13 September 2019 Much more than just pictures on paper! Comics section at the Conrad Festival

Another festival section, which we have the pleasure to announce, will host the creators, publishers, translators, critics and researchers from the universe of comic books. We will strive to show the richness of graphic stories, encourage everybody to read them and also inspire reflection on some phenomena associated with this form. We will show that comics has become one of the most important texts of our era, also in Poland. Come and join us from Monday to Friday in the Metaforma Cafe at Powiśle 11 – you will have the chance to witness the creation of a comic story by artists right before our eyes!

100 years ago, one of the Lviv weekly magazines published the first episode of With fire and sword, or the adventures of crazy Grześ – a contemporary novel created by the illustrator Kamil Mackiewicz and the screenwriter Stanisław Wasylewski. It is now considered to be the first Polish comic story that was published in the press and reached a wide audience. That is why in 2019 we symbolically celebrate the centenary of this genre in our country. What tradition do graphic stories have in Poland? What are their origins and how did they differ from foreign works? How did the turbulent history of the 20th century influence the development of this genre in Poland? Comic activists and researchers – Adam Rusek, Michał Traczyk and Artur Wabik – will try to answer these questions on Monday, 21 October at 18:00.

During the second day of the comic section, we will enter the international arena. The Tuesday's discussion about Comic books from other worlds (Far East, Latin America and the Russian-speaking zone) will be held with the participation of Radosław Bolałek, Bartosz Rabij and Paweł Timofiejuk. The debate will be led by Tomasz Pindel. On Wednesday, within the Ladies counterattack. Polish women’s comics, we will meet the representation of women artists. Anna Krztoń, Maria Lengren and Elżbieta Żukowska will gather to answer Artur Wabik's tricky questions. Why are more and more women illustrators, screenwriters, critics and publishers appearing on the market? Is "women's comics" really a separate phenomenon? And finally, what women authors should we pay special attention to?

For Thursday, we prepared something less sophisticated... or maybe not? We shall host the meeting Balloons in translation. About translating comics. At first glance, the work of a comic book translator seems easier than dealing with literary translation – after all, there is much less text in a graphic story than in a novel. The comics, however, poses a lot of difficulties. How to deal with situations where the illustration is strongly linked to the text? How to recreate humour based on linguistic jokes? How to transfer culturally distant comics like manga to Polish? We have invited three experienced translators of respectively English, French and Japanese – Piotr W. Cholewa, Wojciech Birek and Paweł Dybała – to share with us their thoughts on this topic.

And finally, don't miss the Friday meeting with Jérémie Royer, who is known in Poland as the co-author of the comic book Audobon. On the Wings of the World – a story about the French naturalist who decided to paint all the birds living in America. We will learn what was it like to work on this ambiguous and metaphorical biography of a man overwhelmed with ornithological obsession. We will also get to know how a documentary comic book differs from film or reportage, and how to draw an illustrator.

The idea of the comic section at the Conrad Festival is to present a brief, preliminary, impressionistic insight into the treasury of this universe, as well as to encourage everybody to read comics and offer some reflection on certain phenomena associated with this form. The section will be complemented with the creation of a unique comic book – after each meeting, the participants will create their own "balloons" on the windows of Metaforma Cafe.

During the 23rd International Book Fair in Kraków (on 25–27 October at 12:00–18:00) there will also be a Comic Book Salon. The list of invited guests includes: Jérémie Royer, Arne Jysch, Guilherme Petreca, Reed Tucker, Tomasz Kontny, Marek Turek, Judyta Sosna, Igor Jarek, Roch Urbaniak, Mateusz Piątkowski, Jacek Kuziemski, Marianna Strychowska and Aleksandra Motyka. Programme details can be found on the website of the Kraków Comic Book Association.