7 October 2015 The Book Industries programme!

The Book Industries programme!

The Conrad Festival has for years been a meeting place for publishers, booksellers, illustrators and book designers – in short, everyone in Poland who considers literature to be important. Since the Festival began, the largest Book Fair in Poland also takes place in Krakow at the same time.

An integral part of the festival is the Przemysły Książki [Book Industries] programming, which will include tempestuous discussions and inspiring workshops with experts connected with the literary aspects of creative industries. This year’s edition looks to be particularly exciting, with participants including Magdalena Parys, Mariusz Szczygieł and the writers of the game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. We also have something for translators, something for booksellers and librarians, as well as something for bloggers. See for yourselves!

How the professionals do it

“The situation on the Polish book market in 2015 is dramatic. Magdalena Parys, this year’s winner of the European Union Prize for Literature, author of the bestselling books The Tunnel and Magician. We should treat her words as an invitation to an important discussion, to which this year, in addition to the writer, we have also invited women translators, editors and critics.” (Marcin Wilk)

What remains of the old market practices? What arouses our hopes and fears? Will a fixed price save the book, or will it be a nail in its coffin? Join us for The book: a high risk product, a cycle of meetings led by Marcin Wilk, where the above questions will most certainly be asked many times. Have our closest western neighbours, who can boast one of the most stable publishing markets in Europe, found the answers? What is the cause of this success? During the conversation Germany: good practices along with Magdalena Parys, we will look at their experiences. In the meantime, attendees of the Women translators debate, with the participation of Justyna Czechowska, Joanna Kornaś-Warwas and Katarzyna Krzyżewska, will have a chance to find out about the specifics of the job and professional dilemmas faced by people who work on literary translations on a daily basis. The difficult situation on the market also affects literary magazines – we will talk about this with Urszula Pieczek and Bernadeta Prandzioch, who know the mechanisms of their operations from the inside out.

We will also pay particular attention to literary awards. We will take a look backstage, with the help of Magdalena Heydel, an award-winning translator, and Justyna Sobolewska, a literary critic who sits on the juries of the Angelus Central European Literary Award and the Silesius Poetry Award.

In our discussions, there will be no shortage of foreign voices. Edward Hirsch, prominent American poet and literary activist, will tell us about the operations of model literary foundations – extremely important organisations that support literature. We will also be able to think about solutions related to readership support programmes, by taking a look at Sweden, a country full of fervent readers. During the meeting Reading in Swedish, literary activists from Sweden – Gunnar Ardelius and Katti Hoflin – will share their ideas for infecting people with a love of reading. The meeting will be led by Katarzyna Tubylewicz, author of the book Sweden reads. Poland reads.

Honouring the debut authors

“The difficulty of making a debut is well shown by this glaring disproportion: few authors manage to make it through the complicated editorial process and publish their first book.”

(Grzegorz Jankowicz, programme director of the Conrad Festival).

This year, we will give out the first Conrad Award to the author of the best literary debut of 2014. With the award, we want to not only help young writers and find future literary stars, but above all to fight the opinion that there is no good “young” literature in Poland. There is good literature, and the books of the Award nominees will be the best proof of that. You will find out their names soon, and will choose the winner yourselves during the Conrad Festival.

Something for the book bloggers

Today, many people think that all meaningful literary criticism has migrated to the Internet. Even if that is still a bit of an exaggeration, for countless readers, literary blogs are the first place where they look for credible information about newly published books. It is with those bloggers in mind that we are starting up our Blogosphere, where internet reviewers will be able to find out everything they need, as well as take a festival selfie. Most importantly, they will be able to take part in two very interesting meetings: Mariusz Szczygieł will talk about the style of literary discussions on the Internet, and we will talk about intellectual property rights on the Internet with a copyright expert.

How to attract crowds to libraries?

It is not an exaggeration to say that libraries are one of the most important bastions of readership. This is why the Conrad Festival is once again hosting the national Polish project BIBA, or Biblioteczne Inicjatywy Biblioteczne Aktywności [Library Initiatives, Library Activities], which aims to raise the cultural competences of librarians. This time, under the watchful eye of specialists from the Book Institute, a group selected in a competition of librarians from all over the country will plumb the depths of the issue of audience development, so they can more consciously and strategically build relationships with library audiences on an everyday basis.

SAGA – writing workshop for seniors

How to write in a way that moves the readers deeply? How to write to shake the readers out of their ways of thinking? The SAGA workshops are intended to show their participants that whatever story we are telling, we are always speaking about ourselves. At the same time, we always start up the readers’ own stories in them. This year’s themes are laughter and details – Małgorzata Majewska and Katarzyna Kubisiowska will help participants focus on them. The workshop is organised in cooperation with Villa Decius.

Registration: dyrcz@villa.org.pl

Will video games save literature?

Video games are conquering the salons (including literary ones). Is there still anyone who has not heard that The Witcher, based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s saga, is currently taking the world by storm, with profits surpassing Hollywood productions? It is high time to talk about the new position of games in the world of culture. On Wednesday, the 21st of October, we will find out what Gazeta Wyborcza journalist Wojciech Orliński, as well as Jakub Szamałek and Igor Sarzyński, the Witcher writers from CD Projekt RED, have to say on the subject. We have a special treat in store for game enthusiasts: a several-hours-long video game script-writing workshop, led by Jakub Szamałek. Fifteen lucky holders of special passes will be able to find out what it is like to be part of a professional team working on an RPG. The workshop is organised as part of the UNESCO City of Literature Creative Writing Course, which started for the first time in September of this year. Registration starts next week!



As you can see, Book Industries is full of rich and interesting programming – we hope that it will not only expand the knowledge of the attendees, but also provide at least a few ideas for improving the situation of books in Poland. One thing we can be sure of: talking about the book crisis has never looked so pleasant!


Detailed programme available at: www.conradfestival.pl