In its centuries-old history, Krakow was and still is a significant academic and intellectual centre in European terms, the cradle of Polish language and literature, the city of the first scriptoria, libraries and printing houses, of masterpieces of literature, and, lastly, the place where the impact of the major modernism movements was the strongest. Krakow is associated with the most important fathers of Polish literature and language: Mikołaj Rey, Jan Kochanowski, Wespazjan Kochowski, Klemens Janicjusz, and Piotr Skarga The most prominent Polish artists who worked in Krakow include also Stanisław Wyspiański, Stanisław Przybyszewski, Józef Mehoffer, and such contemporaries as Karol Wojtyła, Tadeusz Kantor, Stanisław Lem, Sławomir Mrożek, Andrzej Wajda, Czesław Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska. To this day, Krakow is the capital of writers and artists.
Władysław Ludwik Anczyc
(born in 1823 in Vilnius, died in 1883 in Krakow)
Poet, dramatist, columnist, printer, publisher, and political activist. Graduate of Pharmacy Studies at Jagiellonian University. Author of the Pieśni zbudzone series, dramas: Chłopi arystokraci, Emigracja chłopska, Kościuszko pod Racławicami, and Łobzowianie, and publications for children, such as Elementarz dla dzieci polskich. Promoter of the Tatra Mountains. He is commemorated by a plaque in St. Salvador Church.
(born in 1838 in Kalisz, died in 1897 in Krakow)
Poet, dramatist, activist for national independence. Lived in Krakow since 1870, got married and created here. Author of a series of sonnets Nad głębiami (Over the Depths) and the Z obcych stron cycle. Buried in the Crypt of Distinguished Poles at Skałka. A commemorative plaque on ul. Łobzowska marks the place where he lived.
A co-author of liberatura books, theorist of literature, translator, and Joyce scholar, an assistant professor at the Institute of English Philology of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, and a lecturer in the postgraduate programme for Literary Translation, where she runs translation workshops. Together with Zenon Fajfer she wrote the first books to be called liberature: a triple-volume Oka-leczenie (Mute-I-Late, prototype edition 2000, 1st ed. 2009) and (O)patrzenie (Ga(u)ze, 2003), which initiated “Liberatura” series of Korporacja Ha!art Publishing House, which they coedit. They also published Sonnet of Sonnets (2012), devised together with students of the MA Programme in Creative Writing and Bookmaking in Mills College, Oakland, CA. In 2002 Bazarnik and Fajfer founded Liberature Reading Room (now located in Malopolski Garden of Arts of the Małopolska Province Library in Kraków). She published a monograph Joyce and Liberature (Litteraria Pragensia, 2011), and has edited or co-edited several volumes of essays, including Wokol Jamesa Joyce’a (Around James Joyce, 1998), Od Joyce’a do liberatury (From Joyce to Liberature, 2002), James Joyce and After. Writer and Time (2010) and two monograph issues of a translation journal Literatura na Świecie (Literatures of the World) devoted to James Joyce (2004) and B.S. Johnson (2008). Her translation of B.S Johnson’s The Unfortunates was awarded at the Wrocław Good Books Fair in 2008. Her theoretical work on liberature as a new literary genre integrating the verbal content with the material shape of the book introduced the concept to the academic world in the UK, Ireland, France, Japan, Taiwan and the USA.
(born in 1757 in Glinno, died in 1829 in Warsaw)
Director, dramatist, translator; actor and opera singer. Educated at the Nowodworski Schools in Mogiła and at the Krakow Academy. Director of the National Theatre in Warsaw. Considered to be the father of the Polish theatre. Author of the first national opera Cud mniemany, czyli Krakowiacy i Górale (The Presumed Miracle, or Krakovians and Highlanders) taking place in the village of Mogiła.
(born in 1918 in Zakopane, died in 1985 in Warsaw)
He studied in Krakow at the Faculty of Law of Jagiellonian University. During World War II, he was a courier in the Tatra region. After the war, he worked as a translator of Hungarian and a writer; he published several dozen books for children and teenagers. In the 1960s and the 1970s, he wrote Do przerwy 0:1, Stawiam na Tolka Banana, Podróż za jeden uśmiech, Mały pingwin Pik-Pok, Uwaga! Czarny parasol, and Telemach w dżinsach, among others. Several of them were used as a base for popular films and TV series.
(born in 1944 in Lviv)
A literary scholar, critic, and writer, full professor at the Chair of 20th Century Polish Literature at the Pedagogical University of Krakow. She has written a number of academic books, university textbooks on literature for children and teenagers, and many children’s books.
(born in 1940 in Borzęcin)
Poet, journalist. He graduated from a mining technical college in Wałbrzych and from Polish Studies at the Pedagogical University of Krakow. He debuted in 1969 in the Życie Literackie weekly. He was the editor-in-chief of Wieści, he worked for Gazeta Krakowska and Dziennik Polski. In 1989, his poems were included in school curricula, and in the following years, in the matriculation examination in the Polish language. Since then, they have also been published in numerous national and international anthologies, and they have become an inspiration for many singers and composers, such as Stare Dobre Małżeństwo, Elżbieta Adamiak, Hanna Banaszak, Krzysztof Myszkowski, and Andrzej Zarycki. His works have been translated into over a dozen languages, including: English, Hebrew, German, Czech, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. In 2000, he took part in the meeting of three Polish poets and three American poets at the UN Headquarters in New York City, and in 2001 – in the World Poets Congress in Sydney. In his poem entitled Światy, he wrote: You can be a discoverer of worlds in a silence drop / You can miss everything wandering the globe (…).
Miłosz Biedrzycki, also using a pen name: MLB, is an author of poems written in Polish. His volumes of poetry published in Poland include: * (1993), OO (1994), Pył/Łyp (1997), No i tak (2002), 69 (2006), wygrzebane (2007, together with T. Majeran), Sofostrofa i inne wiersze (2007), and Życie równikowe (2010). His volumes of verse published outside of Poland include: Sonce na asfaltu / Słońce na asfalcie / Il sole sull’asfalto (Slovenia, 2003), 69 (American version, USA, 2010).
(born in 1919 in Warsaw, died in 2009 in Krakow)
Historian of literature, critic, essayist, translator. Professor of Jagiellonian University, a leading representative of the so-called Krakow school of literary criticism. One of his achievements was bringing about the publication of all of Witold Gombrowicz’s works in Poland. Author of The Poor Poles Look at the Ghetto essay published in Tygodnik Powszechny (2/1987). A juror for the Nike Literary Award. Winner of the Krakow Book of the Month award (November 1995) for Wszystkie Sztuki Sławomira Mrożka. Recipient of the Gloria Artis Gold Medal for Merit to Culture.
(born in 1874 in Warsaw, died in 1941 in Lviv)
Translator of the canon of French literature; poet, satirist, essayist, and theatre critic of the Young Poland movement. Graduate of the Nowodworski Secondary School and of Medicine at Jagiellonian University. Co-creator of the Zielony Balonik cabaret. Theatre reviewer of the Krakow Czas magazine. Author of Flirt z Melpomeną, Reflektorem w mrok, Znaszli ten kraj, and Antologia literatury francuskiej. He is the patron of the Bagatela Theatre, and his bust may be found in the Planty Park.
(born in 1898 in Krakow, died in 1987 in Krakow)
Historical writer, columnist, and translator. He graduated from Law at Jagiellonian University. A Krakow-based barrister and town councillor. Author of historical novels: O Zawiszy Czarnym opowieść, Warna 1444, the Powieści piastowskie cycle, and a trilogy about Alexander the Great, as well as novellas. Buried at the Salwator Cemetery.
(born in 1932 in Krakow, died in 1957 in Krakow)
Poet, prose writer, dramatist, and journalist. He graduated from Bulgarian Studies at Jagiellonian University. Individualist counted among the “Współczesność” generation (the ’56 generation) and the circle of the Polish poetes maudits. A Dziennik Polski reporter. Author of the poem Luiza, and novel Zabicie ciotki; co-author of the theatre play Karbunkuł (staged by the Cricot 2 theatre). He is a patron of a literary award granted to young poets since 1967.
(born in 1857 in Berdyczów, died in 1924 in Bishopsbourne) One of the greatest European writers. He was a son of Apollon Korzeniowski, poet, translator and an outstanding activist for national independence. He was brought up in Warsaw, Vologda (northern Russia), where he lived in exile, and in Lviv. As a boy, he lived in Krakow (in the years 1869-1874). He became a sailor at the age of 17.. Fate led him to the British navy – he started learning English as late as at the age of 20, but he ultimately wrote his works in this very language.
Conrad’s first novel, Almayer’s Folly, came out in 1895, when the author was 38. After that, he wrote 14 more novels and 8 volumes of short stories. Although – probably owing to his most famous novel, Lord Jim – he is known, above all, as a marine writer, a majority of his works are set on the mainland: in France, England, the Far East, Africa, and Latin America.
Since 2009, he has been the patron of the International Festival of Literature in Krakow, which is organised by the Tygodnik Powszechny Foundation and the Krakow Festival Office.
(born in 1901 in Polna, died in 1991 in London)
Poet, writer, journalist, representative of the Krakow Avant-Garde. Graduate of Jagiellonian University. Author of Cynk and Pieniądz. Known as the “Polish Arthur Rimbaud”.
