13 June 2017 The names of the first guests of the Conrad Festival are already known!
Siri Hustvedt, Agneta Pleijel, Achille Mbembe, Adam Hochschild, Wojciech Brzoska, Maria Dąbrowska, Frédéric Boyer and Serge Bloch are the first guests who confirmed their participation in this year’s edition of the Conrad Festival.
Its leading theme - Unrest – has been drawn from Joseph Conrad’s book titled Tales of Unrest.
”The Polish translation of the title -- Opowieści niepokojące -- seems not quite satisfactory. It should rather be something like doniesienia z krainy niepokoju (reports from the land of unrest) because the tales do not convey the feeling of unrest as such but rather try to diagnose, describe, explain and interpret unrest, to orient us in the growing chaos of information. It’s just like us: we want to talk about unrest in the modern world, about unrest we can see in the movement of individuals and communities, about passionate emotions that need to be vented and anxieties about the uncertain future, which like a hundred years ago, in Conrad’s times, begins to cast a black shadow over us.”
Professor Markowski stresses that it is difficult to discuss all meanings of the word Unrest within no more than seven days. This is why we have divided the Festival week by emotions and feelings – both positive and negative. The organisers believe that these notions best describe humans and communities experiencing unrest. These are: Fear, Anger, Hostility, Humiliation, Hope, Pride and Dignity.
“People experience unrest when they are afraid of something, when they feel insecure, humiliated or angry”, says professor Markowski. “But they also leave a peaceful zone if they see a hope for a better life, when their pride and honour do not let them agree with the situation, someone’s attitude, or politics, or if they cannot stand the pressures anymore. Unrest is unfortunate (causing discomfort) or desirable (encouraging action). Unrest lies on a shadow line between what is and what might be, or between what shouldn’t be and what must be. However, only rarely unrest is an individual feeling unrelated with the life of others. On the contrary, all emotions that cause unrest refer to the life of a community, a common experience which literature describes and which is always discussed at the annual Conrad Festival.”
Traditionally, the Festival will host the authors with whom the Polish reader is already well acquainted and world-renowned writers who, we believe, will be talked about in Poland still in this year.