22 August 2012 New Guests of 4.Conrad Festival

Dubravka Ugrešić, Oksana Zabuzhko, and Alain Mabanckou at the Conrad Festival Dubravka Ugrešić, Oksana Zabuzhko and Alain Mabanckou have now joined the ranks of writers confirmed to participate in the Conrad Festival in Krakow this year. The 4th edition of the festival will also be accompanied by a cycle of events devoted to the art of W.G. Sebald. Let us recall that the Conrad Festival will begin on the 22nd of October and last for a week (until the 28th of October). Other writers who confirmed their participation include Nobel prize winner Orhan Pamuk, Péter Esterházy, Jeannete Winterson, Magdalena Tulli, and Michal Viewegh. The full programme will be announced before the end of August.

Dubravka Ugrešić was born in Zagreb in 1949. Professor of Russian literature, critic of culture, writer, essayist, columnist, translator (she has translated the works of, among others, Boris Pasternak and Daniil Kharms), screenwriter. Half in earnest, half tongue in cheek, she recalls the national stereotypes and local, ethnic prejudices, and claims she grew up in an environment populated by curious creatures: Bulgarians were "blacks", Gypsies stole little children, Italians ate cats alive, and Montenegrins were not humans at all, but turtles. When she left Croatia in 1993 for political reasons, choosing to live and work in the Netherlands and the US (where she teaches creative writing courses, among other things), the issue of multiculturalism and mutual national stereotypes became a frequent subject of her journalistic and essayistic endeavours. She made her debut as a writer with Poza za prozu (A Pose for Prose, 1978). Polish readers are familiar with Fording the Stream of Consciousness (1992, PIW; Wydawnictwo Czarne, 2005), The Culture of Lies (Wyd. Dolnośląskie, 1998; Wydawnictwo Czarne, 2006), Have A Nice Day: From the Balkan War to the American Dream (Wydawnictwo Czarne, 2001), Steffie in the Jaws of Life (Wydawnictwo Czarne, 2002), The Museum of Unconditional Surrender (Świat Literacki, 2002), Thank You for Not Reading (Świat Literacki, 2001). Her name made it to a volume of essays published in 2002 under the title Nostalgia. Eseje o tęsknocie za komunizmem [Nostalgia. An Essay on the Longing for Communism]. Dubravka Ugresic is also an author of three children's books: Mali plamen, Filip i srecia, Kućni duhovi, and a monograph devoted to contemporary Russian literature (Nowa ruska proza, 1980), as well as an anthology of alternative Russian prose Pljuska u ruci (1988). She is a columnist for Die Zeit, NRC Handelsblad, and Lettre International, to name but a few. She has won many literary awards, including the prestigious Heinrich Mann Prize, and has been nominated for The Man Booker International Prize 2005.

Oksana Zabuzhko – Ukrainian writer, poet, and essayist born in 1960. She works at the Institute of Philosophy at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. She has held the Fulbright fellowship and lectured in the United States. She is the author of numerous poetry volumes, a book of short stories entitled Sister, Sister (2003; W.A.B. 2007), and essays, Chronicles from Fortinbras. She rose to national and international fame with her Field Work in Ukrainian Sex (1996; W.A.B. 2003, wyd. II 2008). Her latest novel, The Museum of Abandoned Secrets, was hailed as the best Ukrainian book of 2010. In Poland, The Museum of Abandoned Secrets will be published in September by the W.A.B. publishing house.

Alain Mabanckou was born in 1966 in the Republic of Congo (formerly known as Congo Brazzaville). He studied law in Paris and currently lectures in francophone and Afro-American literature at a university in Los Angeles. He has written six novels and six volumes of poetry. Broken Glass, published in France in 2005, earned him wide renown and the Prix des Cinq Continents award. A year later, his next novel, Memoirs of a Porcupine, was awarded with the prestigious Prix Renaudot. He is a man of temperament and great oratorical skill. Recently asked by a French journalist whether, as a Congolese, he had problems with the French language (let's remember that it's the official language of Congo), he retorted: Why would I have problems with the French language? It is the French language that has problems with me! On the 13th of August, his new book, Demain j'aurai vingt ans, was published in Poland by Karakter.

For more information about other confirmed guests of the Conrad Festival, turn to Magazyn Conrad, a supplement to today's issue of Tygodnik Powszechny.