(born in 1880 in Przyszowa, died in 1945 in Krakow)
Painter, poet, art critic, one of the theoreticians of formism. Graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. Co-founder of the group of Polish Expressionists (Formists) and co-organiser of the Katarynka and Gałka Muszkatołowa Futurist clubs. He initially wrote poems in the Futurist style, and later stylised them as folk primitivism. Author of the drama Śmierć Fauna and volumes of poetry: Zielone Oko. Poezje formistyczne, elektryczne wizje, Osioł i słońce w metamorfozie, Noc-dzień. Mechaniczny instynkt elektryczny, and Pastorałki.
(born in 1975)
A Jagiellonian University graduate. He debuted with a book for children, Wiórki wiewiórki i inne bajki wierszem released under the imprint of the Znak publishing house. He wrote several dozen books for children and several for adults, including a collection of short stories entitled Cafe Szafe. Some of them have been translated into Czech, German, Russian, and English. Winner of the national Pisz do Pilcha [Write to Pilch] competition organised by the Polityka weekly.
Justus (Just) Ludwik Decjusz
(born around 1485 in Wissembourg, died in 1545 in Krakow)
Financier, economist, moneyer, talented diplomat from Alsace, King Sigismund the Old’s secretary, and later his adviser and head of the royal mints. Author of the treatise De monetae caussione ratio and an important three-volume work O starożytności Polaków (De vetustatibus Polonorum). The residence he erected – Villa Decius – still exists in the Wola Justowska district and the Association that manages it creates space for creative dialogue between cultures.
(born in 1415 in Brzeźnica, died in 1480 in Krakow)
One of the most important European historians, eminent Polish geographer. He studied at the Krakow Academy. Chancellor to Bishop Zbigniew Oleśnicki, tutor of Casimir Jagiellon’s sons. Member of groups of envoys to Rome, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Visegrád. Author of Roczniki, czyli kroniki sławnego Królestwa Polskiego (Annals or Chronicles of the Famous Kingdom of Poland) and Życie św. Stanisława biskupa krakowskiego. His many works include: a list of the worth of the possessions and incomes of the Catholic Church in Malopolska, a description of the banners of the Order of the Teutonic Knights captured at Grunwald, descriptions and images of Polish coats of arms, catalogues of Polish bishops, and a treatise substantiating the rights of King Casimir Jagiellon to incorporate Mazovia. He lived on ul. Kanonicza. He was buried at Skałka, and in 1880, on the 400th anniversary of his death, his ashes were moved to the newly created Crypt of Distinguished Poles.
(born in 1941 in Zaklików)
Actor, writer, composer, pianist. Graduate of Polish Studies at Jagiellonian University and the Faculty of Acting of the Ludwik Solski Academy for the Dramatic Arts in Krakow. Connected with Piwnica pod Baranami. Columnist of the Krakow Czas magazine and Rzeczpospolita. Author of over a dozen poetry volumes, including Lekcje rytmiki, Z tego co jest, and Piwnica idzie w górę. Lecturer at the Creative Writing School of Jagiellonian University.
(born in 1853 in Kamieniec Podolski, died in 1917 in Krakow)
Author of short stories (Hanusia Wierzynkówna) and novels: Historia żółtej ciżemki and Paziowie Króla Zygmunta. A model for the character of Radczyni in Wyspiański’s The Wedding. Buried at the Rakowicki Cemetery.
(born in 1974 in Tarnów)
Writer, columnist. After graduating from the Adam Mickiewicz Secondary School No. 3 in Tarnów, he studied philosophy at Jagiellonian University. He debuted in 1990 with a short story Złota Galera (Golden Galley) published in the sci-fi and fantasy monthly, Nowa Fantastyka. His book debut came seven years later – with the novel Xavras Wyżryn. Three years later, he published a collection of short stories W kraju niewiernych (In the Land of the Unfaithful) and another novel – Czarne oceany (Black Oceans) in 2001. So far, he has published nine novels and a number of short stories. He won renown thanks to the novel Lód (Ice, 2007), which was nominated for the Nike Award and contributed to the author being awarded the Kościelski Award and the European Union Prize for Literature. He wrote feature articles and reviews for Nowa Fantastyka, Tygodnik Powszechny, and the Esensja online magazine.
Poet, prose writer, essayist, and translator. He was born on the 29th of May 1924 in Lviv. During the Nazi occupation, he was a soldier of the Home Army; he passed his matura school-leaving exam at clandestine classes in Lviv. He graduated from the Department of English Studies at Jagiellonian University with a Master of Philosophy degree. He also studied law, economics, sociology, and psychology. He debuted as a poet in 1947 in Dziennik Literacki, in which he also published poetry reviews. In the years of socialist realism (1950-1956), he ceased publishing anything – of his own accord. During this time, he worked as a trainee at Jagiellonian Library, and after that as a proofreader at Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne, and when the communist authorities re-established Western philologies (closed down in 1952) – as an English teacher, first at cooperative courses, and later as a teacher at the B. Nowodworski High School No. 1. In the years 1957-1972, he worked as a columnist in the international section of the Życie Literackie weekly. Dismissed from his post as a member of the editorial staff for criticising the editorial policy of editor-in-chief W. Machejek, he found employment as the literary manager at the Bagatela theatre (1972-1977), which he also had to leave for writing a letter protesting against repressive measures taken against workers in Radom, addressed to T. Hołuj, MP. For the following four years, he had no gainful employment. It was only on the rising tide of the “Solidarity” movement, when the Pismo monthly was established after years of efforts, that he could take up editorial work as the head of the international section. The life of Pismo was short (1980-1983) and included a several month long period of “suspension” during the escalation of the terror of martial law. And so, after the monthly was closed down (and the Polish Writers’ Union administratively disbanded) during martial law, as a member of the board of the Catholic Intellectuals Club, he organised semi-official literary meetings and was a co-organiser of the Christian Culture Weeks; he also took part in the clandestine activity of the writers’ union, transformed into the Polish Writers’ Association – of which he was a co-founder – in 1989. He also published his works in samizdat magazines. Scholarships and trips abroad of a professional nature: Due to the refusal of being issued a passport, he could not use the one-year scholarship of the Ford Foundation in the USA in 1961. In the years 1965 and 1973, he held the British Council scholarships including one-month stays in London. In the 1966/67 academic year, he was invited to participate in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. He has given lectures at several American universities, such as the University of California, Berkeley; Duke University Durham, NC; Austin, Texas, and others. In 1975, he received a scholarship of the Italian government for a book about Torquato Tasso. From 1958 until 1983, i.e. the year of its dissolution, he was a member of the Polish Writers’ Union, holding various positions in the Board of the Krakow Branch (1977-1980 – vice-president), and during his last term – at the Main Board of the Polish Writers’ Union (1980-1983). He has been a member of the PEN Club since 1972. He is a co-founder of the Polish Writers’ Association and has been its member since 1989. During his first term, he was the vice-president of the Krakow Branch. He cooperated with magazines such as: Życie Literackie, Twórczość, Tygodnik Powszechny, Odra (of which he was a co-founder), Dekada Literacka, Arka, and Arcana, as a permanent contributor. Distinctions and awards: the Gold Badge of Merit to the City of Krakow (1971), the Gold Cross of Merit (1975), the Award of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage for 1999, the Award of the Capital Royal City of Krakow for 2000. He lives in Krakow.
Karol Estreicher Senior
(born in 1827 in Krakow, died in 1908 in Krakow)
Karol Józef Teofil Estreicher, literary and theatre historian, literary critic, bibliographer, director of the Jagiellonian Library of many years’ standing, called “the father of the Polish bibliography”. He left a total over 700 works, including poems and translations of foreign dramas and comedies.
A Polish poet, playwright, creator and theoretician of liberature, a new literary genre which embraces works that integrate the word with unconventional shapes of the book. He introduced into poetry an original, interactive form called “the emanational poem,” in which he simultaneously creates invisible, dimensions of text. He also uses the new media, creating his own version of kinetic poems and hypertextual poetry. Co-author, with Katarzyna Bazarnik, of books initiating the phenomenon of liberature: a triptych Oka-leczenie (Mute-I-Late, 2000, 2009) and (O)patrzenie (Ga(u)ze, 2003) and a poetic happening Liberty Poem (New York, Chicago, Taipei, Tokyo, 2011); the author of the poem-in-a-bottle Spoglądając Przez Ozonową Dziurę (Detect Ozone Whole Nearby, 2004), a bilingual multimedia poetry volume dwadzieścia jeden liter/ten letters (2010), Liberature or Total Literature. Collected Essays 1999-2009 (2010), Pieta, a drama which he staged and directed in Łaźnia Nowa Theatre (Kraków, 2006, 2012), and a hypertextual volume of emanational poetry Powieki (Eyelids, 2013). He has presented his works in many countries, including the USA, Japan, Taiwan, the UK, Ireland, France, and Italy.
(born in 1982)
Cultural anthropologist and journalist by education, co-author of crime novels Sekret Kroke [Kroke’s Secret] (Świat Książki, 2009) and Klątwa Konstantyna [Constantine’s Curse] (Świat Książki, 2011), which she wrote in collaboration with her husband. Sekret Kroke was presented on the air of Radio Kraków. She lives in Krakow.
