21 October 2016 Books – behind the scenes

Apart from being the sum of languages, tensions, a record of senses, emotions and landscapes, a map and expression of belief or disbelief is a tangible item and a good, which is sold and bought, with a team of publishers and editors working to get it on the market.

During a series of meetings titled “Book Industries”, taking place as part of the Conrad Festival, you will have an opportunity to meet the experts from the Polish publishing market and discuss the issues, which are usually only talked about behind the scenes.


What is book production all about? What is the role of the author, critic, publisher, book seller, promoter? What do book promotion and sales look like? How and where are they described? The guests of the “Book Industries” series will answer these and many other questions, starting on Wednesday. The editors, book sellers and publishers will discuss the future of books. The discussion will be conducted by Marcin Wilk at De Revolutionibus café and bookshop.

The very name of the series alone forces us to view literature from a different perspective. Here, books are not taken as a cultural object, but also as a product, which has to conform to the rules of the market. Building an environment around books for everyone to meet is a fascinating, but daunting tasks. This task is often undertaken by book sellers, who thus become cultural animators, who have to constantly ask themselves: “How to survive in the world of commerce?” The issues of independence and requirements of the markets will be discussed on Thursday byPIO Kaliński (Lokator), Adam Strzeboński (Księgarnia Pod Globusem) and Marek Szczepaniak (De Revolutionibus).

Without literary criticism, promoting books would simply lose its point, since its goal is to constantly renew the understanding of literature and ensuring that literature is treated as a value. “What place do books have in contemporary press?” – Inga Iwasiów and Dariusz Nowacki will try to find answer to this question on Friday.

The series will also pose some practical questions, regarding careful work on text. “How to cope with working from home?” – we are going to find out the answer from Adam Pluszka, Magdalena Zielińska and Karolina Macios. They will also consider how the role of an editor has changed recently and what should be their role for a publishing house, for a book and for an author.

The role of publishers is also very important in the process of creating books, as well as creating their value. Jędrek Biegański, editor and critic, will try to answer the question “How to bring a 70-year old publishing house into the 21st century?” on Sunday. We will, of course, discuss the State Publishing Institute, one of the most important publishing houses in Poland before 1989.

The meetings during the event will also be full of book premieres, since six new publications are released under the auspices of the Festival. It is worth looking for Umarły las (Dead Forest) a children’s book by Adam Wajrak, illustrated by Tomasz Samojlik, Życie na poczytaniu, in which Grzegorz Jankowicz proves that literature is a foundation, holding up the world, Little Pepper by Alain Mabanckou, in which the author describes Congo and returns to the world from his older novels, A Wild Swan and Other Tales by Michael Cunningham – a collection of well-known fairy tales turned into fairy tales for adults, Congo. The Epic History of a People by David Van Reybrouck, one of the most significant historic reports of this decade, as well as Master and Margarita, or rather its new translation by Grzegorz, Leokadia and Igor Przebinda – they will all be available from the festival book store.

Additionally, for the first time during the Festival we are going to see two awards being granted to the representatives of book industries – the best meeting host of the Conrad Festival and the best translator. The former distinction will be funded by the Honorary Consul of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Tomasz Kopoczyński. The best translator award will be under the auspices of the Ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in Poland, His Excellency Conrad Bruch. The winners will be chosen by the festival audience, who will be able to express their appreciation for the host and the translator – people, who are especially involved in making the atmosphere of the festival special – after every meeting at the Festival Centre.

Book Industries is a special section during the Conrad Festival – on the one hand, it gives an opportunity to meet people, who work on publishing the books and learn about their duties and scopes of responsibility. On the other hand, it gives them an opportunity to dispel myths and misconceptions connected with publishing market and show, that there are a lot of people between the creator and the audience, who, despite being invisible for the readers, make it possible for them to even get the book in their hands.