We know further guests of this year’s edition of the Conrad Festival!

Claudio Magris, a Trieste-born essayist, prose writer, traveller and chronicler of the spiritual history of Central Europe; Anna Applebaum, an American writer and journalist, who portrays the historical image of Eastern Europe; Szczepan Twardoch, a prose writer from Pilchowice, who quarrels not only with the world, but also with his own world-view; and Ireneusz Kania, a brilliant multilinguist and translator who has just prepared a new translation of poems by Konstandinos Kawafis (on the 150th anniversary of birth and on the 80th anniversary of death of the Alexandrian poet) – this is the next group of confirmed guests of the 5th Conrad Festival. We will open this year’s edition with an exhibition of graphics, collages and illustrations by Max Ernst. Come and join us in Krakow between the 21st and the 27th of October!

‘In L’infinito viaggiare Claudio Magris writes that a short story should resemble an expedition where the most important thing is movement in space itself rather than reaching the destination. Following this rule, we should write (and read) without hurry, stop in the middle of the sentence again and again, look at its form, listen intently to its sound and then let ourselves be guided through successive paragraphs resembling squares of a small town and even farther – beyond language, beyond literature. And we do all of this in order to avoid the inevitable end (of reading, wandering or life), to prolong the remaining time in which there is room for a conversation and thought. Successive editions of the Conrad Festival are held in a similar rhythm and for the same purpose. Together with outstanding writers from the whole world we stop by books and phenomena that constitute points of reference of contemporary culture.’ We also recollect dead authors in order to revive their thought in new interpretations and confront it with our ideas that are being forged today. For us, literature is a form of action, a form of communication and a form of existence… an inalienable form,’ writes Grzegorz Jankowicz, Executive Director of the Festival, in the introduction to this year’s second Magazyn Conrad.

Claudio Magris

A prose writer, essayist, translator and expert in German studies, a professor of contemporary German literature at the University of Trieste. He is of Italian descent. He publishes regularly in renowned European magazines, such as the Italian magazine Corriere della Sera and the Polish quarterly Zeszyty Literackie. He has received many prestigious prizes, including Erasmus, Herder and Vilencio. In 2009 he received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, which is awarded annually at the Book Fair in Frankfort on the Main.

The following of his books were published in Polish: Danubio (1990), Microcosmi (2002), Altro mare (2004), Alla cieca (2006), Illazioni su una sciabola (2009), Itaca e oltre (2009), L’infinito viaggiare (2009), Le voci (2010). Apart from the first two books co-translated by Anna Osmólska-Mętrak, all the other works were translated by Joanna Ugniewska in an outstanding manner.

As regards the matter of literary creation, he is fascinated mainly with Central Europe as a place where various cultural influences intermingle. One of the examples of such multiculturalism is his hometown Trieste, to which Microcosmi is devoted. He is also fascinated with history observed from various perspectives and places where languages and traditions intermingle. In order to enhance this diversity, he makes use of various genres and combines them into a specific travel diary.

Anne Applebaum

An American writer and journalist, feature writer at The Washington Post; she won a Pulitzer Prize (2004) for her monograph Gulag. A History, which is a reconstruction of the world’s most genocidal institutions. At the end of the 1980s and at the beginning of the 1990s she was a correspondent of The Economist, for which she wrote about the fall of communism and transformations taking place in Poland. In 1995 she published the book Between East & West, which was also translated into Polish. In 2012 she was nominated for the National Book Award, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the USA, for Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956. She is the Director of Political Studies at the Legatum Institute in London, where she runs classes in political and economic relations. As a private person, she is the wife of Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Radosław Sikorski. She is the author of From A Polish Country House Kitchen (2011), which was published in Poland by Wydawnictwo Literackie.

Ireneusz Kania

An outstanding translator, the author of over 60 translations from over a dozen languages, a famous expert in Buddhist philosophy and cabbala. He graduated with a degree in Roman philology from the Jagiellonian University. He presented Polish readers with basic works of Mircea Eliade, Karl Kerényi and Emil Cioran. He translated works by Umberto Eco, Constantin Noiki, as well as Sefer Agadot ha-Zohar and the Tibetan Book of the Dead. He compiled and translated a corpus of texts of the H?nay?na School of Buddhism (Mutt?vali, 2009) from P?li. He is a member of the Jury of the Transatlantyk Award, which is granted by the Book Institute to outstanding popularisers of Polish literature abroad.

Szczepan Twardoch

A prose writer. He comes from the Upper Silesia region. He came a long way from fantasy short stories to a novel entitled Morfina [Morphine], for which he was awarded with Paszport Polityki [Polityka’s Passport] in 2012. A columnist for Polityka and Wysokie Obcasy Extra. He won the Nautilus Award for his short story Rondo [The Roundabout] in the category of the best Polish fantasy short story published in 2006. His collection of short stories Tak dobrze [So Good] was nominated for the Gdynia Literary Award. An expert in Silesian language and culture, he often refers to the question of his identity and roots. He is also an expert in weapons.

You can read more about the recently confirmed guests of this year’s Conrad Festival in this year’s second issue of Magazyn Conrad, which is issued by Tygodnik Powszechny. Magazyn is available in kiosks from today.

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