28 February 2011 Mariusz Szczygieł’s Gottland is a candidate for the ‘most democratic’ literary prize of the world

June will reveal the winner of the Premio di Acerbi, a prize regarded as the ‘most democratic’ literary award in the world. The candidates for the prize include the Polish book Gottland, by Mariusz Szczygiel.
The proceedings of the world’s largest literary jury have been launched in two neighbouring Italian cities, Castel Goffredo and Mantua. A group of 250 people will read three Polish books, including Gottland by Mariusz Szczygieł, to pick the winner of the Premio di Acerbi. The books will be read and appraised by professors, lawyers and doctors, and also students and members of a literary club based in a local psychiatric hospital. The prize has been awarded for 19 years now.

Gottland is a novel describing over a dozen histories of the most famous figures of Czech public life of the twentieth century (including Tomáš Baťa, Lida Baarova, Helena Vondráčková, Marta Kubišová and Karel Gott). In the Czech Republic Gottland became a bestseller and in 2009 received the title of European Book of the Year.

Mariusz Szczygieł was a guest at the first edition of Krakow’s Conrad Festival – he talked about his work with Katarzyna Surmiak and Wojciech Jagielski.