The Nike 2016 Goes to Bronka Nowicka


Bronka Nowicka, the author of a debut titled Feeding the Stone, has been named the winner of the 20th Nike Literary Award.

“Forty-four linguistically restrained, razor-sharp, and remarkably visual works of poetic prose create an equally intriguing whole, a disciplined composition,″ said jury head Tomasz Fiałkowski.

Feeding the Stone is a volume of short prose poems. The author puts the table of contents not at the end (as is the Polish custom), but at the beginning of the book. She then weaves forty-four short tales, portraits of people and things, full of respect both for what is animate and inanimate, where every person and every object contains a wealth of emotions and recollections, where the set hierarchies are questioned and undermined. “I don’t want the dead things to come alive. I want the living people to be less dead. That is what I think my book is about,″ the author says.

Feeding the Stone comes from a sense of the impossibility of grasping the entire world, of knowing every human story, or of delving into human memory,” the winner explained. “We have a particularly strong sense of this as children, because then we are acquiring consciousness, we are separating ourselves from the rest of the world. This separation brings with it a sadness – and sadness is the pillar that props up this volume,″ she added.

“For every author this award is a huge and remarkable thing. For a debutant it is perhaps something more. But for me this award is a huge obligation, and I treat this as a duty to be responsible to the word, as a duty to maintain a humanist stance, a duty to be self-reflective and to develop my consciousness. Also as a duty to remain near to life, near to people, near to their stories, their memories,″ Nowicka said as she received the award.

Bronka Nowicka was born in 1974. She is a director and scriptwriter, a graduate of the Łódź Film School and the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow.

Gazeta Wyborcza readers chose Magdalena Grzebałkowska for the Nike, for her reportage 1945: War and Peace, released by Agora Publishers.

The Nike is the award for the book of the year. The winner receives 100,000 PLN and a Nike statuette carved by Gustaw Zemła and – from this year onward – a photograph of him/herself. The sponsors of the Nike Literary Award are Gazeta Wyborcza and the Agora Foundation.