valeri Petrov’s cinema scripts helped create some of Bulgaria’s best films. He is author of screenplays for the films Tochka parva (Item One), Na malkiya ostrov (On the Small Island, 1958), Slantseto i syankata (The Sun and the Shadow, 1962), Ritsar bez bronya (A Knight Without Armour, 1966), Yo Ho Ho (1981, adapted into the 2006 film The Fall by Tarsem Singh), among others. He is one of the most important Bulgarian translators of poetry, and author of the translations of the complete works of William Shakespeare (in eight volumes), and translator of Goethe’s Faust, works by Gianni Rodari, Rudyard Kipling, and others. He is considered one of the great national writers of Bulgarian literature.
Valeri Petrov is the recipient of numerous awards, including Bulgaria’s highest state honour, Stara planina I class, and the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.