30 October 2010 Epic family stories (and one poem) at the Conrad Festival

On the third day of the Festival, in the Pod Jaszczurami Club, Anna Marchewka will host a meeting with Joanna Bator, Inga Iwasiów and Bożena Umińska-Keff. The panel Historie rodzinne (Family Stories) will be an opportunity for writers and their readers to refresh the memory of the literary output of authors whose everyday occupation is the broadly understood criticism of culture and academic work. What brings the participants of the meeting together, is their interest in contemporary transformations of the cultural model of family, the impact of family on the formation of individual and social identity and the reverse phenomenon – the change of the model of family provoked by other factors shaping the awareness of the modern man.

The most recognisable books by Inga Iwasiów (Bambino) and Joanna Bator (Piaskowa Góra /The Sand Mountain/) are epic family stories in which the history of Poland under Communist rule interweaves with personal lives and private tales of protagonists. It is hard to determine which of the threads is more important to the authors – micro- and macronarratives form a background towards each other, shedding a new light both on the last decades of the history of Poland and on the historical burden of contemporary families.

Like Umińska-Keff, both writers like making use of feminist perspectives both in their academic and literary work. The book Utwór o matce i ojczyźnie (A Poem About Mother And The Homeland) by Umińska-Keff is a poem in which genres and forms (from the opera to the oratorio) are combined and mixed in order to produce an elevated, ironic and haunting tone of the tale about the relation – and dialogue – between the Mother and the Daughter.Bambino and A Poem About Mother And The Homeland were nominated for the Nike Literary Award 2009.

The festival panel will be conducted by Anna Marchewka, a doctoral student of the Jagiellonian University collaborating with the Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities of the Jagiellonian University.