Marian Pankowski

Marian Pankowski

Poet, prose writer, dramatist, literary specialist and translator. In 1938 he started to study Polish philology at the Jagiellonian University, but his studies were interrupted by the outbreak of the war a year later. He fought in the September campaign, then he joined the Union of Armed Struggle. Arrested by the Gestapo in 1942, he was a prisoner of concentration camps in Auschwitz, Gross-Rosen and Bergen-Belsen. After the war he stayed in Belgium, where he completed Slavic studies, obtained the Belgian nationality and worked as a lecturer of contemporary Polish literature and a teacher of Polish language at Universite Libre in Brussels. He debuted in a Lvov magazine Sygnały in 1938. He has published the following books: Smagła swoboda (Swarthy Freedom) (1955), Matuga idzie (Here Comes Matuga) (1959), Kozak i inne opowieści (The Cossack and Other Tales) (1965), Rudolf (Rudolph) (1980, 1984, 2005, 2007), Pątnicy z Macierzyzny (Pilgrims from the Mother Land) (1987, 2007), Putto (1994), Z Auszwicu do Belsen (From Auschwitz to Belsen) (2000), W stronę miłości (Towards Love) (2001), Bal wdów i wdowców (Ball of Widows and Widowers) (2006). His books have been translated into more than 30 languages. He is one of the best Polish writers living and writing abroad, although at the same time one of the least popular writers in Poland. Only in recent years did this situation begin to change. This change was brought on by numerous publications of Pankowski’s works, e.g. in the Twórczość magazine, nominations for national literary awards as well as extensive research on the literary output of emigration writers, which has been developing dynamically since the 1990s. His prose is brave, demystifying, deliberately „turpistic” and „Slavic” at the same time. Critics notice similarities between his writing and works by Gombrowicz, Białoszewski and Schulz. Characteristic traits of his literary output are critical gestures towards the generally accepted national heritage, the exploitation of taboo topics and attempts to work out an independent artistic attitude. The meeting with Marian Pankowski, entitled „Nie jestem emigrantem” (I’m Not An Emigrant), will be conducted by Przemysław Czapliński in the Pod Jaszczurami Club (6 November, Saturday, 5.00 pm).