The literary stand of Krakow and Wroclaw officially launched

Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage Małgorzata Omilanowska, Minister of Culture and Communications of the Republic of France Fleur Pellerin, and Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, accompanied by representatives of the cities and representatives of the Polish-French diplomacy and culture were present at the inauguration ceremony of the largest book fair of the French speaking world – Salon du livre de Paris. Krakow and Wrocław, in the joint role as guests of honor of the fair, will present their publishers, authors, translators, and a rich program of meetings with Polish writers and critics. Together with the Book Institute, the two cities developed a wide ranging presentation of literature and, more broadly, Polish culture tailored to the French book market. The fair will last until March 23.

The grand opening of Polish booth was graced by the presence of many representatives of Polish diplomacy led by the Ministers of Culture of the Republic of France and Poland, as well as Polish Ambassador Andrzej Byrt in Paris. I feel great satisfaction with the Krakow and Wrocław stand at Salon du Livre – says the Minister of Culture and National Heritage Małgorzata Omilanowska. We have something to be proud of as a country and as a country of literature. I hope that our authors, with their ability to write about things seemingly simple, but in fact fundamental, will reach French readers.

Director of the Book Institute, Grzegorz Gauden, echoes these sentiments: Salon du Livre in Paris is one of the most important events in the world. Obtaining the status of the guest of honor is not an easy thing. The fair guards its own prestige and invites countries and cities, which can enhance it. The fact that the Parisian book fair wanted to have Krakow UNESCO City of Literature and Wrocław, the UNESCO World Book Capital in 2016 and Poland at this year’s event is in itself already a cause for satisfaction and satisfaction.

The Book Fair in Paris combines the promotion of reading on a large scale with industry events. Every year, the fair is visited by 200,000 readers. Over 1200 publishers present here. There are about 500 meetings with authors and representatives from over 50 countries. Salon du Livre is one of the largest book fair in Europe. Among the invited guests to our literary stand are French publishers, representatives of Polish and French cultural life, as well as nearly 30 writers from Poland and the world, including Joanna Bator, Daniel Beauvois, Joanna Chmielewska, Norman Davies, Artur Domosławski, Joanna Concejo, Urszula Kozioł, Ryszard Krynicki, Ewa Lipska, Zygmunt Miłoszewski, Joanna Olech, Marzena Sowa, Eric- Emmanuel Schmidt, Olga Tokarczuk, Agata Tuszyńska and Krzysztof Varga. A  great treat during the inauguration was presence of Polish director Roman Polański as well as Grzegorz Rosiński.

I am very proud of the fact that the city of Krakow and Wrocław may present at the French capital. And I am even more happy that my beloved city of Krakow, the city of my childhood, can present here its literature, the literature of my childhood and the city where I grew up – said Roman Polański.

The cities will be located in the center of the pavilion at the Parc des Expositions at Porte de Versailles, an area covering ​​over 200 m2. The beautifully landscaped stand will show the range of Polish literature available in French: prose, poetry, books, comics, children’s books and multimedia. A joint catalog was also published especially for this occasion: A Tale of Two Cities. It was prepared in cooperation with “Tygodnik Powszechny”. Publishers from Krakow and Wroclaw, as well as numerous cultural institutions of these cities will hold their offer on the specially designed stand and shelves.

This fair is a unique opportunity to promote Polish literature in the world, and at the same time emphasize the role of the city of Krakow as a UNESCO City of Literature. Together with Wrocław, Krakow shares concern for the fate of Polish literature in the world; we want to strengthen relations between the Polish publishing industry and the French-speaking communities, and I already feel the enormous power of mutual interest – emphasized Magdalena Sroka – the Deputy Mayor of Krakow. Similarly, Deputy Mayor of Wroclaw – Anna Szarycz stressed the importance of the joint presentation of the cities and the role of Krakow and Wrocław as leaders of literary life in Poland. Not without significance is the context of the European Capitals of Culture: Krakow in 2000 and for Wrocław in 2016. We hope that Wrocław, attaching so much importance to its multicultural literary heritage will serve well as a UNESCO World Book Capital in 2016 .

The Polish stand will become a place of many interesting discussions about Polish literature, film and theater. It will hold more than 30 meetings which will be attended by over 100 guests, including Joanna Bator, Iwona Chmielewska, Norman Davies, Arthur Domosławski, Louis Flaszen, Urszula Kozioł, Marek Krajewski, Ryszard Krynicki, Ewa Lipska, Zygmunt Miłoszewski, Joanna Olech, Roman Polański, Grzegorz Rosiński, Tomasz Różycki, Marzena Sowa, Mariusz Szczygieł, Wojciech Tochman, Olga Tokarczuk, Agata Tuszyńska and Krzysztof Varga.

This is a celebration of the book, a real fiesta, a celebration of literature on a large scale, in the French way – says Olga Tokarczuk. – We are celebrating the book here and I would like for us to celebrate literature in Poland in a similar way.

Meanwhile, tomorrow, March 20th, the first meetings organized with the Polish contingent at Salon du livre. Two great Polish poets Urszula Koziol and Ewa Lipska will discuss the power of poetry, and Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt in an interview with Olga Tokarczuk will reflect on the thin line between fable and history. Krzysztof Varga talk about cities,  both their provincialism as well as their role in cultural creation, and Yuri Andrukhovych, Norman Davies and Mariusz Szczygieł will focus on cities as … protagonists in literature. Arthur Domosławski and Véronique Patte will try to measure the impact of Ryszard Kapuscinski’s work on contemporary reportage, and Roman Polanski will examine the connections between literature and film. The literary promotion strategies of both invited cities will also be presented in a moderated discussion with Robert Piaskowski – Chief Executive of the UNESCO City of Literature programme and Irek Grin — Curator of the Literary Department of the Office of the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016.