4 October 2016 The landscapes near and far away – Thursday at the Conrad Festival

A landscape is more than a place. Sometimes the memory of a place, the emotions and feelings it evokes can be more important than the place itself. All of it brings us to the discussion of the internal landscape, woven from memories and imaginations.

There are landscapes which are hard to remove from memory, there are some that evoke the feeling of safety and closeness. Thursday will be devoted to landscapes, and the audience will see the meetings with Géza Röhrig, Szczepan Twardoch, Sofia Andrukhovych and Conrad Award nominees.


“I can say that I found my identity in Auschwitz. This place has plotted a path in my life, a path which I constantly follow”, said Géza Röhrig, who played the leading role in The Son of Saul. Röhrig is also a poet and the former frontman of the underground band Huckleberry. In the Academy Award-winning Son of Saul, he played the role of a Sonderkommando member. Before that, he had been interested in concentration camps for a long time, also because of personal reasons, since his grandfather’s entire family perished in Auschwitz. He visited Oświęcim for the first time as a teenager. During Conrad Festival, in a discussion with Grzegorz Jankowicz, we are going to see him primarily as a writer, author of Rabbi's Plucked Parrot, a collection of made-up Chassidic stories.

The literature written by reporters often refers to the connection between the landscape and human experiences. Wojciech Górecki, a journalist, historian, reporter and expert on subjects related to the Caucasus, author of three books about the peninsula: Planet Caucasus, Toast to the Ancestors and Abkhazia, will tell us the stories of his long journeys.Talking with him will be Anna Żamejć, journalist and correspondent, another expert on Caucasus.

Another meeting, titled “People from the Province”, will be devoted to landscapes which are closer to us, yet still mostly unknown. In a discussion with Katarzyna Trzeciak, Radka Franczak, Andrzej Muszyński and Maciej Płaza, authors of books connected in a special way to the topic of Polish countryside will answer questions about terra incognita and think about the reasons why the Polish province is constantly infantilised and simplified in collective narratives.

The subjects connected with science and biology, seemingly devoid of any literary potential are always a, challenge for literates. Urszula Zajączkowska decided to take up the challenge by writing Atoms, a book nominated for the Wrocław Silesius Poetry Award in 2015 as a debut of the year, shattering the general belief that a scientific approach to the world is incompatible with literary sensitiveness. During a meeting with Stanisław Łubieński – author of reports, essayist and amateur ornithologist – and Urszula Zajączkowska, Michał Sowiński will learn how science complements literature.

Late in the evening, the audience will be in for Rumble – a meeting with Szczepan Twardoch, whose latest novel – The King – will present the complex, multifaceted and unknown landscape of Warsaw in 1937. The meeting will be hosted by Szymon Kloska.

Known and unknown, close and strange. The landscapes build our imagination and become a matter transformed by literature, becoming a point of reference for human consciousness, very often being its artistic reflection. Join the City of Krakow, Krakow Festival Office and Tygodnik Powszechny Foundation for the festival meetings, exploring this aspect of literature.