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For this World Series edition, we turn our pages to Poland: Polish is now, after English, the second most widely-spoken language in England – but how many Polish books and authors have you read? This month’s Polish issue brings a fascinating collection of diverse texts from authors who live in Poland and abroad, each offering a glimpse of a very different and unforgettable world.
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Relive the Polish World Series by buying the magazine – #126 Poland
Writers in this issue include:
Tadeusz Różewicz (b. 1921) is Poland’s foremost living writer. Remarkable for his simultaneous mastery of poetry, prose and drama, he has been nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Tadeusz Różewicz has been translated into over forty languages. The most recent English-language volumes, recycling (2001), New Poems (2007) and Sobbing Superpower (2011), were finalists for the 2003 Popescu Prize (UK), the 2008 National Book Critics Award (USA) and the 2012 Griffin Prize (Canada) respectively. In 2007 he was awarded the European Prize for Literature. Mother Departs (Matka odchodzi, 1999), exploring the life of his mother Stefania, is perhaps his most personal work. It won the Nike Prize in 2000, Poland’s most prestigious literary award. He lives in the city of Wrocław, Poland
Zygmunt Miłoszewski, born in Warsaw in 1976, is a journalist and a rising star of Polish fiction. His first novel, The Intercom, was published in 2005 to high acclaim. In 2006 he published a novel for young readers, The Adder Mountains, and in 2007 the crime novel Entanglement. The latter received the High Calibre Award for best Polish crime novel of the year and was made into a feature film. A Grain of Truth, the sequel to Entanglement, also featuring State Prosecutor Teodor Szacki, was published in 2011 in Poland. In 2012 it was published in English by Bitter Lemon Press.
Jacek Dehnel (born 1980) is a poet, novelist, painter and translator. In 2005 he was one of the youngest ever winners of Poland's Koscielski Prize for promising new writers. He studied Polish Literature at Warsaw University then wrote his PHD thesis on the Polish translations of Philip Larkin, some of whose poetry he has translated himself. He has published four volumes of his own poetry which has been widely translated, including into English.
Paweł Huelle (born 1957) is a novelist, playwright and newspaper columnist who has lived most of his life in Gdansk, which often features as the setting for his work. His acclaimed first novel Who Was David Weiser? was translated into 17 languages. He has been shortlisted for a number of international fiction prizes, including the IMPAC and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Mercedes-Benz was shortlisted for the 2006 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.
Wioletta Grzegorzewska poet and writer born in 1974 in Polish Jurassic Highland. In 2006, she moved to the UK and is currently living in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Her poems have been published in Poland’s most prestigious literary magazines, inc. Arkusz, Arterie, Fraza, Kresy, Studium, Topos, Tygiel Kultury, and Zeszyty Literackie. Her poetry volumes include: Wyobraźnia kontrolowana (1998), Parantele (2003), Orinoko (2008), Inne obroty (2010), Ruchy Browna (2011), Smena’s Memory (2011) and journals Notatnik z wyspy (2012). This year her first novel; Spóźnione dokarmianie pszczół, will be published in Poland. She has won numerous literary competitions, including Tyska Zima Poetycka Prize. Her poems have been translated into English.
A.M. Bakalar was born and raised in Poland. She lived in Germany, France, Sicily and Canada before she moved to the UK in 2004. Madame Mephisto is her first novel and was among readers recommendations to the Guardian First Book Award. She is the first Polish woman to publish a novel in English since Poland joined EU in 2004. A.M. Bakalar lives with her partner, a drum and bass musician, in London. She is currently at work on her second novel.
Grażyna Plebanek was born in Warsaw, Poland. She is the author of the highly acclaimed and bestselling novels Pudełko ze szpilkami (‘Box of Stilettos’, 2002), Dziewczyny z Portofino (‘Girls from Portofino’, 2005) and Przystupa (‘A Girl Called Przystupa’, 2007). Plebanek’s latest novel Illegal Liaisons (Nielegalne związki, 2010) sold 27,000 copies in Poland and is her first novel translated into English. In 2011 Plebanek was awarded the Literary Prize Zlote Sowy for her contribution to promoting Poland abroad. Plebanek is among a group of international artists whose portraits will be exhibited in Brussels Gare del’Ouest for the next 10 years. She lives in Brussels, Belgium.