Wisława Szymborska Award 2016 – we know the nominees!

The Award Committee has nominated the following authors for the Wisława Szymborska Award this year: Jakub Kornhauser for Drożdżownia (WBPiCAK Pozmań), Edward Pasewicz for Och, Mitochondria (Wydawnictwo EMG), Marta Podgórnik for Zawsze (Biuro Literackie), Joanna Roszak for Tego dnia (WBPiCAK Poznań) and Marciń Świetlicki for Delta Dietla (Wydawnictwo EMG). This year, the award will be given out for the 4th time.

Starting this year, the award will be given out in two categories – for a work originally written in Polish and for a translated volume. Thus, the award will be granted to a Polish poet, as well as to a foreign poet (and their translators). The Award Committee, chaired by Joanna Orska, consisted of Andrej Khadanovich (Belarus), Bernhardt Hartmann (Germany), William Martin (USA-Germany), Abel Murcia Soriano (Spain), Marian Stala (Poland) and Dorota Walczak-Delanois (Poland-Belgium).

The Wisława Szymborska Award 2016 will be given out during the 5th Miłosz Festival – the largest poetry event taking place in Krakow. Combining the Award with the Miłosz Festival is a reference to the Meetings of Poets of the East and West, which were organised in the 1990s under patronage of both Nobelists.

“Kraków aims at bringing literary events together at one time. This is why the Miłosz Festival, Children’s Literature Festival, Wisława Szymborska Award ceremony and the Night of Poetry will all take place in the same month – in June. We could say that June will be the most literary month in Krakow this year, we also hope that it will become a new trend, which will last in the future”, said Andrzej Kulig, deputy Mayor of Krakow responsible for Social Policy, Culture and Promotion.

This year, 211 books were nominated for the Szymborska Award, including several translations. The award amounts to 200 000 PLN – shared between the authors and the translator.

About the nominees:


Drozdzownia J. Kornhauser

Jakub Kornhauser rediscovers the language we us to describe the world. Using static descriptions, which are an important part of Drożdżownia, he creates a world filled with a sense of unease, as if a disaster was waiting to happen. Typical activities, things and meanings all compose a dramatic image, which only seems to be coherent. The energy contained in them resembles the lines in paintings by Chaim Soutine, Paul Klee and Egon Schiele, whom the author often references.



The poetry of Edward Pasewicz seems to be focused on testing possibilities given by the language. In Och, Mitochondria, the corporeality understood as a sign and observed in many ways and on many levels comes to the fore. In his poems, the body is observed on a microbiological and genetic level, but the perspective of social and political life remains as important for the author.


Zawsze M.Pogornik

Zawsze by Marta Podgórnik is a strong, feminist voice, characterised by its personal and intimate tone. The position of woman is the matter and strength of her poetry. She radicalises various popular and traditional forms, such as a cabaret song, a ballad or a fairy tale, filling them with directness, cruelty and deep, strong emotions.


Joanna Roszak Tego dnia

Joanna Roszak, a poet and author of books on poetry and literary research focuses on the borderline between the Polish, German and Jewish literature. In Tego dnia, the themes connected with death, its nature and consequences seem to be the most interesting. Her protagonists are often animals – dogs, cats, birds. Her poetry stems from avant-garde traditions, it resembles normal speech, but adds surprising twists to it. Roszak remains in ellipsis, understatement, she suspends the sense and gives us an opportunity to branch out its meanings.


Delta Dietla M. Swietlicki

In Marcin Świetlicki’s Delta Dietla we can see the recurring themes, used in his poetry before: the city, poems about literature, which the poet himself calls “pious”. Świetlicki uses the poetics of a protest-song, although in a perverse way, as he uses hexameter in his works. At the same time, a personal theme appears in his poems – death of his father and mourning, as well as having to fulfil the responsibilities towards the dead.


On the 11th of June 2016 during the official gala in Krakow Opera we will find out who will receive the Award. We will also get to know the winner of the Wisława Szymborska Award for a volume translated into the Polish language.  

Organiser: Wisława Szymborska Foundation

Partners: Krakow Festival Office, Kraków UNESCO City of Literature, City of Literature Foundation, Miłosz Festival, Matras Bookstores.

The competition is co-financed by the Ministry of Polish Culture and Heritage. The project is co-financed by the Krakow Municipality.

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