2 March 2011 Szczygiel’s Gottland staged in Ostrava

Ostrava’s Jiří Myron Theatre recently staged a premiere of a theatrical performance based on a collection of reportages by Polish journalist Mariusz Szczygieł - Gottland. The eminent reporter was a guest of the first edition of Krakow’s Conrad Festival, where he talked about his work with Katarzyna Surmiak and Wojciech Jagielski. The Ostrava’s show, based on Szczygieł’s best-selling book, was directed by Jan Mikulaszek and Marek Pivovar, while translation into Czech was handled by Helena Stachová. The play was supplemented with the latest facts, absent from the book, such as the conclusion of a court dispute between Kubišová and Vondráčková. Besides the Ostrava performance, a play based on ‘Gottland’ will be staged by the Prague theatre Švandovo divadlo. The premiere has been scheduled for spring.

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 has been reprinted three times to date. In 2009 the book was recognised as the European book of the year.

Mariusz Szczygieł (1966) – journalist and reporter, Szczygieł graduated from the Faculty of Journalism at the University of Warsaw. After his A-levels, Szczygieł began working for Na przełaj magazine. Since 1990, he has worked in Gazeta Wyborcza, and since 2004 has been an the editor in the Duży Format supplement. He published: Niedziela, która zdarzyła się (1996) and Gottland (2006), the latter translated into 10 languages. Some of the awards Szczygieł received for Gottland include: the Nike 2007 Readers Prize, two awards of the Warsaw Literary Premiere Awards - ‘Book of the Month’ and the ‘Book of the Year’; the Beata Pawlak Award; and the French Prix Amphi. The Government of the Czech Republic granted him the Gratias Agit Award (2009). In 2010 Szczygieł published a collection of his texts titled Zrób sobie raz, which is the story of what he finds so fascinating about Czech culture.