4 April 2011 Marian Pankowski, outstanding Polish prose writer and novelist, is dead

Grzegorz Jankowicz, Vice-chairman of the Ha!art Foundation board informed the Polish Press Agency that Marian Pankowski, an outstanding prose writer, playwright and novelist whose work had been completely unknown in Poland for a very long time, died on Sunday in Brussels at the age of 92. During last year’s Conrad Festival we had the honour of hosting Marian Pankowski in Krakow. The author of Smagła swoboda (Swarthy Freedom) talked at the Pod Jaszczurami Club about his life; he recollected the difficult times of war, his decision to leave to the West, and also shared his understanding of what literature is: ‘I’m a witness of the fact that my presence at Auschwitz was that of a poet, and not a patriot. I was there and I kept wondering how I was going to write about it afterwards, what language would I find to describe it, to introduce it to literature.’ During a meeting entitled “I’m not an emigrant” he said: ‘You cannot blow into the past. The past is here and now. Memories are here and now. You cannot deny it.’

He was called the poet of prose. In Poland most of his books were published in the last couple of years in reissues by the Ha!art publishing company. His most important works include: Matuga idzie (Here Comes Matuga), Rudolf (Rudolph), Pątnicy z Macierzyzny (Pilgrims from the Mother Land), Bal wdów i wdowców (Ball of Widows and Widowers), Była Żydówka, nie ma Żydówki (There Was a Jewish Girl, There Is no Jewish Girl), Tratwa nas czeka (The Raft Awaits).