A meeting with Grzegorz Jankowicz

This coming Thursday, the 12th of December at 6 p.m., Grzegorz Jankowicz will talk about his latest book, Cmono. Rozmowy z pisarzami, at Krakow’s Pod Globusem bookstore. It is a record of 13 interviews conducted by Grzegorz Jankowicz with the most outstanding authors of world prose and poetry, in which they raise issues important not only to literature. The authors talk about the need for narration and the condition of the contemporary novel, about the role of stories in the lives of both individuals and societies. Writers such as Josef Škvorecký, Dubravka Ugrešić, and Marjane Satrapi also point out the significance of the word as a tool that may serve liberation, but also enslavement of individuals, groups, and entire nations. In the book, we will also find deliberations on the contemporary world, which found reflection in the works of Jankowicz’s interviewees: on the status of women, relationships between the East and the West and between politics and religion, as well as the abuse of power and failures in the Western countries’ support programmes for other parts of the globe.

Cmono. Rozmowy z pisarzami is also a journey to the origins of artistic work. It allows us to discover what role in writing the writers’ native language plays and what role the languages that they acquired with time, e.g. in emigration or when travelling, play. The authors talk about their masters and reveal what influence on their work their loved ones have. Cmono is also a treasury of anecdotes. We will find out things such as why Israeli prose writer Etgar Keret was reprimanded by a giant on a film set, what American poet John Ashbery has in common with MTV, and how Josef Škvorecký’s wife reacted when he was offered the publication of his first book in exile. We will also get to know Orhan Pamuk’s theory on what Anna Karenina read, find out which author has as many as 100,000 books and 10,000 collections of essays on their track record, and what the teenage Alberto Manguel used to read to the blind Luis Borges. We will also discover the meaning of the mysterious word “cmono” included in the book’s title, the sense of which the famous lexicographer Samuel Linde tried to find. Grzegorz Jankowicz conducted interviews with: Orhan Pamuk, Rabih Alameddine, Josef Škvorecký, Amos Oz, Etgar Keret, Marjane Satrapi, Dubravka Ugrešić, György Spiró, Lukas Bärfuss, Herta Müller and Charles Simic, John Ashbery, and Alberto Manguel.

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