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14 October
2014

Festival literary walks

The Conrad Festival starts in several days. This literary celebration would not be complete without Literary Walks through Krakow. We invite you on two walks during the Festival, which will unveil the crime mysteries of Krakow’s side streets and the locations in Joseph Conrad’s home city that were crucial for his works. You are welcome to join the walks on the last weekend of the Festival – October 25 and 26.

The Crime Fiction Trail leads us to the dark side of Krakow as portrayed in contemporary literature. We will be taken back to the Middle Ages or the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to learn about the pre- and post-war crimes of this city. We will wander around the backstreets where blood was spilt, we will seek out the lairs of literary criminals and the workplaces of law enforcement officers who chased them. Which serial killer had a modus operandi for leaving little notes near the bodies of their victims? And which one preferred embroidered tissues? Can an eatery serve as a detective agency? What is the Badeni Report about? What secret is Kroke hiding? We will try to answer these and other questions during the walk. Brace yourselves for plenty of blood-curdling stories that never end well.

On the day the First World War broke out (July 28, 1914), Joseph Conrad returned to his home city of Krakow. After a 40-year absence, the writer wished to visit the city where he grew up and whence he set out to begin his formative years, first as a sailor and later a prosaist. He arrived at Krakow’s railway station around 4 o’clock. The turmoil of war had not yet reached the city, so Conrad, unaware of what was to come, went to the Grand Hotel to leave his luggage and then went for a walk with his son Borys and Józef Retinger. He visited all the places that had played an important role in his early life. He was convinced that the city had not changed a jot, that everything had stayed the same. The following morning, when armies marched out into the streets, Conrad realised that the former day’s walk had not been a nostalgic wander through his memories, but a journey towards the heart of darkness, which had always lain in the very core of his home city rather than in remote Africa.

We invite all those interested to take a stroll around Krakow in the footsteps of Conrad. We will recreate the entire route the writer took on 28 July 1914, and at the same time, we will re-tell the story of his return, superimposed on the story in his most famous work, The Heart of Darkness.

Participation in the literary walks is free of charge, but requires registration. All those interested are requested to send an e-mail to: spacery@miastoliteratury.pl. Separate registration is required for each walk. Please write “Joseph Conrad” in the message title.