24 OCT — 30 OCT

Conrad Festival | Kraków, Poland


The theme COMMUNITY - prompts us to think about the relationship between the individual and the collective. Together with guests from different countries and cultural backgrounds, we will discuss the values but also the limitations of belonging to a given group.

On October 28th we present CELA. New Voices from Europe with CELA writers and translators.

Sylwia Chutnik, Artur Domosławski, Natasza Goerke, Weronika Gogola, Grażyna Plebanek, Zbigniew Rokita, Szczepan Twardoch and Jakub Żulczyk - these are just a few of the writers we will meet at the Conrad Festival. There will also be guests from abroad, including acclaimed authors from Ukraine. We will meet all of them stationary in Krakow on 24-30 October to talk about different ways of experiencing community.

"The slogan of this year's edition - COMMUNITY - prompts us to think about the relationship between the individual and the collective," explains Grzegorz Jankowicz, programme director of the festival. - Together with guests from different countries and cultural backgrounds, we will discuss, among other things, the values, but also the limitations of belonging to a given group.

This issue is undoubtedly a burning one for contemporary Ukraine. At the Conrad Festival it will be illuminated, among others, by Mykola Riabchuk, an eminent critic, essayist and poet. As he emphasises in his texts, Ukraine's belonging to the West is a fact, clearly confirmed today by the attitude of society. Tania Malarczuk, on the other hand, reaches back to the past. Her novel Forgetting, which won a BBC award, tells the story of people who were involved in strengthening Ukrainian national identity. The meeting with Natalka Bilocerkiweć, on the other hand, will take on an unusual format: the outstanding poet, critic and translator will select several dozen poems by Ukrainian authors to read in their originals, while a group of Polish poets will present their translations.

At the most important literary festival in Poland, we will meet guests from all over the world. Robert Esposito, Eva Meijer and Carmen Maria Machado, whose participation was already announced in April, will be joined by German writer Verena Kessler, among others. Her debut novel, Ghosts from the Town of Demmin, tells the story of a small town where nearly a thousand people committed suicide in 1945, just before the Red Army entered. Salvadoran investigative journalist Óscar Martínez, winner of the International Press Freedom Award, also tackles dramatic stories. In committed texts, he tells the story of Latin American migrants who risk their lives to reach the United States. Leïla Slimani, a Moroccan-French journalist and Goncourt Prize-winning writer, also gives voice to the marginalised. Her texts show the impact of cultural, political and economic processes on people's lives - especially those who are stigmatised as queer by Western societies. Importantly, many of the meetings will include authors of translations. Without them, the international literary community would not only be incomplete, but impossible.

Lovers of non-fiction literature, who make up a significant group of the festival audience, will also find something for themselves in this edition. One of the most famous authors of this genre, Artur Domosławski, will come to Krakow to talk about the extent to which the conflicts shaking the world today are a consequence of events from the 20th century. The problem of rooting in the past in relation to one region - Silesia - is taken up by Zbigniew Rokita. The author of the book Kajś, which won the Nike Award, will draw attention to the complicated fates of individuals and groups who, under the influence of political upheavals and war disasters, had to adapt to the imposed borders.

One of the key points on the programme is a discussion of Poland as seen from exile. Esteemed writers - Natasza Goerke, Weronika Gogola and Grażyna Plebanek - will talk about how they translate Polishness into other languages and cultural codes. No less interesting is the debate  the participation of Marta Sokołowska, Ishbel Szatrawska and Szczepan Twardoch. This will be an opportunity to discuss the commonality of literature, the condition of Polish drama and the crossing of boundaries between stage works and prose. Sylwia Chutnik, Michał Kmiecik, Michał Otłowski and Jakub Żulczyk, in turn, will raise the extremely important topic of the reprivatisation scandal. In this context, the four artists will discuss the social role of film, theatre and prose.

As usual, the festival will also feature a number of accompanying events, including reading workshops for young people. This time, they will be held under the banner of Queer Reading Lessons and will be devoted entirely to literature telling the experiences of LGBTQA+ people. The workshops will be led by people with journalistic as well as academic backgrounds. The Conrad Festival is not only about meetings with writers from all over the world. Its accompanying programme includes events for children and families, a film strip and a Book Congress. Between 24 and 30 October, Krakow will be alive with all dimensions of literature. Organised as part of the Conrad Festival, the Book Congress is a series of meetings devoted to the publishing market. The events of this strand will be held at the Potocki Palace, as well as at the International Book Fair in Krakow, which is taking place at the same time. The programme will consist of discussions open to the public and debates for industry professionals. Guests will discuss issues as diverse as legal regulations for the book market, copyright for non-fiction texts or the meaning of compulsory school reading. Specialists will also discuss the development prospects of the publishing market for the next 10 years. There will be no shortage of extremely important issues, such as the reading needs of thousands of new Polish residents from the Ukraine. The Book Congress will also include a presentation of the work of authors associated with the international CELA (Connecting Emerging Literary Artists) project. At the meeting on translations of classics, the names of participants of those who have qualified for the Translatorium mentoring programme will be announced.

The festival community
"Guests at the festival will include an array of male and female writers representing countries and literary traditions such as Germany, France, Estonia, Ukraine, Morocco, Turkey, USA, El Salvador, Argentina and Singapore. Naturally, we will also meet excellent national authors such as Sylwia Chutnik, Artur Domosławski, Weronika Gogola, Grażyna Plebanek, Zbigniew Rokita, Szczepan Twardoch and Jakub Żulczyk. We are looking forward to seeing the Conrad Festival community live again," says Grzegorz Jankowicz.

The event is organised by the City of Krakow, KBF and Tygodnik Powszechny Foundation.
You are welcome to visit the Conrad Festival website:
Website: www.conradfestival.pl
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ConradFestival
Instagram: www.instagram.com/conrad.festival