Marko Kostov Cepenkov (Bulgarian and Macedonian: Марко Костов Цепенков) (1829, Prilep, Ottoman Empire — 1920, Sofia), Kingdom of Bulgaria) was a Bulgarian folklorist from the region of Macedonia. In North Macedonia he is regarded a Macedonian writer and poet. In his own time, his language was described as Bulgarian, and Cepenkov regarded it this way himself. Now his dialect is still considered Bulgarian dialect in Bulgaria.
He was a writer and collector of folk literary works. His family moved to Prilep from village of Oreovec. His father, Kosta, lived in Kruševo for a period of time, where Marko Cepenkov was born. Since his father was a traveler, Cepenkov earned the opportunity to travel. He lived in Ohrid and Struga and visited other places in the country by the time he was fourteen. Cepenkov was educated in small Greek schools. In 1844 he moved to Prilep, where he attended the private school of Hadji pop Konstantin Dimkov and father Aleksa, for two years. He also became a tailor and while working in the shop he met a lot of people who would tell him folk stories. Cepenkov was also a good narrator and knew a lot of folk stories. Since then he became a collector of folk stories and other folk works. In 1857 Cepenkov was a teacher in Prilep. After he met Dimitar Miladinov he started collecting more and more folk works: songs, stories, riddles, and others. In that time he knew more than 150 stories and wrote one to two stories per week, as he mentions in his Autobiography. Marko Tsepenkov contacted with other figures of the Bulgarian National Revival period who noted down folklore, such as Kuzman Shapkarev and Metodi Kusev. He was influenced by the works of Georgi Rakovski, Vasil Cholakov, Ivan Blaskov and Dimitar Matov.
He moved with his family to Sofia in 1888, where he was to live the rest of his life. Here he was encouraged by Prof. Ivan Shishmanov, who includes his recordings in several volumes of the “Collection of works of the popular spirit” (SBNU). In this collection, published until in 1900, Cepenkov publishes many tales and legends, songs, a great number of beliefs and curses, interpretations of dreams, magic formulas, habits and rites, proverbs, riddles and folklore for children. Between 1896 and 1911, he published about 10 of his poems and his play "Cane Voivoda," which confirmed his own creative and literary pledge. He also wrote about a dozen songs with patriotic themes, and his "Autobiography". Cepenkov was in close relations with his countryman, then Metropolitan of Stara Zagora, Metodi Kusev. The "Institute of Folklore" of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences works today with the complete edition in six volumes of these folk materials. His collected folk works were published in ten books in Skopje in 1972. A selection of his folktales have been published in English, such as 19th Century Macedonian Folktales by the Macquarie University in Sydney in 1991. In his honor, the Macedonian institute for folklore is named after him.
- Stojan Genchev, "The Ethnographic Interests of Marko Tsepenkov" in "Bulgarian ethnology", 1980, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, issue No: 4, pp. 49-56, Language: Bulgarian. The article paints the picture of Marko Tspenekov, a Bulgarian of the National Revival period ,and an indefatigable collector of folk art and folklore. The importance of his work for a complete study of Bulgarian folk culture in the second half of the 19th century is shown. Marko Tsepenkov's relations with other Bulgarians of the National Revival period who noted down folklore, such as D. Miladinov and K. Shapkarev are shown, as is the influence which the works of G. S. Rakovski, V. Cholakov, I. Bluskov and D. Matov had on him and his collaboration with Ivan Shishmanov. In consequence of this research work Marko Tsepenkov's place in the general process of studying Bulgarian folk culture, a process connected with the Bulgarian National Revival is established, as well as his place in the history of Bulgarian Ethnography.
- A letter from 1917 signed by M. Tsepenkov as a "Bulgarian book-seller" in: Macedonia. Documents and materials, Sofia 1978, III, N 143
- Facsimile from the last poem in his "Autobiography", where Cepenкov wrote: "I will leave an etern remembrance to my kind Bulgarian nation"
- "Concise encyclopedia of languages of the world", Keith Brown, Sarah Ogilvie, Elsevier, 2008, ISBN 0-08-087774-5, p.120.
- In Cepenkov's tales a Macedonian speaking Christian is a Bugarin, a Macedonian speaking Muslim is a Pomak ... and the Macedonian language is called Nashincki or Bugarcki. "Developing cultural identity in the Balkans: convergence vs divergence", Raymond Detrez, Pieter Plas, Peter Lang, 2005, ISBN 90-5201-297-0, p. 27.
- "Еве ми трага од лугье — си рекол сам со себе Сильан. Арно ами що знам, що лугье кье бидат? Ако се[т] бугари, арно, — кье се разберем; ами ако се[т] турци или власи, или арнаути, како кье се разбирам, за да сборуам?" Фолклорно наследство: Вълшебни и новелистични приказки, Марко Костов Цепенков, Institut za folklor (Balgarska akademia na naukite) Тодор Живков, Издател Академично издателство "Проф. Марин Дринов", 2001 стр. 127.
- "Си тоарил еден Бугарин еден товар и поминал пред баждарница за да влези во градо. Излегол баждарџијата да му сака баждар, арно ама не знаел по бугарцки да зборува, ами турцки". Simpozium posveten na životot i deloto na Marko Cepenkov, Prilep, 15-17 noemvri 1979, Blaže Koneski, Издател Društvo za nauka i umetnost, 1981, стр. 115.
- ..."Од сликовницата за Силјан Штркот, една од најпознатите македонски народни приказни, децата може да научат дека нивниот омилен јунак, прилепчанецот Силјан, е Бугарин. Во изданието на издавачот "Лист", Силјан признава дека неговиот јазик е бугарски..." Силјан Штркот од Прилепско - Бугарин?! Весник "Дневник", Број 1770 од 18 март 2006 год.
- Антонова-Василева, Л. Речник на прилепския говор (по материали от М. Цепенков). – В: Марко Цепенков. Фолклорно наследство. Т. I- IV. София. Акад. изд. “Проф. М. Дринов”, 1998 - 2007, 383-496.
- The ethnographic interests of Marko Tsepenkov, Bulgarian Ethnology (4/1980), Genchev, Stojan; Issue: 4/1980, Page Range: 49-56.
- Списание България - Македония, брой 4-5, 2009 г. 180 години от раждането на Марко Цепенков. Мисията: Събирач на приказки, пазител на духовни съкровища.
- Cepenkov's biography and work (in English)
- 19th Century Macedonian Folktales by Marko Cepenkov(in English)
- Marko Cepenkov's Autobiography
- Selected folklore materials, collected by Marko Cepenkov and published in "Сборник за народни умотворения, наука и книжнина", Книга VIII, издание на Министерството на народното просвещение, София, 1892 ("A Collection of folklore, science and literature", Book VIII, issue of the Ministry of public education, Sofia, 1892 - in Bulgarian) in the form of text and .jpg photocopies(in Bulgarian)