Literary and theatre awards and scholarships

Literary and theatre awards

There are many important and prestigious distinctions and awards in literature granted in Krakow. Some of them have been presented below:

Transatlantyk – an award granted by the Book Institute, aiming at the promotion of Polish literature abroad. It may be awarded to a translator, lecturer, literary critic or animator of culture. The previous winners of the award include: Henryk Bereska (2005), Anders Bodegård (2006), Albrecht Lempp (2007), Ksenia Starosielska (2008), Biserka Rajčić (2009), Pietro Marchesani (2010), Vlasta Dvořáčková  (2011), and Yi Lijun (2012). The award, granted annually in the amount of EUR 10,000 was first awarded during the Congress of Translators of Polish Literature in 2005.

The Jan Długosz Prize for the best book of the year in the field of the broadly defined humanities is awarded during the Book Fair in Krakow. The previous winners of the Prize include: Jan Błoński (2002), Jerzy Strzelczyk (2007), and Andrzej Friszke (2012).

The Kazimierz Wyka Award is granted for eminent achievements in essay writing, and literary and art criticism. This award, commemorating an outstanding Polish critic, was first received by Jerzy Kwiatkowski in 1980. Its winners include eminent Polish literary critics and literary historians, such as: Professor Jerzy Jarzębski (1991), Zbigniew Herbert (1993), Professor Maria Janion (2001), Professor Michał Paweł Markowski (2011), Krystyna Czerni (2012), and Andrzej Franaszek (2013).  In 2010, the Honorary Kazimierz Wyka Award was given to Professor Henryk Markiewicz, a doyen of Polish studies in Krakow.

The New Culture of New Europe Award of the Economic Forum for creators and promoters of culture from East-Central Europe was established in 2005 as a joint initiative of the Economic Forum and the Book Institute. In 2011, under a resolution of the Council of the City of Krakow, it gained a patron – Stanisław Vincenz – and it is awarded by the Mayor of the City of Krakow for outstanding achievements in the popularisation of the culture of the region of Central and Eastern Europe. Its winners include: Tomas Venclova (2005), Krzysztof Czyżewski (2007), Emil Brix (2008), Tatyana Tolstaya (2010), Andrzej Stasiuk (2011), and Martin Pollack (2012).

In 1998, the Goncourt List: the Polish Choice award was established at the initiative of the French Institute in Krakow and with the consent of the French Académie Goncourt. The winners are selected by a Polish jury made up of students of Romance studies from all over Poland based on the official list of nominated novels announced by the Académie Goncourt. The winners of the award who have visited Krakow include: Pierre Assouline, Jean-Pierre Milovanoff, Frédéric Beigbeder, and Sylvie Germain.

Another form of promotion of good literature by the City of Krakow is the monthly award of the Krakow Book of the Month. The distinction has been awarded since 1995 by Śrómiejski Ośrodek Kultury (the Śródmieście Cultural Centre), one of the most thriving local centres of culture and literature in Krakow.

The Wisława Szymborska Foundation began awarding the Wisława Szymborska Poetry Award in 2013 – for the best volume of poetry published in Poland. The Wisława Szymborska Poetry Award is an international distinction. Volumes of poetry originally published in Polish or translated into Polish are eligible to take part in the contest. The award ceremony takes place in Krakow. The prize will include a statuette and a cash prize of PLN 200,000. If the winner is a foreign-language author, the translator of the winning volume will also be rewarded, with a prize of PLN 50,000. The award will be the most important distinction in the field of poetry in Poland.

The Stanisław Wyspiański Theatre Award for outstanding achievements in the field of theatre has been awarded since 2012 and it may be received by directors, stage designers, musicians, and actors. Its first winner was Radosław Krzyżowski. In 2013, the award committee honoured the creators of the “Za chwilę. Cztery sposoby na życie i jeden na śmierć” [“In a Moment. Four Ways to Live and One Way to Die”] performance: Bożena Adamek, Dominika Bednarczyk, Dorota Godzic, Marta Konarska, Anna Tomaszewska (actresses), as well as Iwona Kempa (adaptation, direction, and stage design), Anna Sekuła (stage design and costumes), Bartosz Chajdecki (music and musical setting), and Dawid Rudnicki (musical setting, live music).

As part of the Divine Comedy International Theatre Festival, awards are granted in individual fields of theatre art. The highest prize, the Divine Comedian, goes to the producer of the best play staged during the festival. In 2012, the Divine Comedian went to the Nowy Theatre from Warsaw for the drama “Opowieści afrykańskie według Szekspira” [“African Stories According to Shakespeare”] directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski.

Literary scholarships

One of the more important scholarship undertakings in Eastern Europe was the Homines Urbani programme, the initiative of the Villa Decius Association carried out in cooperation with the Book Institute. The aim of the project was to create an international forum for writers, translators, and literary critics. Carried out in the years 2005-2009, it involved two annual editions (spring and autumn) of three-month joint stays of young writers from Belarus, Germany, Poland, and Ukraine at Villa Decius in Krakow. Homines Urbani turned out to be not only a successful artistic undertaking (its result was an anthology of the writers’ texts entitled Ludzie miasta [City People]), but also an establishment of an intercultural dialogue in practice.

After the Homines Urbani programme ended, the Villa Decius Association – in cooperation with Sølvberget Stavanger Kulturhus – created a new programme of residential stays: Dagny. This two-year (2010-2011) international programme of scholarship stays and literary events was addressed to young authors and audiences from the countries in which Dagny Juel Przybyszewska, the muse of European modernism, stayed. During the stay, the participants worked on their own projects and took part in Dagny – Open Mike soirées, as well as meetings during the book fair and literary festivals. The crowning point of the programme were the Dagny – the Romance of Cultures 5th Krakow Days of Literature held at the beginning of October 2011.

Another form of honouring young artists – including writers – are the Creative Scholarships of the City of Krakow granted since 1994. They are meant for exceptionally talented artists and creators aged 30 or less. They make it possible for the holders to carry out their artistic plans and original scholarship programmes.

In order to commemorate the figure of Albrecht Lempp, translator and organiser of culture, great advocate for the Polish-German dialogue, and founder of the Book Institute, a translation scholarship was funded in his name in 2013. It is granted jointly by: the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation, the Book Institute, and Literarisches Colloquium Berlin. The beneficiaries of the monthly scholarship in Krakow and Berlin may be translators and writers from Poland and Germany, as well as German translators of Polish literature and Polish translators of German-language literature.

Residential scholarships for writers who are persecuted because of their work are organised in Krakow as part of the ICORN programme – the International Cities of Refuge Network that the city joined in 2011. After the scholarship stay of Maria Amelie, a writer of Ossetian descent, Krakow became a safe haven for Kareem Amer – an Egyptian student of law and blogger expelled from university, tried and imprisoned for his critical remarks about the regime of Hosni Mubarak, the President of Egypt.