Tag Archives: Jacek Dehnel

Hello! Przerwa skończona!

Yes, the hiatus is over! The past 5 weeks have seen, among other things, preparations for three Polish Cultural Institute events here in New York City:

the Institute’s season opener at Symphony Space on September 11, which featured readings by Polish poet Piotr Sommer and American poet Christian Hawkey and a performance by members of the New York-based ensemble The Knights of recent works by Lisa Bielawa and Jeffrey Lependorf (works composed as settings of poems by Hawkey and Sommer respectively)…

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the Polish Cultural Institute booth at the 4th Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday, September 13 (which featured an informal reading by Jacek Dehnel, the author of the acclaimed novel Lala and editor of Six Polish Poets, and a book signing by Alex Storozynski, author of The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution)…

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photos: A. Grenda

…and our first session of the European Book Club, at which both newcomers and seasoned aficionados of European literature in translation discussed Jerzy Pilch’s The Mighty Angel, recently published by Open Letter Books, together with Open Letter publisher Chad Post, who came down from Rochester to talk with readers.

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The rest of the autumn will be awash with Polish culture — see the Polish Cultural Institute’s website for more details and consider subscribing to the newsletters if you haven’t already. Be sure not to miss the debut performance in the U.S. of work by celebrated Polish composer Paweł Mykietyn (Thursday, October 1, at Symphony Space; the concert will be preceded by a conversation with Mykietyn and Cuban-American composer Tania Leon) and the dissident Theatre of the Eighth Day‘s return to the U.S. with their famous production Wormwood, which will be performed at Yale University November 5-7 and at the Abrons Arts Center in New York City November 11-15.

As for upcoming literary events, make sure to mark your calendar for the following:

October 6-7: After Kapuściński: The Art of Reportage in the 21st Century — a public conversation on the ins and outs of long-form and literary journalism with leading authors of the genre (these include Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Suketu Mehta, and Lawrence Weschler, as well as Wojciech Jagielski and Paweł Smoleński). The event is cosponsored with the National Book Critics Circle, the New York Institute for the Humanities, and the new Literary Reportage concentration of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at NYU.

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November 3-4: Polish Poetry Now: Bożena Keff, Marzanna Kielar, Tomasz Różycki, and Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki will read at the new Poets House in New York on Wednesday, November 4, following a discussion there the night before with translators Benjamin Paloff and Bill Johnston; on Thursday, November 5, they will read and discuss their work together with translator Antonia Lloyd-Jones at Harvard University. Check back here and at the Polish Cultural Institute website for more details.

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November 10: As part of the Performing Revolution in Central and Eastern European festival that the New York Public Library is organizing, there will be a book party at Idlewild Books in New York for The Wall in my Head: Words and Images from the Fall of the Iron Curtain — a Words without Borders anthology published by Open Letter Books. Polish author Dorota Masłowska will read, together with Romanian poet Dan Sociu and German author Kathrin Aehnlich; New York University professor Eliot Borenstein will moderate.

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Hope to see you at any or all of these events!

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Polish Nominations for the European Union Literary Prize

The European Commission has announced a new European Union Literary Prize, financed by the Cultural Programme of the European Union, that will be awarded for the first time at the end of September 2009. Here’s some info from the press release:

The aim is to put the spotlight on the creative and diverse wealth of Europe’s contemporary literature, promote more circulation of literature within Europe and greater interest in non-national literary works. The first edition of the Prize will be awarded in autumn 2009.

The European Prize for contemporary literature will consist of an award to a European Ambassador of literature and a prize for a winning emerging talent from each of the participating countries in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.

The Federation of European Publishers working together with the European Booksellers Federation and the European Writers’ Congress has been selected to organize the selection process and the 2009 award ceremony.

Each year, 12-13 countries out of 34 (presumably a different configuration each time), will participate. This year, the following countries are involved: Austria, Croatia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, and Sweden. (Nice of them to include Norway, despite its not being a member of the EU.)

Twelve Polish authors and books have just been nominated for the award, the press conference having taken place earlier today in Warsaw. They are:

Dawid Bieńkowski, author of Nic (Nothing, WAB 2005)
Jacek Dehnel, author of Lala (Lala, WAB 2006)
Jacek Dukaj, author of Lód (Ice, Wydawnictwo Literackie 2007)
Ignacy Karpowicz, author of Cud (Miracle, Wydawnictwo Czarne 2007)
Artur Daniel Liskowacki, author of Mariasz (Matrimony, Forma Autorska 2007)
Dorota Masłowska, author of Paw królowej (The Queen’s Peacock, Lampa i Iskra Boża 2006)
Krzysztof Niewrzęda, author of Wariant do sprawdzenia (Option to Be Considered, Forma Autorska 2007)
Daniel Odija, Niech to nie będzie sen (Let It Not Be a Dream, Wydawnictwo Literackie 2008)
Tomasz Piątek, author of Pałac Ostrogskich (Ostrogski Palace, WAB 2008)
Janusz Rudnicki, Chodźcie, idziemy (Come, Let’s Go, WAB 2007)
Krzysztof Varga, author of Nagrobek z lastryko (Terrazzo Tombstone, Wydawnictwo Czarne 2007)
Michał Witkowski, author of Barbara Radziwiłłówna z Jaworzna-Szczakowej (Barbara Radziwill of Jaworzno Szczakowa, WAB 2007)

Last time I checked, it certainly seemed that more than one-twelfth of Polish authors were women; so how interesting that of all of them, only Dorota Masłowska is included here! (She is also the only one of these twelve to have a book so far available in English, though Witkowski is on the way—really.) In any case, the Polish part of the prize is being organized by the three European organizing bodies’ local member organizations: The Polish Book Chamber (Polska Izba Książki, a member of the FEP), the Polish Writers’ Union (Związek Literatów Polskich, a member of the EWC), and the Chamber of Polish Booksellers (Izba Księgarstwa Polskiego, a member of the EBF). The Polish jury that nominated these twelve authors is headed by Professor Jerzy Jarzębski, and includes Krzysztof Masłoń, Leszek Bugajski, and Jan Lus. More information, in Polish, here: http://rynek-polski.pl.