18 October 2016 Points on the map - Sunday with Conrad Festival

The role of literature is sometimes similar to that of a map. While showing the reality, it has to distance itself from it and cannot show it in a 1:1 scale.

On Sunday, Géza Röhrig, David Van Reybrouck and Grażyna Plebanek will use the Conrad Festival as an opportunity to discuss the process of literary mapping of the world and human experiences. The day will end with the Conrad Award Gala, during which the audience will learn the name of the best debut author of the year.

Maps, both literary and real ones, allow us to traverse the world. This is also what the participants of the Festival are going to do on Sunday - they are going to visit Congo, Israel and travel back in time to Bulgakov’s Russia. The meetings around the two literary awards will allow them to set new orientation points in the vast space of literature.

The art of translation calls for selectivity. It is not always possible to translate everything, and sometimes some meanings have to stay hidden. Thus, the process of translation is similar to making one’s own map, offering an alternative way to navigate through a text in another language. The new polemic translation of Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita will be discussed by Grzegorz, Leokadia and Igor Przebinda during a meeting with Tomasz Fiałkowski.

David Van Reybrouck, a writer of historical prose, both fiction and scholarly works, comes from the Belgian part of Flanders. In his work, he focuses on Congo - its culture, as well as political and social issues. In 2015, his famous book Congo: The Epic History of a People was published in Poland as  Kongo. Opowieść o zrujnowanym kraju. The book itself was the fruit of his travels, observations and in-depth scientific research. The author asks us to once again think about colonialism. During the meeting titled “Whose Africa?”, Grażyna Plebanek, David Van Reybrouck and Maciej Jakubowiak will discuss colonialism.

In spite of the fact that written word played a significant role in the history of Israel, many people do not realise that the country has very diverse literary traditions. The next meeting will take the audience of the Conrad Festival to the world of Israeli literature, mostly unknown in Poland. The invited guests -Eshkol Nevo, Yishai Sarid, Zeruya Shalev - will come to us as emissaries, whose role will be to show us the specifics of one of the most interesting areas of the world from the literary standpoint. The discussion will be conducted by Karolina Szymaniak.

During Conrad Festival, Sunday is definitely the day of awards. One of the meetings will be devoted to the art of Alain Mabanckou, a writer born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who in his books deals with the problems of black people in Africa, as well as the African diaspora around the world. Mabanckou was the laureate of the last year’s edition of the Polish edition of the Goncourt List - the Polish Choice, under the patronage of the Goncourt Academy. The event will be conducted by Olga Stanisławska.

The day will end with the long-awaited Conrad Award Gala, combined with a master class conducted by Géza Röhrig. During the Gala, the Conrad Award for the best début of 2015 will be presented. Among the nominees for the Award there are Marek Adamik, Magdalena Kicińska, Weronika Murek, Żanna Słoniowska and Tomasz Wiśniewski. You can cast your vote on the Festival’s website.