18 April 2018 Presenting the first guests of the 2018 Conrad Festival

Arundhati Roy, Agnieszka Taborska, Martín Caparrós and Wojciech Jagielski will be the first guests of this year’s edition of Conrad Festival. We understand the motto of the 10th anniversary edition of the Festival – POP – in a particular and specific way: as the core of our contemporary cultural and political experience.We will consider POP in the context of the most important and pressing problems of contemporary world. The 10th Conrad Festival will take place in Krakow from the 22nd to the 28th of October.

“During this year’s Conrad Festival, we will think about what pop is in general”, says the artistic director of the Festival, Michał Paweł Markowski. “What is disappearing (or perhaps has already disappeared) in a world dominated by populism is conversation – the only social bond that violence is afraid of. The dispute between culture and civilisation has been defining our modernity for two hundred years. The sharp distinctions between high culture and media pop culture are also among its privileged variants. The abolition of these distinctions was supposed to characterise post-modern culture, thus bringing us to post-modernism. The confusion of these distinctions (and their subsequent return in a new form) is characteristic of a new era, the post-postmodern era, which came to be when the last stage of globalisation eliminated the borders between the private and public, giving the public sphere a completely privatised character.”

In October, Krakow will once again be the meeting place of writers, readers, professionals and amateurs. “In 2018, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Festival, and the anniversary edition will be special in a number of ways”, said Izabela Helbin, director of the Krakow Festival Office. “The Festival is going to be very diverse, since we invited true stars of the literary world, long-awaited by our readers. As always, the programme of the Festival, spanning the entire week, will feature meetings with writers, with a new addition – workshops in the form of an in-depth discussion. We have also planned film programming, as well as events aimed both at seniors, as well as the youngest participants of the Festival. Traditionally, we are going to join forces with the 21st Book Fair and once again we are going to give our exhibition stand to small publishers. For the festival finale, join us for the great celebration of Polish literature – the 4th Conrad Award Gala, during which we are going to present the eponymous award to the best debut novel of the previous year.”

The subsequent days of this year’s edition were given the following categories: Correctness, Popularity, Drive, Populism, Popculture, Panic, Demand. “Together with the invited writers, we will reflect on the dangers of these processes, without losing sight of the literature which – as always – will be the most important language used to reflect on the contemporary world. Reflect and discuss, because we are certain that these two activities are the most effective means of opposing various forms of oppression that we are experiencing today,” explains Grzegorz Jankowicz, programming director of the Conrad Festival.

Arundhati Roy – Indian writer, author of political essays, social activist and feminist; Martín Caparrós – Argentinian journalist and writer, translator of Voltaire and Shakespeare, among others; Agnieszka Taborska – writer, translator, art historian and Romance studies scholar; as well as Wojciech Jagielski – journalist, who witnessed the most important political events of the turn of the centuries around the world are authors who will visit Krakow in October to take part in the Conrad Festival as our guests.



Martín Caparrós is the author of more than twenty reportages, translated into many languages. He has lived in Paris, Madrid and New York. A number of his books was translated into Polish, including the adventure thriller The Vanishing of the Mona Lisa (Tajemnica markiza de Valfierno), as well as two reportages – Hunger (Głód), the Ryszard Kapuściński Award-nominated chronicle of homelessness and poverty in the world (2016), and Una Luna [A Moon] (Księżyc.Od nowiu do nowiu (2018), which describes the problem of migration, exclusion and wars, commissioned by the United Nations.

In 1997, Arundhati Roy debuted with her novel The God of Small Things. Her first book was devoted to the problem of discrimination against women in India, for which she received the Booker Prize. In 2017, her second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness was translated into Polish (as Ministerstwo niezrównanego szczęścia).Her book of essays The Algebra of Infinite Justice (Algebra bezgranicznej sprawiedliwości) and her reportage Broken Republic: Three Essays (Indie rozdarte) have also been published in Poland.She lives in Delhi.

Agnieszka Taborska is known as the author of such books as The Dreaming Life of Leonora de la Cruz, Abecadło Topora [The ABCs of Topor], Okruchy amerykańskie [American Crumbs] and Wieloryb, czyli przypadek obiektywny [The Whale, or the Objective Incident], as well as several books for children published in Poland, Korea, Japan and Germany, including Rybak na dnie morza [The Fisherman at the Bottom of the Sea]. In 2017, Notes. Paryż surrealistyczny [Surrealist Paris: A Notebook] was published, authored by the writer in collaboration with Marcin Giżycki and the Austeria publishing house.

Wojciech Jagielski reported on the downfall of the Soviet empire, the end of apartheid in South Africa, the merger of Hong Kong and China, wars, coups d’état, and the downfalls of dictators in Africa and Asia. In 2018, his newest reportage was published, this time devoted to India – Na wschód od Zachodu [East of the West].He also wrote books about the Caucasus (Dobre miejsce do umierania [A Good Place to Die]), Chechnia (Towers of Stone), Afghanistan (Modlitwa o deszcz [A Prayer for Rain]), and Uganda (The Night Wanderers).

This year’s Conrad Festival will feature both authors known to the Polish readers, as well as world-class writers. The 10th Conrad Festival will take place in Krakow from the 22nd to the 28th of October.