15 June 2022 LET’S TALK ABOUT COMMUNITIES. Announcing the programme of the 14th Conrad Festival!

Sylwia Chutnik, Artur Domosławski, Natasza Goerke, Weronika Gogola, Grażyna Plebanek, Zbigniew Rokita, Szczepan Twardoch and Jakub Żulczyk – these are only some of the many writers we will meet at the Conrad Festival.

We will also be joined by international guests, including esteemed authors from Ukraine. We will meet with all of them in Kraków on 24-30 October to talk about different ways of experiencing a sense of community.

“The Conrad Festival is a unique opportunity to meet with favourite authors, as well as encounter those who remain mostly unknown in Poland. The festival programme is the result of the work of outstanding experts, who constantly keep up to speed with the world of literature. You will definitely find it worth your while to trust them in that regard, especially when you take part in the events we have planned for this autumn”, says Magdalena Doksa-Tverberg, director of the Krakow Festival Office.

“The headline of this year’s edition – COMMUNITIES – prompts reflection on the relationship between the individual and the collective,” Grzegorz Jankowicz, programming director of the festival, pointed out. “Together with guests joining us from around the world in Kraków and representatives of various cultures, we will talk about the values and limitations stemming from belonging to a particular group.

The problem of belonging is undoubtedly a pressing one for contemporary Ukraine. That is why the Conrad Festival will feature Mykola Riabchuk, an outstanding critic, essayist and poet. One of the aspects he strongly emphasises in his texts is that Ukraine belongs to the West, which can be clearly seen in the attitudes expressed by the Ukrainian society. Tetiana Maliarchuk, delves into the past. Her BBC Book of the Year Award-winning novel Forgottenness tells the story of people who were involved in building the Ukrainian national identity. The meeting with Natalka Bilocerkiweć will be quite unusual in its form and character – the eminent poet, critic and translator will select several dozen poems by Ukrainian authors and read them in original versions, while a group of Polish poets will present their translations of the selected works.

The most important literary festival in Poland will bring together guests from all over the world. Robert Esposito, Eva Meijer and Carmen Maria Machado, whose participation was announced back in April, will be joined by German writer Verena Kessler and many others. Her debut novel, The Ghosts of Demmin, tells the story of a small town, where nearly a thousand residents committed suicide in 1945, moments before the Red Army reached the town. Salvadoran investigative journalist Óscar Martínez, winner of the International Press Freedom Award, also tackles tragedies – in his engaged texts, he tells the stories of Latin American migrants who risk their lives to reach the United States. Leïla Slimani, a Moroccan-French journalist and Goncourt Prize-winning writer, also gives voice to those who are marginalised. His texts show the impact of cultural, political, and economic processes on the lives of people – in particular those whom Western societies stigmatise as Others. More importantly, many of the meetings will be attended by translators of the presented works and authors to showcase that they are indispensable for the existence of the international literary community – without them, it would not only be incomplete, it would simply be impossible.

Fans of non-fiction literature will also find something for themselves during the upcoming Conrad Festival, which will be attended by one of the most famous authors of books in this genre – Artur Domosławski, who will join us in Kraków to talk about the extent of consequences of events in the 20th century on the contemporary conflicts that are currently reshaping the world. The problem of being rooted into the past concerning one region – Silesia — will be tackled by Zbigniew Rokita. The author of the Nike Award-winning book Kajś will highlight the complicated fates of individuals and groups who had to adapt to borders imposed upon them in the aftermath of political upheavals and wars.

One of the key aspects of the programme will be a debate about Poland as seen by Poles living abroad. Eminent writers – Natasza Goerke, Weronika Gogola and Grażyna Plebanek – will talk about how they translate Polishness into other languages and cultural codes. The debate with Marta Sokołowska, Ishbel Szatrawska and Szczepan Twardoch shapes up to be just as interesting – it will be an opportunity to discuss the literary community, the state of contemporary Polish drama and the crossing of boundaries between stage works and prose.

The Festival will also feature a number of accompanying events, including reading workshops for youth. This time, we are going to bring about the Queer Reading Lessons, devoted in their entirety to literature that talks about the experiences of LGBTQIA+ people.

Following the example of last year, a year-long series of Nature of the Future debates has been launched – join us to see Grzegorz Jankowicz talking online with eminent authors from all over the world. The recordings will be available on the KBF channel on YouTube, on the Conrad Festival and the Tygodnik Powszechny fanpages on Facebook, as well as on the PLAY KRAKÓW platform. The first meeting this year, featuring American journalist and climate change expert Elizabeth Kolbert, is available now.

We are waiting for you!

The Conrad Festival is organised by the City of Krakow, KBF and the Tygodnik Powszechny Foundation.