(born in 1912 in Tarnopol, died in 1990 in Krakow)
Novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, poet, and art critic. He studied biology at Jagiellonian University and co-edited the Nasz Wyraz monthly. Before the war, he was connected with the avant-garde, the Krakow Group, and with the circle of the Cricot theatre. Co-founder of the Pismo monthly. Author of novels: Profile moich przyjaciół, Biały ptak, and Ulica Głęboka, and a volume of verse Mijani, as well as co-author of the scripts of Moje miejsce na ziemi and Głos z tamtego świata. The first president of the Krakow branch of the Polish Writers Association.
(born in 1978)
Poet, writer, holder of a PhD in the humanities, lecturer at Jagiellonian University. Author of collections of short stories (Szermele, Trzy historye), novels (NN, Da Capo, Przymierzalnia), and dissertations on contemporary literature. He used to host the Czytelnia show on TVP Kultura. Editor of Magazyn Literacki, a supplement to Tygodnik Powszechny.
(born in 1957)
Journalist, translator, graduate of Swedish Studies at Jagiellonian University. She has written over a dozen books for children. Her book Dżok. Legenda o psiej wierności [Dżok. The Legend of a Dog’s Faithfulness] was included in the Golden List of the All Poland Reads to Kids campaign. She received the Kornel Makuszyński Award for Zuzanka z pistacjowego domu [Susan of the Pistacchio House]. She hosts the Alfabet radio show on books for children and teenagers on Radio Krakow.
(born in 1877 in Krakow, died in 1942 in the Krakow Ghetto)
The life of the bard from the district of Kazimierz is full of secrets. It is said that he was a carpenter – but it is possible that this is just a literary legend. It is known, however, that he lived in an annexe to a house on ul. Berka Joselewicza 5, where a commemorative plaque is now placed. As a young man, he performed on stage in the Jewish theatre on ul. Bocheńska 7 and a great actor’s career was predicted for him. Krakow’s audiences were especially enchanted with him playing the part of blind Zachel in Herman Heijermans’s play, Ghetto.
Gebirtig came down in history above all as a poet, known not only for his popular songs about pre-war Kazimierz, but also for such pieces as S’brent (adopted as a hymn of the Jewish Combat Organisation) and the moving poem Żegnaj Krakowie, written during World War II.
(born in 1969 in Żary)
He lives in Krakow. President of Stowarzyszenie Miłośników Kryminału i Powieści Sensacyjnej Trup w szafie [the Corpse in the Closet Association of Detective Stories’ and Thriller Enthusiasts] and a member of the jury awarding the High Calibre Award. Author of novels such as Szerokiej drogi, Anat and Szkarłatny habit. He is also the author of a series of novels about Józef Maria Dyduch – a former Dominican friar, a private detective who specializes in divorces (short story Bezpański pies, novel Pan Szatan. Co-author (with Marcin Świetlicki and Gaja Grzegorzewska) of a pastiche of detective novels Orchidea. Editor-in-chief of the Polish Criminal Collection series and the poetic series at the EMG publishing house. Leader of the Literature and Readership project within the European Capital of Culture – Wrocław 2016 project.
(born in 1980 in Krakow)
Graduate of film studies at Jagiellonian University, student of capoeira – a Brazilian martial art. She is the author of crime novels featuring a female private detective Julia Dobrowolska: Żniwiarz, Noc z czwartku na niedzielę and Topielica (the novel was awarded with the High Calibre Award). In collaboration with Irek Grin and Marcin Świetlicki, she wrote a pastiche of detective stories – Orchidea.
Ladislaus of Gielniów
(born around 1440 in Gielniów, died in 1505 in Warsaw)
Observant, songster, preacher. He gave up studies at the Krakow Academy to join the Krakow Order of Observants, where he was the Provincial Superior twice, working on raising the formative and intellectual level of the monks. Participant of the general chapters in Urbino and Milan. A Superior in Warsaw’s St. Ann’s Monastery. Regarded as an outstanding preacher and sermoniser, he introduced the Polish language to his sermons. Beatified in 1750, he became the patron of Warsaw, Poland, and Lithuania. Today, considered to be the most eminent poet of the Middle Ages in Poland known by name. Author of Latin and Polish works.
(born in 1782 in Kęty, died 1868 in Kraków)
Historian, book dealer, collector, archaeologist, and antiquarian. Author of the first 19th-century guide of Krakow, the Historyczny opis miasta Krakowa i jego okolic. In the course of his research on Krakow monuments, he identified the name of the creator of altar at St. Mary’s Basilica.
(born in 1946 in Zabrze)
Real name: Marek Lubaś. Graduated in journalism from the University of Warsaw. A resident of Kraków since 1989, he works for Gazeta Krakowska. Author of W imię zasad and Pismak detective novels (winning the Nagroda Wielkiego Kalibru awards for the latter one) that feature Adam Bukowski, a journalist, and his adventures.
(born in 1873 in Błażkowa, died in 1944 in Żyrardów)
Writer, literary critic, film theoretician. He was brought up in Błażkowa, and after his parents sold the estate – in Brzeżany. In 1887, he moved to live in Lviv, where he started studying German Studies at the university there two years later. He was forced to stop his studies for financial reasons and briefly worked as a teacher. Since 1895, he lived in Lviv and worked as a shorthand typist. He continued shorthand writing after he moved to Krakow (1908) and after the war in Warsaw – until he retired.
Irzykowski wrote short stories, plays, studies of film aesthetics (Dziesiąta muza [The Tenth Muse], 1924), polemic works on literary theory, critical texts, and a monograph (Fryderyk Hebbel jako poeta konieczności). However, the most widely recognized of his works remains the experimental novel Pałuba [The Hag] published in 1903.
(born in 1150/60 in Karwów, died in 1223 in Jędrzejów)
Chronicler, chancellor to Prince Casimir the Just, Krakow bishop, Cistercian monk. He was educated at the Krakow cathedral school, he studied in Paris or Bologna. He was one of the conciliar fathers during the Fourth Council of the Laterans. Author of the first native chronicle of Poland. After his beatification in 1764, his mortal remains were moved to the royal cathedral at Wawel, to the Bishop Piotr Tomicki Chapel.
(born in 1940 in Wieluń)
Translator, essayist, and polyglot. He completed his studies in Romance Philology at Jagiellonian University. He holds classes on literary translation at the Creative Writing School of Jagiellonian University and he is the vice-president of the Krakow branch of the Polish Writers’ Association. He translates from: English, German, Swedish, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, Russian, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian. In 1991, he translated the Tibetan Book of the Dead into Polish. In 1999, he received the Krakow Book of the Month Award for Muttavali. Księga wypisów starobuddyjskich.
(born in 1915 in Wielopole Skrzyńskie, died in 1990 in Krakow)
Founder of the Cricot 2 Theatre, director, painter, stage designer, and graphic artist. In the mid-1950s, Kantor joined the trend of the newest formal experiments of the contemporary theatre – he organised happenings, created “objects of art”. Kantor’s most famous works include: Dziennik z podróży, Człowiek i stół, Niebezpieczne odwrócenie, and Powrót do domu rodzinnego, as well as renowned theatre performances of The Dead Class and Wielopole, Wielopole. Not afraid of experiments, producing the performance of Let the Artists Die, he was the first director in the history of the Polish theatre to cast a woman (his wife – Maria Stangret Kantor) as Józef Piłsudski, eminent statesman of the interwar Poland.
(born in 1984)
Poet and writer. Winner of a number of poetic slams. Author of two volumes of poetry (Reklama, Życie na gorąco), novels (Stosunek seksualny nie istnieje, Janusz Hrystus) and a collection of feature articles (Jak odebrałem dzieci Terlikowskiemu). Head of the team editing the literature series and a member of the editorial team of the Krytyka Polityczna. He currently lives in Warsaw.
Ludwik Jerzy Kern
(born in 1920 in Łódź, died in 2010 in Krakow)
Writer, journalist, poet, satirist, and translator of literature. For over fifty years, he cooperated with Przekrój, and particularly with the famous comical column at the end, which he edited until the seat of the weekly was moved to Warsaw. Author of children’s books (Ferdynand Wspaniały, Proszę słonia, and Karampuk), memoirs (Moje abecadłowo), and interviews (Pogaduszki z krakowskimi twórcami). Winner of the Literary Award of the City of Krakow, the Award of the Prime Minister of Poland, the Medal of the Polish Section of IBBY, the Award of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, the Gold Cross of Merit, and the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, as well as the Order of the Smile. Buried on the Avenue of the Distinguished at the Rakowicki Cemetery.
Wincenty of Kielcza
(born around 1200, died after 1262) Dominican friar, Krakow canon, poet, the first Polish composer known by name. Author of the rhymed officium Historia najsławniejszego Stanisława, including the Gaude Mater Polonia (Rejoice, oh Mother Poland) hymn. Probably the editor of two lives of St. Stanislaus of Szczepanów (the “smaller” and the “larger” one).
