In March Poland will be the guest of honour at the London Book Fair, the biggest event of its kind in the English-speaking world. Recently our national soccer team has performed superbly on the international scene, and we’re sure the literary team we’re sending to Great Britain will do just as well.
Making our selection of authors in cooperation with the British Council, we did our best to ensure that all genres and trends in polish literature would be represented in London. We’re confident that our team of eleven is on a par with the finest that any other country can offer.
In the field of children’s literature we’ll be represented by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizieliński, authors of the world-famous Maps, which featured in the New York Times’ top ten best sellers list, and award-winning graphic artist Marta Ignerska. A writer who needs no introduction is Olga Tokarczuk, whose novels have won some of the world’s most prestigious literary prizes. She has a growing number of worthy successors among the novelists of the younger generation, including Jacek Dehnel. Lately we’ve been enjoying a crime fiction boom, with more and more people agreeing that Poland has every chance of rivalling Scandinavia, as proved by the international success of Zygmunt Miłoszewski. Representing the great poetic tradition symbolised by the Nobel prize winners Czesław Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska, we have Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar. Meanwhile, the work of Dariusz Karłowicz and Andrzej Nowak belongs to the best traditions of the Polish essay. Our literature has a reputation for superb fantasy and science fiction, which will be represented by Jacek Dukaj, and for excellent reportage, a genre whose founding generation has some worthy successors including Artur Domosławski and Ewa Winnicka.
One of the basic criteria in making our selection was to choose authors whose work already exists or is forthcoming in English translation. Several of our writers have had major success on the British market in recent years or months (including Zygmunt Miłoszewski and the Mizielińskis, whose books have been well received in the UK).
Our authors in close-up:
Jacek Dehnel – novelist, poet and translator of the younger generation. His novels include the multi-award-winning Lala, based on his grandmother’s true life story; Saturn, inspired by theories about the life of Francisco Goya, and Mother Makryna, based on the genuine historical tale of a 19th-century fraudster. He recently made a successful debut as a crime writer, as co-author with Piotr Tarczyński of Mrs Mohr Goes Missing.
Artur Domosławski – journalist and author of reportage. His work includes the best-selling biography Ryszard Kapuściński: A Life, which has been translated into over a dozen languages. His special focus is on Latin America, as in his last two books, Death in the Amazon and The Excluded.
Jacek Dukaj – one of the major names in European science fiction, rightly regarded as the heir to Stanisław Lem. His best-selling novels include the dystopian Ice, The Crowe, the story of the martial law period told in the style of a children’s fable, and Other Songs, in which human minds have the power to change reality. The Cathedral, Tomasz Bagiński’s animated film adaptation of a short story by Dukaj, was nominated for an Oscar.
Marta Ignerska – illustrator and graphic artist, winner of many important Polish and international prizes, including a European Design Award and a Picture Book Award. She is the joint author of books including Playing Everything, Frederic Chopin and His Music, The Pink Piggy and Alphabet, which have been published in many countries.
Dariusz Karłowicz – philosopher and essayist. Author of the Political Theology annual, a seminal work for Polish conservatism, he has also written books including The End of Constantine’s Dream and The Archparadox of Death. His most recent publication in English translation is Socrates and Other Saints. He is also known for his activities for the public benefit. He was a member of the team that created the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising and he runs the St Nicholas Foundation, which has instituted “The Cavalcade of the Magi” street processions held at Epiphany.
Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar – one of the most original poetic voices in the land of a thousand poets, as Poland has every right to call itself. Her poems resonate with both femininity and the metaphysical. Her published collections include Sacra conversazione, Salt Monody and Materia Prima, which won major prizes at home and abroad.
Zygmunt Miłoszewski – popular crime novelist, whose books have sold more than a million copies. Author of the trilogy featuring Prosecutor Szacki and the thriller Priceless. Two of his books, Entanglement and A Grain of Truth, were successfully transferred to the cinema screen. His work has been translated into some fifteen languages. In recent years he has become France’s most popular Polish author, and lately he has made a breakthrough on the English-language market too.
Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński – a husband-and-wife team of authors and illustrators who have achieved worldwide success with their innovative children’s books. Their Maps has been published in 25 countries and has sold more than two million copies. Other successes at home and abroad include the Mamoko series, H.O.U.S.E. and D.E.S.I.G.N.
