10 October 2023 Book Congress at the Conrad Festival

A series of meetings around the book industry

The Book Congress, which is organised as part of the Joseph Conrad International Literary Festival, is a series of meetings revolving around the book market and the publishing trade. The debates for the representatives of the industry and broader audiences will be attended by Edwin Bendyk, Wojciech Chmielarz, Przemek Dębowski, Weronika Gogola, Gaja Grzegorzewska, Jerzy Jarniewicz and Grażyna Plebanek, as well as many others. The events are set to take place on 24–28 October 2023 in Krakow.


The Book Congress is part of the Conrad Festival and a nationwide platform for dialogue between the players active in the publishing sector and literary life. “It is a truly unique endeavour in Poland and the only place where authors, publishers, librarians, booksellers, translators and readers can meet each other at the same time and in one place. The debates bring people together, enable us to talk about the ongoing issues and seek viable solutions. This is possible thanks to extensive cooperation with the Literary Union Association and the Polish Literary Translators’ Association, as well as the Polish Chamber of Books," says Urszula Chwalba, executive director of the Conrad Festival and curator of the Kraków – UNESCO City of Literature programme.


Debates at the Potocki Palace

On 25-28 October, the intimate interiors in Krakow's Main Market Square will host a series of interesting debates. Olga Wróbel, Jerzy Jarniewicz, Wojtek Kopeć, Dorota Kozicka and Anna Marchewka will talk about the role of independent literary critics. Conrad Award laureates – Weronika Gogola, Elżbieta Łapczyńska and Anna Cieplak – will argue on whether it is easier to release a debut or publish a second book. Translator Eliza Pieciul-Karmińska and illustrator Michalina Jurczyk will discuss the new translation of Grimms’ fairy tales, titled Żyli długo i szczęśliwie, póki nie umarli (Wydawnictwo Dwie Siostry).

Marcin Hernas, Piotr Rypson and Przemek Dębowski, experts in book design, will take a fresh look at the recent history of their trade, starting their deliberations with the recent release – Wy-Twórcy książek. Historia społeczności wydawniczej w czasach PRL-u (Wydawnictwo Karakter). Edwin Bendyk, Jakub Gomułka, Grażyna Plebanek and Aga Zano will talk about the challenges facing the book market due to the development of artificial intelligence. Admission to the events held at the Potocki Palace will be free of charge.


Events at the Kraków Fair

Some of the events featured in the programme of the Book Congress will take place at the International Book Fair in Krakow on Galicyjska Street on 26–27 October. Edyta Plich and Magdalena Siekierzyńska will talk about the Alternative Reading List – a project developed in cooperation between the Intelligent Youth Society, the BUKBUK website and the EDICO Foundation. A debate on the issue of marginalisation of children's literature is also in the works, since on the one hand, Polish authors of children’s books are successful in Poland and abroad, and on the other, their works do not have an equal place in the public debate. Aleksandra Byrska, Jadwiga Jędryas, Paulina Małochleb, Joanna Olech and Katarzyna Ryrych will talk about disrupting the status quo.

One of the highlights of last year's Book Congress was the signing of the Krakow Convention – the first document in Poland defining standards of cooperation between publishing houses and authors – by a group of publishers. This year’s Congress will feature a discussion of the Publisher Seal of Quality awarded to signatories of the convention, attended by Magdalena Hajduk-Dębowska, Fabian Cieślik, Grażyna Plebanek and Rafał Lisowski. Readers and attendees interested in the interpenetration of the worlds of literature and film can join the Word2Picture meeting titled Creative Transfer, or how a good film adaptation is made. Authors of crime novels – Wojciech Chmielarz and Gaja Grzegorzewska – will share their experiences. Attending the International Book Fair in Kraków requires buying a ticket.


Festival spaces

The Book Congress will also take place at the Faculty of Polish Studies of Jagiellonian University. On 24 October, the University will host an open showcase of works by graduates of the Translatorium mentoring programme, carried out within the framework of the Kraków – UNESCO City of Literature programme, aimed at training young  translators interested in translating foreign literature into Polish, who have not yet published more than a single translation of a literary work.

“We are making efforts to involve all of Kraków in this festival of literature – this is symbolised by the lighting of the Conrad lantern on the City Hall tower. The festival centre will be located at the Academy of Theatre Arts, which will host the majority of the meetings included in the main festival stream. You can also join us at the Nuremberg House, the Cervantes Institute and Pod Baranami Cinema – our partners, with whom we are going to host some interesting events. The festival will culminate with the Conrad Award Gala held at the ICE Kraków Congress Centre,” says Grzegorz Jankowicz, Programming Director of the Conrad Festival. You can find out more on the Festival’s website.


The Book Congress is an event held within the framework of the Conrad Festival, produced in cooperation with the Literary Union Association and the Polish Literary Translators’ Association, held under the honorary patronage of the Polish Book Chamber.


Conrad Festival is organised by: The City of Kraków, Krakow Festival Office, operator of the Kraków – UNESCO City of Literature programme and the Tygodnik Powszechny Foundation.

The festival was financed from the funds of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as part of the Heritage as part of the Promoting Readership Programme.

Strategic Partners: Allegro and Tygodnik Powszechny

Partners: French Institute, French Institute in Krakow, Goncourt Academy, Korean Centre, Goethe Institute, Cervantes Institute, Austrian Cultural Forum, British Council, Embassy of the Republic of Ireland, Conrad Award, Krakow Book Fair, Krakow Library, Nuremberg House, “Pod Baranami” Cinema, Literary Union Association, Polish Literary Translators’ Association, Polish Book Chamber, Word2Picture, Galeria Bronowice

Media patronage: RMF Classic, Wyborcza.pl, Książki – Magazyn do czytania, Czas Literatury, Lubimy Czytać


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