(born in 1946 in Gliwice)
Poet, prose writer, literary critic, translator. Representative of the New Wave and co-founder of the “Teraz” literary group. Graduate of Serbian and Croatian Studies at Jagiellonian University. Author of the following volumes: Zabójstwo, Stan wyjątkowy, Zjadacze Kartofli, Zasadnicze trudności, Kamyk i cień, Było minęło; novels: Kilka chwil and Stręczyciel idei, as well as a manifesto: Świat nie przedstawiony (with Adam Zagajewski) and works: Uśmiech Sfinksa. O Poezji Zbigniewa Herberta and Poezja i codzienność. Winner of the Kościelski Award, the Andrzej Bursa Poetry Award, and the Award of the City of Krakow. Head of the Chair of Croatian, Serbian, and Slovenian Studies at Jagiellonian University. Vice-chairperson of the Council for the Polish Language. He runs poetry workshops at the Creative Writing School of Jagiellonian University.
Krakow journalist, publicist, editor of Dziennik Polski. Author of books such as: Zapominany Kraków, Na krakowskich Plantach, Na krakowskim Rynku, Smaki polskie czyli jak się dawniej jadało, Alfabet krakowski Andrzeja Kozioła, and Księga zapachów, and a collection of short stories Pociąg do Stalinogrodu.
(born in 1972)
Writer, he published in Lampa, Studium, and Ha!art. Winner of honourable mentions in three editions of the Machina short story contest. Author of the 9 łatwych kawałków and Klatka novels. He spent most of his life in Krakow.
There is a mural in honour of him on ul. Józefińska in Krakow.
(born in 1512 in Biecz, died in 1589 in Lidzbark Warmiński)
Historian, writer, music theoretician, diplomat, one of the leaders of the Polish Counter-Reformation. He studied at the Krakow Academy and worked at the royal office. He continued his education in Padua and Bologna, to come back as a doctor of both laws. Secretary of the Krakow Archbishop Piotr Gamrat, later a Krakow canon and Sigismund Augustus’ royal secretary. Warmian Bishop, he commissioned the creation of the first maps of the region and funded Nicolaus Copernicus’ epitaph. Author of Latin works about music, about the origin of Poles, and works describing Poland, as well as Polish works: Rozmowa dworzanina z mnichem and Historyja prawdziwa o przygodzie żałosnej książęcia finlandzkiego Jana i królewny polskiej Katarzyny.
(born in 1900 in Krakow, died in 1962 in Warsaw)
Writer and publicist, dramatist, author of the novel Kordian i cham and the drama Niemcy, among others.
(born in 1943 in Sankt Valentin)
Poet, translator, and publisher. Counted among the authors of the New Wave. Cooperated with Zapis. Author of the following volumes, among others: Pęd pogoni, pęd ucieczki, Akt urodzenia, Nasze życie rośnie, Jeżeli w jakimś kraju, Ocalenie z nicości, Wiersze, głosy, Niepodlegli nicości, Magnetyczny punkt, and Kamień, szron. Winner of the Kościelski Award and the Polish PEN Club Prize. Together with his wife, he runs the a5 publishing house in Krakow.
(born in 1872 in Biełosówka, died in 1910 in Krakow)
Writer, poet, reporter, social and educational activist. She was born in Podolia. She graduated from natural sciences studies in Geneva (awarded a university diploma in 1898). She moved to Krakow in 1899. She promoted the education of women, as well as peasants and factory workers. She was a co-founder of the Society for the Secondary School for Girls and a teacher at the first girls’ school.
As a reporter, she collaborated with Kurier Lwowski. She travelled around the Silesia, Kuyavia, and Kashubia regions, among others. Her volume of reportage entitled Z wędrówek po kraju was published in 1911.
(born in 1904 in Krakow, died in 1983 in Rabka)
Poet and prose writer, representative of the Krakow Avant-Garde. Journalist, reporter, translator, mountaineer. He introduced Poles to the works of Italian Futurists. Graduate of the Nowodworek Secondary School and Jagiellonian University. Author of novels: Grypa szaleje w Naprawie and Zabijcie Barabasza, among others.
(born in 1981)
Journalist, editor of Tygodnik Powszechny, co-author of historical crime novels Sekret Kroke and Klątwa Konstantyna, which he wrote in collaboration with his wife. He lives in Krakow.
(born in 1920, died in 2007 in Krakow)
Prose writer, satirist, screenwriter, author of theatre plays. Author of novels (including Siedem zacnych grzechów głównych, 1954), also crime novels written under a pen name of Noël Randon (Dwie rurki z kremem, Donoszę ci, Luizo, Cały ogień na laleczkę, Zbrodnia na konkurs). Screenwriter – including The Saragossa Manuscript, The Hour-Glass Sanatorium, and the TV series Janosik. Member of the Polish Writers’ Association and the PEN Club. Connected with Krakow theatre, he collaborated with Tadeusz Kantor’s theatre and was the literary director of the Groteska Theatre and the Słowacki Theatre. He was honoured with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.
(born in 1921 in Lviv, died in 2006 in Krakow)
Futurologist, essayist, satirist, philosopher. Science fiction author of international renown, translated into more than 40 languages; his prose was adapted to the screen many times (by A. Wajda, A. Tarkowski, and S. Soderbergh, among others). Author of short stories (including the following collections: The Cyberiad, Fables for Robots, and The Star Diaries), novels (including Solaris, His Master’s Voice, and The Futurological Congress), and essays (including Summa Technologiae and Fantastyka i futurologia).
He was born in Lviv, in a family of Jewish descent. He studied medicine at the Lviv University, but he was forced to stop his education due to the German invasion (he later graduated from Jagiellonian University). In 1946, because of the repatriation operation carried out at the time, he moved to Krakow with his parents. Already the same year, the Nowy Świat przygód magazine featured successive episodes of his short story The Man from Mars. At the time, he published short stories in the press (in Tygodnik Powszechny, among others), and thanks to Wisława Szymborska’s support, he also wrote humorous poems for the Kocynder magazine. In 1948, he finished the Hospital of the Transfiguration novel.Due to problems with censorship, the work was published under a changed title seven years later. By that time, however, the author had already published his first collections of short stories and science fiction novels. Today, he is widely considered as a classic of the genre.
Literary historian, critic, essayist, columnist, author of short stories, titular professor at the Faculty of Polish Studies of Jagiellonian University; he specialises mainly in the Polish poetry of the 20th century and emigration literature. He graduated from Polish Studies at Jagiellonian University (MA thesis written under the tutelage of Professor Kazimierz Wyka); after that, he began working as an assistant at the Institute of Polish Literature and Culture of the University of Silesia in Katowice (dismissed as a result of repressive measures of martial law). He debuted in 1975 in Życie Literackie (no. 19) with a review of Marian Pilot’s novel, Zakaz zwałki. He published his articles and literary reviews in Odra and Twórczość, among others. In 1983, he got his doctorate at the University of Silesia on the basis of the thesis entitled Wiersze Wisławy Szymborskiej. Problemy poetyki. In 1984, he was employed at the Institute of the Polish Diaspora of Jagiellonian University. In 1985, he held a scholarship of the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City; there, he began cooperating with Przegląd Polski, in which he published in the years 1985-1998 (also under a pen name as Bronisław Dobrzański). In the years 1986-1988, he ran the literature and theatre section at the Catholic Intellectuals Club in Krakow. He also cooperated with the local Krakow press published beyond the reach of censorship (under pen names as Henryk Flis, Lektor, and XX), including the Promieniści and Arka magazines. In 1989, as part of the Romer scholarship, he stayed in Ottawa, working on the archive of Beata Obertyńska. Continuing his work in the area of literary criticism, he published articles and reviews in Dekada Literacka, PAL. Przegląd Artystyczno-Literacki, Tygiel Kultury (including a series of features entitled Inna historia), as well as Nowe Książki, Akcent, and Kwartalnik Literacko-Artystyczny. In 1998, he received his habilitation at Jagiellonian University on the basis of the book Jerozolima i Babilon. Miasta poetów emigracyjnych. In the years 1999-2002, he participated in the works of the Research Committee on the Polish Diaspora of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In October 2001, he moved to the Department of the History of 20th-Century Polish Literature at the Institute of Polish Studies of Jagiellonian University, and in the years 2002-2007, he gave lectures on literature at the Creative Writing School of Jagiellonian University. In 2003, he received the title of a Professor of the Humanities and the Award of the Minister of National Education and Sport. In the years 2004/2005, he acted as the head of the Department of the History of 20th-Century Polish Literature at the Faculty of Polish Studies of Jagiellonian University. Since 2008, he has held a doctoral seminar in contemporary literature. In 2007, he became a member of the Commission for the Studies on Polish Diaspora of the Polish Academy of Learning. In 2000, he became a member of the editorial board of Archiwum Emigracji and the jury of the Archiwum Emigracji Award, and in 2002, he became a member of the scientific board of the Świat i Słowo periodical. Since 2011, he has participated in the works of the editorial staff of Konteksty Kultury and of the London yearbook, Ekspresje. In the years 2007-2009, he was a member of the jury of the Literary Award of the Union of Polish Writers Abroad. He is a juror of the Award of the Association of Polish Writers Abroad, and since 2013 – of the Orfeusz Award. In 2001, he was accepted as a member of the Polish Writers’ Association (in the years 2001-2004, he was a member of the board of the Krakow branch, and since 2008, he has been the vice-president of this branch). Together with Gabriela Matuszek, he is a co-editor of the Krakowska Biblioteka SPP book series. He was decorated with the Gold Cross of Merit (2000), the Medal of the Commission of National Education (2008), and the Silver Medal of Merit to Culture – “Gloria Artis” (2011).