Andrzej Nowak – historian and essayist, author of several dozen academic books, but also works for the general reader, mostly about Polish and Russian history. He is the founder of the conservative journal Arcana. His books include The History of Poland, Poland and the Three Russias, and First Betrayal of the West (winner of the Moczarski prize).
Olga Tokarczuk – award-winning novelist acclaimed not just in Poland but in many other countries (with prizes including the Vilenica and Kulturhuset Stadsteatern awards and a shortlisting for the IMPAC). Her books have been translated into 30 languages. She is a very popular writer, although her work cannot be described as commercial. Her publications include Primeval and Other Times, House of Day, House of Night, Flights and The Books of Jacob. Agnieszka Holland’s movie Game Count, a screen adaptation of Tokarczuk’s novel Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead, will be premiered at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.
Ewa Winnicka – journalist and author of reportage. Her books include Londoners and The Brits, both describing the fortunes of Polish emigrants to the British Isles. She has also published The Millionairess, a biography of the world’s richest Polish woman, Barbara Piasecka-Johnson, and Rebellious New York, about the prohibition era in the United States.
Our authors will take part in a number of panel discussions and meetings with the public, within the Book Fair and at outside venues. Coming from the “Market Focus” country, the visiting Polish authors and publishers will have a unique opportunity that has proved advantageous for other guest-of-honour countries in the recent past, including Turkey, South Korea and Mexico. Knowing of this special status, almost 50 Polish publishers applied to exhibit, twice as many as in previous years.
The Polish presentations will begin on 13 March with Conrad Study Day. The literary programme featuring the Polish authors will run from 14-16 March at venues including Waterstones bookstore in Gower Street and the British Library. The Polish events will continue with participation in the Essex Book Festival, which runs in parallel with the book fair, and this year includes a special Polish day on 18 March, advertised as “Meet the Neighbours”.
Presentations of Polish literature in the United Kingdom will carry on throughout the year, with appearances by Polish authors at major literary festivals to be held in Birmingham, Hull, and Edinburgh, and also at the Hay Festival, which is the world’s biggest event of its kind. As part of the officially designated “Conrad Year”, there will also be joint British and Polish events related to the life and work of Joseph Conrad.
Cortina Butler, Literary Director at the British Council:
The UK and Poland have close historic ties and there is a large and vibrant Polish community in the UK. We anticipate that the Polish Market Focus Cultural Programme will do much to strengthen these relationships – as well as having a lasting impact on appreciation in this country of the strength and depth of contemporary Polish literature.
Jacks Thomas, Director of the London Book Fair:
In the U.K., Polish is the most widely spoken language second only to English. Our countries share a unique bond and an interwoven history, yet despite this, our collective knowledge and understanding of Poland, not to mention its culture, literary scene, and writers, remains surprisingly limited. Through this 11th LBF Market Focus programme, we aim to build long-lasting and meaningful relationships and introduce a variety of audiences to a broad cross section of Polish literature.
Dariusz Jaworski, Director of the Polish Book Institute:
In drawing up our list of authors to represent us at the book fair we took note of the potential interest of British readers in each author’s work, and so existing or forthcoming translations were a relevant factor. But our main aim is to demonstrate the great diversity and dynamism of literary life in Poland, and so we’re presenting philosophical and historical essays, crime fiction, novels, poetry, reportage and literature for children. We’re giving the British audiences the very best we have to offer.
About the British Council
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. In Poland the British Council runs English-language courses at language centres and schools in Warsaw, Krakow and Wrocław, and through cooperation with a nationwide network of partner libraries and examination centres offering British language and professional exams. For more information, please visit: britishcouncil.pl
About the Polish Book Institute
The Polish Book Institute is a national cultural institution established by the Ministry of Culture to promote Polish literature worldwide and to popularise books and reading within the country. We encourage translators of Polish literature to translate Polish books, foreign publishers to publish their translations, and the organisers of literary events all over the world to invite Polish authors to take part in them. Thanks to financial support provided by the © Poland Translation Programme more than 2000 translations have been published abroad since the programme began. For more information, please visit: bookinstitute.pl
About the London Book Fair
The London Book Fair is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. The 46th London Book Fair will be held from 14-16 March 2017 at London’s Olympia exhibition hall. For more information, please visit: londonbookfair.co.uk
London Book Fair
London W14 8UX
Tuesday 14 March, 09:00 - 18:30
Wednesday 15 March, 09:00 - 18:30
Thursday 16 March, 09:00 - 17:00
For more information please contact Olga Iwaniak, email@example.com