The fourth day of the Conrad Festival

The festival has been going on for a few days, but there is no sign of fatigue in our guests or the participants. On the contrary!

Thursday turned out to be a very energetic day, especially in light of two fantastic meetings: first with Kamel Daoud, and later with Hanna Krall, Mariusz Szczygieł and Wojciech Tochman. The great interest of the participants – who once again filled the Pałac Pod Baranami – speaks to the great value of the discussions.

It was certainly worth it. Part of the pretext for the meeting was the book KRALL, recently written by the two reporters, but the festival evening was mainly an opportunity to once again experience the phenomenon of the author of To Outwit God. Hanna Krall herself wowed the participants with her sensitivity to the human histories she has heard in her life. Some of them were difficult, others a bit lighter, and the good mood continued throughout (also thanks to the personalities of Wojciech Tochman and Mariusz Szczygieł), accompanied by loud applause. All of the histories allowed us to better understand the meaning of being open to the stories hiding in other people and what the role of the reporter is, who preserves human memory despite the frequently occurring experience of lack and non-existence.

The conversation with Kamel Daoud, called “Looking from Algeria – responsibility and anger”, was focused mainly on the experiences of the author of The Meursault Investigation in his home country. His writing was shaped not only by the difficult political fate of Algeria, but above all his enormous sensitivity and imagination (visible during the meeting), as well as his deep roots in Western Culture. To the writer standing on the border between the Arab world, Europe and the United States, his multilingualism is a key to the literary way of building interpersonal understanding.

Earlier in the day, the “Traces of Judaism” conversation with Agata Bielik-Robson, Adam Lipszyc and Przemysław Tacik took place. The invited guests – philosophers who specialise in writers, thinkers and scholars of the Jewish tradition, talked about its particular place in Western culture – the specific way of “hiding” and companionship, far from the temptation of mastering other languages of thinking. Thus the category of “traces”, which expresses not only the impermanence and the “weakness” of Jewish topics, but also the enormity of the tradition of texts, from which only a fragment of the full picture can ever be extracted.

Today, Friday, will once again confront us with the issue of different cultures. More Lithuanian programming meetings will take place (with Herkus Kunčius, as well as with Kristina Sabaliauskaite), as well as a discussion with persecuted Turkish writer, Asli Erdoğan, the ICORN grant beneficiary. At 5 pm, we will host “the storyteller, who does not want to be boring” – one of the most widely read Czech writers, Petr Šabach. Tonight at 7 pm at the Pałac Pod Baranami, we will meet with György Spiró, the Hungarian writer who is also a prominent expert on the culture of Polish romanticism – thanks to whom we’ll be able to find out what we’re like to an “outsider”.

Each day of the Festival hides much more than we can present here – we encourage you to familiarise yourself with the full programme and continue celebrating literature!

Attention! We remind you that the voting for the Conrad Award is ongoing. You can cast your votes for one of the five finalists at www.conradfestival.pl, following the CONRAD AWARD link. Voting is open until midnight on the 24th of October.

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