(born in 1938 in Krakow)
Born in Krakow, she spent most of the time in the Krakow ghetto, then in hiding with her mother at a Polish family.
(born in 1945 in Krakow)
Poet and columnist. She debuted in 1976 with a volume entitled Wiersze (Poems). So far, she has published thirty original collections of poetry, with the latest one being Droga pani Schubert… (Dear Mrs Shubert…). In 1973 she won the Kościelski Award. Recently, her poetry has been much appreciated in the Balkan region. She was awarded with literary prizes in Serbia, Macedonia, and Kosovo. In 2009, she debuted as a prose writer with the novel Sefer.
She studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. She claims that she “never liked the smell of paint” and that “luckily for Polish art”, she does not paint. In the years 1970-1980, she was an editor in the poetry section of the Wydawnictwo Literackie publishing house. Between 1991 and 1997, she worked in the Polish Embassy in Vienna and held managing posts at the Polish Institute there.
(born in 1953 in Łódź)
Poet, literary scholar, columnist. He is the author of seven volumes of poetry, for one of which – entitled Wspólne powietrze and published in 1981 – he received the Kościelski Award. He published a book on Tadeusz Gajcy’s poetry (Tadeusz Gajcy. Dotknięty ogniem biały chłopiec), his works also include a collection of feature articles Kronika wydarzeń artystycznych, kulturalnych, towarzyskich i innych. As a poet, he was especially active in the 1980s. In 2003, he published a collection entitled Elegie, treny, sny.It included the author’s selection of poems, mainly those previously published.
Bronisław Maj lectures on contemporary literature and poetry at Jagiellonian University. He also runs poetry workshops at the Creative Writing School at Jagiellonian University. He edited the NaGłos and Arka magazines. He is also well known for his dramatic skills. He was a co-founder of the counter-culture KTO Theatre, and his comedy talents are presented to audiences during various events held in Krakow. He played a bit part in the film Kraj świata.
(born in 1971 in Bochnia)
Journalist and traveller. He debuted with a crime novel entitled Raport Badeni (Znak, 2007), which was selected by the Krakow Śródmieście Cultural Centre as Krakow’s Book of the Month (March 2008).
Literary historian, essayist, critic, translator of German literature, titular professor at the Faculty of Polish Studies of Jagiellonian University. She specialises in the literature of the turn of the 19th and the 20th centuries, contemporary literature, Polish-German cultural relationships, and literary translation. She has given lectures in Polish literature at universities in Berlin (for four years at the Humboldt University), Jena, Cologne, Leipzig, Mainz/Germersheim, Vienna, and Grenoble. She held scholarships of international academic and literary foundations (including Deutsche Schillergesellschaft in Marbach and Literaturakademie in Ranis [Germany], International Writers and Translators Center of Rhodes [Greece], and the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators, Gotland [Sweden]). She is the founder and head of the Creative Writing School at Jagiellonian University (the first School for Writers in Poland), active since 1994. She ran Polish and international literary and academic projects many times, organised meetings of Polish and German writers, took part in (and often chaired) several dozen symposiums, and in 2004, she organised the Literature in the Face of the New Reality literary festival in Krakow. In 2002, she was decorated with the Medal of the Commission of National Education. Since 2005, she has been the vice-president, and since April 2008, the president of the Krakow Branch of the Polish Writers’ Association. In 2009, she received the Award of the Minister of Science and Higher Education (for her book Stanisław Przybyszewski – pisarz nowoczesny).
(born in 1798 in Zaosie or Nowogródek, died in 1855 in Constantinople)
A poet of Polish Romanticism, dramatist, political activist. Regarded as one of “the three national poets”. Author of ballads, lyrical novels, the Dziady (Forefathers’ Eve) drama, and the Pan Tadeusz epic poem. Not connected with Krakow in any way during his life, after his death, a monument to him was erected on Market Square (thanks to national collections in 1898). The Crypt of National Poets in the Wawel Cathedral was witness to the poet’s second funeral, when his mortal remains were brought from France in 1890.
(born in 1457 in Miechów, died in 1523 in Krakow)
Physician, historian, geographer, alchemist, astronomer, and astrologer. After graduating from the parish school in Miechów, he began studies at the Krakow Academy. He replaced Jan Długosz on the position of vice-chancellor of the cathedral school. He continued his medical studies most probably in Bologna. Lecturer and professor at the Krakow Academy, founder of the second chair of medicine, he performed the duties of the vice-chancellor eight times, and of the pro-vice-chancellor twice. Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, physician of kings (John Albert, Ladislaus Jagiellon, Sigismund the Old), famous Krakow astrologer, councillor of the City of Krakow, teacher, and philanthropist. Owner of a library collection including a thousand titles. Author of Traktat o dwóch Sarmacjach (the first Renaissance scientific publication on the geography and ethnography of the Eastern Europe), Kronika Polski (the first printed history of Poland), an epidemiological guide, and a work on hygiene and dietetics. He lived in the “Pod Gruszką” (“Under the Pear”) building. Buried in the Szafraniec Chapel in Wawel Cathedral.
(born in 1911 in Szetejnie, died in 2004 in Krakow)
Eminent poet, essayist, translator, and prose writer. Winner of the Nobel Prize (1980). He spent his youth in Vilnius, and the German occupation in Warsaw. After the war, he worked in the diplomatic service of the Polish People’s Republic in the US and France. In 1951, he asked for political asylum in Paris. In 1960, he moved to California, where he was a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley for twenty years. Until 1989, he published mainly in Polish in the Paris Kultura magazine and in Polish samizdat publications. His main works include The Captive Mind, The Issa Valley, The Land of Ulro, and Roadside Dog. All of his works were censored in communist Poland. Author of many works of poetry and prose that have been translated to 44 languages; a translator himself (of e.g. Shakespeare). He died in Krakow and was buried in the Vault of the Distinguished at the Skałka church. The Polish parliament declared 2011 to be the Miłosz Year. A festival named after him has been taking place in Krakow since 2009.
(born in 1895 in Dobrocice, died in 1959 in Warsaw)
Poet, prose writer, Futurist, co-founder of the “Pod Katarynką” Non-Authorised Futurist Club. Graduate of Jagiellonian University. Author of the volume Kreski i Futureski, the novel Na Budzeniu, the play Heród, and the hymn Do niebieskich pował.
(born in 1930 in Borzęcin, died in 2013 in Nice)
The best-known Polish dramatist, popular prose writer, satirist, graphic artist, and columnist. He debuted in 1950 as a graphic artist and soon after (in 1953), as an author of short stories. In 1958, his first play, Policja (The Police), was released. The following years saw the publication of several dozen more plays, including the most famous ones – Tango (1964) and Emigranci (The Émigrés, 1974).
Jan Błoński, Mrożek’s friend and an expert in his works, described their essence in the following words: “Mrożek was never an expert in the matters of soul in his plays. His characters are not developed psychologically. There is, however, astonishment with fate in his works. A man is led somewhere, you do not really know where. These theatre inspirations are derived from the communist Poland. The atmosphere of hypocrisy, double life, double language was a perfect food for his thought. What does the expression ‘like from Mrożek’s play’ mean? This saying exists only within the Polish culture and is linked to the essence of the Polish sense of humour. Polish people are especially sensitive to absurdity, curiosity. This was a way to abreact history.”
Before Mrożek emigrated to France in 1963, he lived in Krakow and Warsaw. In 1996, he returned to Krakow and left Poland again in 2008 to live in Nice.
Cyprian Kamil Norwid
(born in 1821 in Laskowo-Głuchy, died in 1883 in Paris)
Poet, prose writer, dramatist, essayist, sculptor, painter, and graphic artist. Considered to be one of the most outstanding Polish poets, underestimated during his life and forgotten after his death in a shelter. Buried in Montmorency. Author of Vade-mecum, A Funeral Rhapsody in Memory of General Bem, and dramas: Promethidion, Wanda, and Krakus. Książę Nieznany. Not connected with Krakow directly. In 2001, soil from his grave was placed in the Crypt of National Poets at Wawel.
(born in 1977)
Writer specialising in horrors. He graduated in philosophy from Jagiellonian University. Author of short stories published in Science Fiction and Nowa Fantastyka. The Tracę ciepło novel won him the Krakow Book of the Month award (September 2007). Co-author (with Jarosław Urbaniuk) of two volumes of the Pies i klecha fantasy novel. A former columnist of the Przekrój.
(born in 1972)
Literary critic, lives in Krakow. He is the editor of Dekada Literacka and the FA-art quarterly. Former editor in chief of Portal Kryminalny [an online portal devoted to detective stories]. In collaboration with literary critic Marta Mizuro, he wrote a crime novel set in Krakow – Kogo kocham, kogo lubię (W.A.B, 2010). Host of creative writing workshops at the Literature and Art School of Jagiellonian University.
