26 October 2011 Everything about the Conrad Festival

Conrad 04 is the 4th supplement to Tygodnik Powszechny, dedicated to the 3rd Conrad Festival held in Krakow between the 2nd and 6th of November 2011.

The supplements present the themes of the consecutive days of the event organised by the Tygodnik Powszechny Foundation, the Krakow Festival Office and the City of Krakow under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland Bronisław Komorowski. This time, we present as-yet unpublished passages from Tomasz Budzyński’s autobiography, a meeting with whom will be hosted by Andrzej Stasiuk. The evening will be followed by a concert by Tomasz Budzyński and Friends.

Jan Balbierz, a professor of Swedish literature, will present the writer Steve Sem-Sandberg, a guest of the third day of the Festival: the latest contest for best book of the decade in the largest Swedish daily, Dagens Nyheter, was won by three quasi-documentary novels: Sara Stridsberg’s Drömfakulteten, Den amerikanska flickan by Monika Fagerholm, a Finish-Swedish writer unknown in Poland, and Steve Sem-Sandberg’s The Emperor of Lies. Narrative experiments with fiction and facts are well embedded in the Scandinavian literary tradition, and re much older than post-modernist novel experiments. Steve Sem-Sandberg is an extremely versatile artist, novelist, essayist, dramatist, journalist and translator (his recent translation – John Berger’s Pockets of Resistance) – probably the most famous continuator of this kind of poetry outside Scandinavia.

Despite of appearances, though, the prospective biographer of Janusz Głowacki will not have it easy. The problems will be of an unusual kind this time: the overflow of personal sources, hundreds of pages of autobiographical prose, thousands of journalistic materials and anecdotes. Behind this wall of information, a guard of irony, is a man whose real face is not so evident. When I ask about Głowacki, one thing recurs quite regularly in my interlocutors’ statements: “a hotshot”, “a damn lucky bastard.” Janusz Głowacki: playwright, prose writer, author of the script for a film on Lech Wałęsa to be directed by Andrzej Wajda, will be presented by Agnieszka Wolny-Hamkało. Głowacki will be a guest of the 5th day of the Conrad Festival.

“I know no boundary to freedom in art,” says Manuela Gretkowska, “The artist has a right to transcend the taboo.” The profile of the writer, present on the 5th day of the Festival, will be outlined by Jerzy Franczak.

What is the link between politics and the art of translation? This topic is touched upon by Magda Heydel, author of a new translation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, who will host a discussion Translation and Politics on the 4th day of the Festival: “The artistic shape of the text translated reflects ideological attitudes and economic interests, for or against which the translator acts.”

The latest issue of Tygodnik Powszechny with the supplement Conrad 04 comes out on Wednsday, the 26th of October.