The Krakow UNESCO City of Literature Residency Program is dedicated to emerging writers from the Cities of Literature of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. The Program was created with the belief that the Network provides an excellent opportunity to develop interconnections, boost mobility, and offer professionalization services for writers. It aims to promote the Cities of Literature Network, provide writers with a platform to showcase their work and talent to a Central European audience, support greater diversity of voices and literatures on the Polish and Central European book market and offer local writers the chance to create links with international writers as well. In the previous, pilot year, Krakow hosted three residents from three Cities of Literature, and this year there will be five scholarship holders!
The first resident, Grigory Semenchuk from Lviv UNESCO City of Literature, will spend two months in Krakow (May and June). Semenchuk is a Ukrainian poet, translated into many languages, including Polish, Russian and French. He is also a columnist for the Lviv socio-cultural journal Prosto Neba and the head coordinator of the International Literary Festival as part of the Publishers Forum in Lviv. In 2005-2007, he was actively involved in organizing slam and poetry events. In May, we will also welcome Mark Pajak — poet, writer and editor from Manchester UNESCO City of Literature — for a month’s stay in Krakow. His debut volume of poems Spitting Distance published in 2016 was met with enthusiastic response in Great Britain. Published works by Pajak can be found, in The North magazine, New Writing North or The Poetry School, among others. In addition to writing, he is also involved in literary education; he leads creative writing workshops in cooperation with the Manchester Metropolitan University and others.
In the autumn we will welcome the second round of residents. For two months (September and October), Krakow UNESCO City of Literature will host Louis Klee from the Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature and Núria Añó from Barcelona UNESCO City of Literature. Louis Klee is a poet, playwright and literary critic and the youngest ever winner of the Peter Porter Prize in 2017, the most prestigious poetry award of Australia. His poems were published in the Australian Book Review and Meanjin. He also writes theater plays, including The Ink Trail, which was awarded by the Australian Council.
Núria Añó is an award-winning Catalan-Spanish writer and translator. Her debut publication was published in 1990. In 2006, Añó’s novel titled Els nens de l’Elisa placed third in the 24th edition of Ramon Llull Prize for Catalan Literature. Her prose was translated into many languages including French, English, Italian, German, Polish, and more.
Lastly, this year we will welcome a special scholarship holder, Hera Lindsay Bird, who in June will come to Krakow to partake in the Miłosz Festival and for a month-long residence. This New Zealand poet has a volume of poetry under the name Hera Lindsay Bird, which gained great recognition and popularity and many awards, including the Jessie McKay Best First Book Award or The Sarah Broom Poetry Prize in 2017.
The Residency Program is a strategic project of the Krakow UNESCO City of Literature Program, operated by the Krakow Festival Office, which will fulfill the priority of strengthening international cooperation in the field of literature and the creative industries.
Writers will receive the opportunity for a one or two month stay at the Villa Decius, official partner of the project with years of experience running international residencies, including the Visegrad Literary Residency and the ICORN residency program.
The Krakow Festival Office will guarantee residents the opportunity to participate in the literary life of the city and help to develop opportunities for them to promote their works in Poland.
[From left to right: Grigory Semenchuk, Mark Pajak, Hera Lindsay Bird, Louis Klee, and Núria Añó]