(born in 1916 in Krakow, died in 1984 in Krakow)
Writer, poet. Graduate of the Jagiellonian University. Knight of the Order of the Smile. Activist in the tourist-sightseeing movement, author of tourist guides and books for children and teenagers – including the stories of the famous traveller Baltazar Gąbka.
(born in 1891 in Krakow, died in 1945 in Manchester) Poet and dramatist of the interwar period. Daughter of painter Wojciech Kossak, sister of Magdalena Samozwaniec. She debuted in 1922 in the Skamander magazine. She is known as the author of poems devoted to love, everyday life, and nature. One of the planetoids was named in her honour.
(born in 1891 in Krakow, died in 1969 in Warsaw)
Poet, prose writer, critic, theoretician, essayist, representative of the Krakow Avant-Garde and author of its poetic programme, founder and editor of the Zwrotnica magazine. Creator of the avant-garde manifesto Miasto, Masa, Maszyna. Author of poetry volumes such as A, Żywe linie, and Raz, as well as the drama Skoro go nie ma.
(born in 1952 in Wisła)
Prose writer, dramatist, columnist. After graduating from Jagiellonian University, he started a career as an academic teacher. He gave it up some time later to devote himself to writing. His book debut took place in 1988 when he published Wyznania twórcy pokątnej literatury erotycznej (Confessions of an Author of Illicit Erotic Literature), but he had already gained popularity before that – during martial law – by presenting his works at the meetings of the Krakow NaGłos magazine. Winner of the NIKE Literary Award and the Kościelski Award.
His oeuvre consist mainly of short stories, novels, and feature articles, but it also includes plays and film scripts. In 2012, his Dziennik (Diary) was published – a collection of texts published under the same title in the Przekrój weekly. Drugi Dziennik (The Second Diary) published in Tygodnik Powszechny is a continuation of this series.
(born in 1807 in Lublin, died in 1872 in Krakow)
Poet and geographer. Professor of the second Chair of Geography in the world. Member of the Academy of Learning. Author of poems, such as Pieśń o ziemi naszej, Krakusy, and Śpiew z mogiły, as well as Mohort and Wit Stwosz. Buried in the Crypt of Distinguished Poles at Skałka.
Jan Kazimierz Polkowski
(born on the 10th of January 1953 in Bierutów)
Poet, journalist, writer and activist of the Solidarity Trade Union.A graduate of Polish philology at the Jagiellonian University.In the years 1983-1990, he was the chief editor of the Arka quarterly and the Czas Krakowski daily.Today he is the chief editor of Portalfilmowy.pl and the Secretary General of the Polish Audiovisual Producers Chamber of Commerce.He has published 10 poetry volumes, including To nie jest poezja [This Is Not Poetry] (1980), Elegie z Tymowskich Gór 1987-1989 [Elegies from Tymowskie Mountains 1987-1989] (2008) and Głosy [Voices] (2012).For this last volume, he received the Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński Orfeusz Poetry Award and was nominated for the Wisława Szymborska Award. In 2013, his novel Ślady krwi [Blood Traces] was published.
(born in 1907 in Wolica Kierekieszyna, died in 1950 in Rhynern, Germany)
Reporter, publicist, diplomat. Author of Sarajewo 1914, Szanghaj 1932, Gdańsk 193? and the short story Trębacz z Samarkandy. Buried at the Rakowicki Cemetery.
(born in 1988 in Rudnik, died in 2012 in Wrocław)
Used to live in Krakow where he graduated from the 9th Secondary School of General Education and studied Polish studies at Jagiellonian University. He debuted in 2006 with Rewers. Holder of a scholarship from the City of Krakow. A member of the Perfokarta group that creates and promotes cybernetic novels. He suffered from mental problems and drug abuse. He drowned in the Odra river.
Elżbieta Rakuszanka (Elisabeth of Habsburg)
(born in 1436/7 in Vienna, died in 1505 in Krakow)
The wife of Casimir IV Jagiellon, Polish Queen and the Grand Duchess of Lithuania. Daughter of Albert II of Germany and Elisabeth of Luxembourg, heiress to the throne of Bohemia and Hungary. Called “the mother of kings”, as she raised as many as four of them. Ancestor of all the contemporary European monarchs! Author of the treatise O wychowaniu królewskiego dziecka. Buried in the Saint Cross Chapel of the Wawel Cathedral.
(born in 1940 in Hebdów)
Editor, literary critic, columnist. Member of the Polish Writers’ Association since 1989. After graduating from Polish Studies at the Jagiellonian University, he started working at the Wydawnictwo Literackie publishing house, and he spent three years working as an academic at Jagiellonian University; he also worked at the Krakow Branch of PWN (Polish Scientific Publishers) and for the Życie Literackie weekly, where he was the head of the literary criticism section. After journalistic verifications during martial law, he was banned from working in the press published by RSW Prasa-Ruch. In the years 1984-1989, he co-edited the Miesięcznik Małopolski underground magazine and was the head of the Libertas underground publishing house. In 1988, he held Jerzy Giedroyc’s scholarship in Paris. In the years 1990-1992, he was the head of Wydawnictwo Literackie, and after that – the president of the Krakow Culture Foundation and the director of the Krakowski Instytut Nieruchomości Foundation. Until 2005, he published Dekada Literacka on behalf of the Krakow Culture Foundation. For many years now, he has specialised in literary criticism and history, and published in Współczesność, Tygodnik Powszechny, Życie Literackie, Miesięcznik Literacki, Literatura, Pamiętnik Literacki, Studia Estetyczne, as well as underground and emigration magazines such as Kultura paryska and Kontakt. He is currently a member of the editorial staff of Dekada Literacka, in which he publishes reviews and critical articles.
(born in 1972)
He was Wisława Szymborska’s personal secretary and currently runs the Wisława Szymborska Foundation. Translator and author of many children’s books, including Mały Chopin (Little Chopin), translated into over a dozen languages, and Wierszyki domowe (Home Poems), awarded the Book of the Year 2012 title by IBBY. Together with Antonina Turnau, he wrote Prowincjonalne zagadki kryminalne, a collection of short stories. He works at the Faculty of Polish Studies of Jagiellonian University, where he teaches literary theory and rhetoric.
(born in 1894 in Krakow, died in 1972 in Warsaw)
Satirical writer. Daughter of painter Wojciech Kossak, sister of Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska, to whom she devoted Zalotnica niebieska, published posthumously. She debuted in 1922 with a parody of Trędowata by Helena Mniszkówna entitled Na ustach grzechu. Powieść z życia wyższych sfer towarzyskich. She published humorous sketches and feature articles, works for children and teenagers. She is also the author of the popular autobiographical novel, Maria i Magdalena (1956).
(born in 1973 in Krakow)
Real name: Sławomir Madej. Born in the Nowa Huta district, he adopted the name as his pseudonym. Prose writer, photographer, director. Winner of the Paszport Polityki for the Zwał novel, which also won him the Krakow Book of the Month award (December 2004). He published in the Raster, Lampa i Iskra Boża, Ha!art, and bruLion.
(born in 1536 in Grójec, died in 1612 in Krakow)
Jesuit, theologian, writer, and preacher, the leading Polish representative of Counter-Reformation, preacher of Sigismund III Vasa, the first vice-chancellor of the Vilnius University. Graduate of the Krakow Academy. Author of Sejm Sermons and Lives of the Saints. Buried in Saints Peter and Paul Church in Krakow.
(born in 1920 in Warsaw, died in 1998 in Krakow)
Writer, translator of English-language literature, author of screenplays, theatre plays, TV shows and programmes. He lived and worked in Krakow since 1954. A year earlier, he became a signatory to the Resolution of the Polish Writers’ Union in Krakow regarding the Krakow trial. Author of the novel Cassiopeia (1975) and the only translator in the world to translate the complete works of Shakespeare. Buried on the Avenue of the Distinguished at the Rakowicki Cemetery in Krakow.
(born in 1979 in Warsaw)
Writer, author of short stories. He studied cultural studies at the University of Warsaw and photography at the Łódź Film School. He published for Lampa, Czas kultury, Polityka, and the Gazeta Wyborcza. Author of collections of short stories, including Oprócz marzeń warto mieć papierosy, Cień pod blokiem Mirona Białoszewskiego, and Zakłady Nowego Człowieka. He lives in Nowa Huta.
(born in 1939)
In his youth, he worked many professions: he was a sailor, an electronics engineer, a computer programmer, a shipyard worker, and a mountaineering instructor. He debuted as a writer in 1966 with the novel entitled Powracający z morza. Since 1969, he has been a journalist. Author of several journalistic and reportorial books. After his play entitled Horoskop was staged in the Wybrzeże Theatre in Gdańsk and the W. Horzyca Theatre in Toruń in 1976, it was banned by the authorities from further distribution. The novel entitled Oblężenie, finished in 1975, also had to wait until the era of Solidarity to be published in 1981 (Wydawnictwo Literackie, Krakow). In the autumn of 1980, he was elected the vice-president of the Polish Journalists’ Association (SDP) and performed this function until 1990, also in the underground, when the SDP was illegal after the introduction of martial law. During this period – deprived of the chance to work in state-owned media – he cooperated with Tygodnik Powszechny, as well as underground and emigration press. Notatki gdańskie, his collection of pieces of reportage about the people of Solidarity, was published in 1982 by the Aneks émigré publishing house in London. After that, three underground editions came out in Poland, and in 1990 – the first legal Polish edition appeared (Glob, Szczecin). He was decorated with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for his work for the freedom of speech in the years 1980-89. In the years 1990-1996, he was the consul-general of the Republic of Poland in New York, and in the years 1999-2003 – the ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Thailand, Burma, and in the Philippines. He recently published a novel entitled S.O.S. (Prószyński, Warsaw 2005) and a collection of philosophical essays, Wołanie o sen (the same publishing house, 2006). His latest novel is Paradygmat (Austeria, Krakow 2011).
