1 December 2011 The Independent recognises Andrzej Stasiuk's On the Road to Babadag
British newspaper The Independent has launched a literary recapitulation of this year, and the list of best travel books include Andrzej Stasiuk's On the road to Babadag, translated by Michael Kandel. Stasiuk is a regular guest and friend of the Conrad Festival.
On the Road to Babadag is a book about a journey through a forgotten Europe: no capitals, no metropolises - just European provinces stretching from the Low Beskids to Albania. It is likely to be a venture into the European subconscious: the areas of which Europe would like to forget. Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Albania, Moldova - these are the countries on the route of Stasiuk's journey. By car, hitchhiking and by train. Though it is also a journey into the consciousness of those inhabiting the part of Europe always considered worse, backward and primitive. The author, however, regards these countries in a complex-free manner. At times, the reader might even have the impression that these are the only countries on Earth, which helps us avoid boring and futile comparisons between East and West. On the Road to Babadag is a travel and adventure book, not only in a geographical sense but also - or above all - a spiritual one.
Andrzej Stasiuk - prose writer, essayist, dramatist. Granted a number of awards, including the Kościeliski Family Foundation prize (1995), the Nike Literary Award (2005), the Vilenica Prize awarded by the Slovene Writers' Association (2008), and the 2010 Gdynia Literary Award (category: prose). Expelled from schools and taking up various jobs, a man with an unconventional CV. In the early 1980s he was involved in the pacifist movement and deserted from the army, which led to one and a half years in prison. In 1987, he moved out of Warsaw and settled down in the Beskidy mountains, from where he kept sending his texts to newspapers and magazines. Stasiuk debuted in 1992 with a collection of short stories, Mury Hebronu. In 1994, he published a volume of poetry, Wiersze miłosne i nie, and Biały Kruk (White Raven, on which the Jerzy Zalewski film Gnoje is based) came out a year later. Subsequently, Stasiuk published Opowieści galicyjskie (Tales of Galicia), Przez rzekę (1996), Dukla (1997), Dwie sztuki (telewizyjne) o śmierci (1998), Jak zostałem pisarzem (próba autobiografii intelektualnej) (1998), Dziewięć (1999), Tekturowy samolot (2000), Zima (2001) i Jadąc do Babadag (On the Road to Babadag, 2004). In 2000, together with Yuri Andrukhovych, Stasiuk published Moja Europa. Dwa eseje o Europie zwanej Środkową, and with Olga Tokarczuk and Jerzy Pilch – Opowieści wigilijne. In 2005, Noc czyli słowiańsko-germańska tragifarsa medyczna came out, and in 2006, he published Fado (Fado). In 2007, Stasiuk published Ciemny las, a stage play, and Dojczland, a volume of prose. Two years later, in 2009, he produced Czekając na Turka, another stage play (Mikołaj Grabowski directed the performance based on the play that was presented at the Stary Teatr in Krakow), and Taksim, a novel. In 2010, Dziennik pisany później was published – Stasiuk read fragments of this work during last year's Festival (the book qualified for the final seven of the Nike Literary Award). Stasiuk’s literary manifesto is “write, cross-out, think, look, listen, write and cross- out, cross-out, cross-out...’. His books have been translated into almost all European languages. Stasiuk lives in the Beskid Niski.