2nd Int’l Congress of Polish Translators

The second International Congress of Translators of Polish Literature took place in Krakow June 4-6. Organized by the Polish Book Institute, the Congress involved

…215 people from 56 countries [who] spoke about Polish literature and the work of translation, discussed the role of the translator, met with contemporary Polish writers, and took part in workshops, of which there were 40 this year, especially organized for the guests.

The workshops were organized according to several rubrics:

1. Presentations about new developments in key literary genres
2. Meetings with publishers
3. Discussions about individual Polish authors
4. Presentations about other developments in literature
5. Presentations about developments in the Polish language

Here’s a complete list of the workshops and their presenters:

Presentations about new developments in key genres
New Polish Drama (Roman Pawłowski)
Polish Poetry Now I (Grzegorz Jankowicz)
New Names in Polish Prose I (Przemysław Czapliński)
Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror (Wojciech Orliński)
Polish Poetry Now II (Tadeusz Pióro)
Fiction of Manners (Marta Mizuro)
The Polish School of Reportage (Paweł Smoleński)
New Names in Polish Prose II (Roman Kurkiewicz)
Literature for Children and Young Adults (Joanna Olech)
The Contemporary Polish Essay (Krzysztof Klosiński)
Mysteries and Thrillers (Irek Grin)

Meetings with publishers
The following publishers gave presentations of their lists and operations (two publishers at each meeting): WAB and Znak, Krytyka Polityczna and Wydawnictwo sic!, słowo obraz/terytoria and Universitas, Wydawnictwo A5 and Wydawnictwo Literackie (poetry list), Korporacja Ha!art and Świat książki, and Czarne and Wydawnictwo Literackie. Most of those houses publish a range of literary titles. There was also one meeting devoted to two really amazing publishers of literature for children and young adults: Dwie Siostry and Wytwornia. And there was a presentation titled “The Panorama of Poetry Publishers” given by the poet Agnieszka Wolny-Hamkało (who Bill Johnston is currently translating into English) and the publishing imprint Wielkopolska Biblioteka Poezji (which I believe is edited by the poet Mariusz Grzebalski).

Discussions about individual Polish authors
Most of these workshops were titled “100 Questions for [name of author].” Here is simply a list of the authors who were featured; most were present (including Tadeusz Różewicz, who made an unannounced appearance), others were not.
Olga Tokarczuk (Tokarczuk also delivered the opening lecture on the first day of the Congress)
Ryszard Kapuściński (obviously not present; but his archivist, Bożena Dudko, led a workshop on his last books, gave a presentation on books about him, and also organized a meeting of his international translators)
Dorota Masłowska (a lecture by theater critic and dramaturg Piotr Gruszczyński subtitled “The Revitalization of Dramatic Language”)
Hanna Krall
Wisława Szymborska
Czesław Miłosz
Stefan Chwin
Tadeusz Różewicz
Jacek Dehnel
Wojciech Kuczok
Michał Witkowski
(the last three authors were all present on the same panel)

Presentations about other developments in literature
New Titles by Well-Known Authors I (Dariusz Nowacki)
New Titles by Well-Known Authors II (Robert Ostaszewski)
Polish Literary Awards (Marek Zaleski)
Polish Queer Literature (Błażej Warkocki)
Classics of the 19th Century (Maria Korytowska-Cieślak)
Polish Literature to the Eye of a Non-Pole (Teresa Walas)
New Currents in Polish Literary Scholarship (Ryszard Nycz)
The Polish Alternative Canon (Paweł Dunin-Wąsowicz)
Polish Literature on the Internet (Konrad Kęder)

Presentations about developments in the Polish language
Secrets of Contemporary Polish (Bartłomej Chaciński)
Polish Dictionaries (Filip Modrzejewski)

The workshops all took place at the lovely Villa Decius, which is in a wooded, hilly outlying area of Krakow, in sumptuously decorated rooms dubbed with aristocratic names (e.g. the “Marcelina Czartoryska Salon,” the “Lubomirski Salon”). In the next few days I’ll post more entries about presentations that I attended, and other details of the visit.

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