He publishes essays in the Znak monthly in Krakow and has a weekly column, Advocatus Diaboli, in Gazeta Krakowska (Mondays). He is currently finishing a novel entitled Pójdę pluć na wasze groby!, in which he returns to the period of the end of the world war.
Jan Józef Szczepański
(born in 1919 in Warsaw, died in 2003 in Krakow)
Prose writer, essayist, reporter, translator, script writer, traveller, sailor, and mountaineer. Specialist in oriental studies by education. A soldier in the Polish September Campaign, member of the resistance movement, and partisan. After the war, he was a member of the editorial team of Tygodnik Powszechny (in the years 1947–1953). He debuted with the novel Portki Odysa (1954). Szczepański’s characters make moral efforts to meet the objectives they set upon themselves, to face their daily, often inconspicuous, challenges despite any adversities. Throughout his life, he was internally independent, he did not give in to pressure from the communist authorities and did not use any privileges they offered. Stanisław Lem, Szczepański’s close friend, said to him: “You are a superhuman exception. Because it is not human, what Turowicz said the other day, that you don’t have to be ashamed of any single sentence you have written. I am not sure whether there is another writer in Poland who would be able to say the same.”
(born in 1976)
Author of fantasy and magical realism, he published under a pseudonym. Holder of a PhD in philosophy, a graduate of the Pontifical University of John Paul II. Member of the Tischner Society, a lover of Toliken’s works, an expert on folk music. He debuted with a short story in Nowa Fantastyka. Author of three novels presenting a fantasy vision of Krakow’s history (Chochoły, Dumanowski, and Fuga), all of which were published in the Lampa and Iskra Boża. On the basis of his works, the Helena Modrzejewska National Stary Theatre staged the Dumanowski side A i B performance and a radio drama was aired on Radio Krakow.
(born in 1923 in Prowent, died in 2012 in Krakow)
Outstanding poet, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature (1996). She debuted in Krakow in 1945. Her first collection of poems, Dlatego żyjemy (That’s Why We Are Alive), was published in 1952. Soon after World War II, she fell in love with the poetry of Czesław Miłosz, who lived in Krakow at the time. Over half a century later, when she was awarded with the Nobel Prize, Miłosz wrote of Szymborska’s poetry: “To me, Szymborska is, above all, a poet of consciousness. This means, that she speaks to us, people living at the same time as her, as one of us, keeping her private affairs to herself, moving in a certain distance from us, but at the same time referring to things known to each of us from our own lives. Indeed, don’t we all know, for example, removing our clothes before a medical examination, trying to recall our dreams, the awe of coincidence, reading letters from people who are gone?”
She was connected with Krakow almost her entire life (since 1929). After the war, she studied Polish Studies and Sociology at Jagiellonian University. She was a member of the first post-war literary group in Krakow, Inaczej. In the years 1953–1966, she was the director of the poetry section of the Życie literackie weekly, with which she continued to collaborate later as a feature writer. Limericks are an important part of her oeuvre. One of the most translated Polish authors; her book are available in 42 languages. Buried at the Rakowicki Cemetery. Under her testament, a Foundation giving an award named after her was founded.
(born in 1956 in Pępice by Kielce)
Poet. Debuted in the Echo Krakowa in 1990. Author of several volumes of poetry, including Ptaki zmierzchu, Raport, Nieustannie szukam, and Na marginesie. Her poems have translated to English, Spanish, Czech, Ukrainian, and Esperanto.
Lives in Krakow; poet, musician, author of detective stories. He debuted with a lyrical novel Zimne kraje (1992). Winner of the Kościelski Award, among others. Lead singer of the Świetliki band. Author of a detective trilogy whose main character is Mistrz (The Master): Dwanaście (the High Calibre Award), Trzynaście and Jedenaście (the Gdynia Literary Award). Co-author of a pastiche of detective novels Orchidea. One of the co-founders of Stowarzyszenie Miłośników Kryminału i Powieści Sensacyjnej Trup w szafie (the Corpse in the Closet Association of Detective Stories’ and Thriller Enthusiasts).
(born in the late 14th century, died around 1433)
Poet, a Gniezno and Krakow canon, secretary of Władysław Jagiełło (Jogaila). Currently considered to be one of the most important Polish poets of the Latin language of his time. Author of Latin works in honour of the Virgin Mary, St. Stanislaus, St. Adalbert, and St. Barbara, a hymn in honour of St. Stanislaus, and the epitaphs of Hedwig Jagiellon and Zawisza Czarny.
(born in 1909 in Warsaw, died in 1984 in Krakow)
Poet, dramatist, author of literature for children and teenagers. She was a daughter of Stanisława and Jan Świerczyński (the form of the last name the writer used was the result of an uncorrected mistake in her birth certificate). Her father was a painter, which had a significant influence on Anna’s sensitivity and her works. She spent the war in Warsaw. She actively participated in the underground literary life. During the Warsaw Uprising, she was a medical orderly. She described her experiences from this period as late as in 1979, in the volume of short pieces Budowałam barykadę (Building the Barricade). After the collapse of the Uprising, she came to Krakow – like many other escapees from the capital. In January 1945, she moved to the Writers’ House on Krupnicza 22.
After the war, Świrszczyńska worked intensely, both in terms of her artistic work – she published several volumes of verse – and gainful employment (she supported her family). In the years 1950-1960, she wrote many of her stage pieces and radio dramas, both for the young and the adult viewers and listeners. She collaborated with the Polish Radio and the State Theatre of the Young Viewer.
(born in 1938, died in 2004 in Krakow)
Prose writer, journalist. A sociology graduate. Her adventure with literary activity started when she was forty-something, after being expelled from the editorial section of Przekrój and Gazeta Krakowska during the martial law period. She debuted with a novel written in 1979, Babci Brygidy szalona podróż po Krakowie (1986), which was supposed to help her give up journalism. Despite this, apart from writing novels for children, teenagers, and adults, she also wrote feature articles.
As early as in her teenage years, she was closely connected with Piwnica pod Baranami. For many years, she lived in the Podwawelskie housing estate: “I come from apartment blocks and I am not ashamed of it, although one singer held a grudge against a journalist who revealed that she lived in a block of flats. And I just know that this so called “good address” is a person, not a street.” The plot of her novel Władca Lewawu is set in Krakow.
(born in 1912, died in 1999 in Krakow)
Co-founder and, in the years 1945-1999, editor-in-chief of Tygodnik Powszechny, one of the most important magazines in the post-war history of Poland.
Journalist. Author of over fifteen hundred texts published in the years 1932–1999 in Dyszel w Głowie, Życie Technickie, Odrodzenie, Głos Narodu, Tygodnik Powszechny, Znak, Więź, Gazeta Wyborcza, and Krakow’s local papers. To date, three selections of his texts have been published under the imprint of the Znak publishing house: Chrześcijanin w dzisiejszym świecie (1963), Kościół nie jest łodzią podwodną (1990), and Bilet do raju (1999; 2012).
In 1995, he was honoured with the highest Polish distinction – the Order of the White Eagle. The same year, he received the silver Medal of Cracoviae Merenti (for great service rendered to Krakow).
(born in 1814 in Rogoźno, died in 1846 in Krakow)
The most eminent Krakow poet of the first half of the 19th century, author of the popular Krakowiaki, a collection of folk songs and stories about the lajkonik. All of his works are strictly related to Krakow. Buried at the Rakowicki Cemetery. One of the streets in the Dębniki district is named after him.
Born in 1965 in Nowosielce near Sanok. Poet, translator; he debuted in 1992 in Krakow with a volume of poetry entitled Wiersze [Poems]. His next volume, Spis treści [Table of Contents] was published in 1998, and his tenth volume of verse, Znaczki polskie [Polish Stamps] came out in 2013. His poetic work belongs to the minimalist current. Izabela Mikrut, Piotr Wiktor Lorkowski, Bronisław Maj, and Tomasz Kunz have written about it. He lives in Krakow.
(born in 1967 in Krotoszyn)
Poet, prose writer, critic of literature and music. He graduated in Polish studies from Jagiellonian University. Nominated for the Nike Literary Award several times. Winner of the Kościelski Award in 1999. The Pensum volume won him the Nagroda Literacka Gdynia award (2008). His works have been translated to English, German, Slovenian, and Russian. He has published for Przekrój, Tygodnik Powszechny, Ha!art, and Res Publica Nowa.
Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz
(born in 1885 in Warsaw, died in 1939 in Jeziory)
Painter, photographer, dramatist, novelist, philosopher. Graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. He co-organised series of lectures called Scientific-Literary Courses. He was honoured with the Golden Laurel of the Polish Academy of Literature. Author of novels: 622 upadki Bunga (The 622 Downfalls of Bungo or The Demonic Woman), Pożegnanie jesieni (Farewell to Autumn), and Nienasycenie (Insatiability); plays: Nadobnisie i koczkodany (Dainty Shapes and Hairy Apes, or The Green Pill: A Comedy with Corpses), Wariat i zakonnica (The Madman and the Nun), and Szewcy (The Shoemakers); a philosophical work Pojęcia i twierdzenia implikowane przez pojęcie istnienia (Concepts and Statements Implied by the Idea of Existence) and an aesthetic work: Nowe formy w malarstwie i wynikające stąd nieporozumienia (New Forms in Painting and the Misunderstandings Arising Therefrom).
(born around 1370 in Brudzeń Duży, died in 1435 or 1436 in Krakow)
Political and religious writer, diplomat, one of the creators of the Polish school of international law. He studied in Prague and Padua, completed his doctorate at the Krakow Academy, and became its lecturer, and later its vice-chancellor. The king’s envoy at the trials with the Order of the Teutonic Knights and to Pope Martin V. Participant of the Council of Constance. Advocate of conciliarism, he opposed forced conversions. Author of treatises: O władzy papieża i cesarza w stosunku do niewiernych and O zakonie krzyżackim i o wojnie Polaków przeciwko wzmiankowanym braciom. His former house (now an exclusive hotel) is located on ul. Kanonicza 16.
(born in 1920 in Wadowice, died in 2005 in Vatican City)
Priest of the Catholic Church, Pope in the years 1978-2005. Poet, dramatist, philosopher, friend of Krakow’s literary and journalist circles. He was born in Wadowice, he graduated from a secondary school there in 1938. The same year, he started Polish Studies at Jagiellonian University, however, he did not graduate because of the outbreak of war. In 1946, he was ordained as a priest. Two years later, he graduated from Theology at the Angelicum in Rome.In 1958, he was appointed as a bishop, and six years later, he became the archbishop and the metropolitan bishop of Krakow. Often published for Krakow-based Catholic periodicals: Tygodnik Powszechny and the Znak monthly. A cardinal since 1967. Eleven years later, when the conclave announced that he was chosen as the new pope, he took on the name of John Paul II. Three years after he became the head of the Catholic Church, he survived an assassination attempt. His activity on the political arena, to a large extent, contributed to the changes in the political system in Poland and historical changes in Europe. The pontificate of John Paul II is associated in particular with the policy of ecumenism and an unprecedented number of pilgrimages in the history of the papacy. Author of the Roman Triptych and Brat naszego Boga.
(born in 1958)
Comes from Silesia, an ethnographer by education. He lives and works in Krakow. He is the author of books for children introducing them to the history of Poland and a series of historical crime novels featuring a royal investigator – i.e. a detective as the main character: Kacper Ryx (Znak, 2007), Kacper Ryx i król przeklęty (Znak, 2008), Kacper Ryx i tyran nienawistny (Znak, 2010), and Kacper Ryx i król alchemików (Znak, 2012). Wollny is also the author of the detective story entitled Oblicze Pana (Znak, 2009), which is set in the modern times, although it is deep-rooted in history.
(born in 1541 in Wągrowiec, died in 1597 in Krakow)
Jesuit, vice-chancellor of the Vilnius Academy, writer, and translator. Extremely gifted linguistically. His translation of the Bible into Polish, made in the years 1584-1595, served the Church in the country for over three centuries. Author of Kazania na każdą niedzielę i na każde święto przez cały rok, Żywoty, Pasja, and the work Czysciec to iest zdrowa a gruntowna nauka…. Buried in the vault of Krakow’s St. Barbara’s Church.
(born in 1869 in Krakow, died in 1907 in Krakow)
Dramatist, poet, painter, graphic artist, eminent figure of modernism (Young Poland). Pupil of the Nowodworski Secondary School, student of the School of Fine Arts and Jagiellonian University. Creator of polychromes and stained-glass windows in St. Francis of Assisi’s Church, as well as visionary and monumental projects, such as Wawel – Acropolis. Author of the Varsovian Anthem, The Wedding, Liberation, and November Night. In his obituary, he was called a national poet. Buried in the Crypt of Distinguished Poles at Skałka.
(born in 1964)
He graduated from the Faculty of Polish Studies at the University of Warsaw in 1986. He studied at the Faculty of Direction at the National Film School in Łódź (PWSFTviT) in the years 1987-1991. In the years 1985-2001, he cooperated with Piwnica Pod Baranami, where many popular songs were written on the basis of his poems. Since 2000, he has been the author of the Multipoetry Programme of Poetic Revolution transforming the ways poetry functions in the contemporary world, which includes: Poems written online together with Internet users in the Multipoetry chatroom in the Onet.pl portal; Projections of poems on the walls that took place for the entire year from October 2002 until October 2003 on the walls of two prominent historic buildings in Warsaw and Krakow; Pavement Poems that he prints on city pavements in the spring of each year; Press Poems published in monthlies and weeklies; Cabaret Poems written in the 2000-2003 seasons at Piwnica Pod Baranami, and presently during concerts of Agnieszka Chrzanowska and Tomasz Mars; the Telepoemat TV poem, and many others. He is the author of a series of poems entitled Ogień olimpijski, which served as a basis for Agnieszka Chrzanowska’s 13 songs illustrating the Olympic combat of Polish athletes during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. In the years 2008-2010, he created a pioneer international poetry portal of his own idea, www.emultipoetry.eu, which is developing dynamically, particularly in Poland.
(born in 1945 in Lviv)
Poet, prose writer, essayist, literary critic, translator. He was born in 1945 in Lviv, but due to a repatriation operation, his family settled in Gliwice the same year. He studied psychology and philosophy at Jagiellonian University and received his Master’s degrees in 1968 and 1970 respectively. He was a co-founder and member of the Teraz literary group. Considered to be one of the greatest representatives of the so called New Wave generation. Along with Julian Kornhauser, he published Świat nie przedstawiony – a book regarded as the ideological and artistic manifesto of this literary group. One of the demands expressed in this work was a closer relationship of literature with social reality.
Author of volumes: Sklepy mięsne, Ziemia ognista, and Anteny; collections of essays: Świat nie przedstawiony (with Julian Kornhauser), Solidarność i samotność, and Obrona żarliwości, and prose (Słuch absolutny, Cienka kreska). Winner of many Polish and international literary awards, including the Kościelski Award, Prix de la Liberté, the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and the European Poetry Prize.
Poet, essayist, literary critic, titular professor of literary studies, member of the Historical and Literary Commission of the Polish Academy of Sciences, member of the Pen Club and the Polish Writers’ Association (member of the Board of the Krakow Branch of the PWA since 1996). She works at the Department of 20th-Century Literature at the Faculty of Polish Studies of Jagiellonian University. She cooperates with the Topos literary monthly and the Życie duchowe quarterly on a permanent basis. Author of more than 200 articles and 12 books (two of them to appear soon). Her poems have been translated into English and Czech. Pen names used: Magdalena Michałowska, Magdalena Kamińska. Her publications include: Poezja wymiaru sanctum, Lublin 1992; Świadectwo słowa. Rzecz o twórczości Anny Kamieńskiej, Kraków 1993; Dziesięć Bożych słów, Kraków 1993; Zakorzenienia Anny Kamieńskiej, Kraków 1997; Tropy sacrum w literaturze XX wieku, Bydgoszcz 2001; O książkach, które pomagają być, Kraków 2004, and volumes of poetry: Człowiek rośnie w Ciszy, Kraków 1992; Wyrwane z przestrzeni, Kraków 1996; Niebo w czerni, Bydgoszcz 2000, and Jerozolima została zburzona, Kraków 2004. To appear soon: Czytanie sacrum and another collection of poems: Wiersze: Pierwsze.
(born in 1983 in Szczytno)
Writer and journalist. He graduated in journalism from Jagiellonian University. He worked for the Lampa, Tygodnik Powszechny, and Exclusiv. A co-host of Redakcja kultury on TVP2. Author of Radio Armageddon (referred to as the first Polish novel of the emo generation) and Instytut, a thriller set in one of the Krakow tenement houses.
(born in 1939 in Stanisławów)
Poet, literary critic, specialist in cultural studies, lecturer. Born on the 9th of July 1939 in Stanisławów in the former Easter Borderlands of Poland. Professor at the Institute of Pedagogy of Jagiellonian University (Faculty of Philosophy). Head of the Department of Pedagogy of Culture at Jagiellonian University. He specialises in the philosophy of value, literary axiology, literary studies, and literature for children and teenagers. He debuted in 1957 in Opole on the Polish Radio. He announced his first volume of poetry, Taniec bez ludzi, in 1962. The Federation of PEN Clubs in London awarded him a distinction in 1965. He also received the S. Piętak Literary Award, and in 1983, the international Pinocchio Award, awarded by Fondazione Naziolane “Carlo Collodi” in Pescia, Italy. President of the Krakow Branch of the Polish Writers’ Association between 1996 and April 2008. Originator of many literary events, including the Krynica Literary Autumns, Literary Thursdays, the Literature Without Borders Festival, and Poetry and Stars (Jama Michalika).