A week with masters of world literature, representatives of numerous languages and various literary genres, with book designers, publishers and translators. Nearly 100 distinguished guests from Poland and abroad. Discussions, exhibitions, film projections and theatre performances - programme of the 6th Conrad Festival is full of unique events!
The Conrad Festival coincides with the 1st anniversary of the granting of the “UNESCO’s City of Literature” prestigious title to Krakow, and – as every year – with the 18th International Book Fair in Krakow, which is the biggest event of this sort in Poland. The beacon of light from Conrad’s lighthouse will guide the most illustrious writers to Krakow to celebrate – in the vicinity of the Wawel royal castle – the 6th edition of the most important Polish festival of literature.
We are starting the Conrad Festival exactly one year after receiving the title of UNESCO’s City of Literature. This has got a symbolic dimension for us because, for the whole year, we have been working intensively to strengthen the literary image of Krakow – says Izabela Helbin, the Director of the Krakow Festival Office. – Thanks to enormous involvement and hard work, he have succeeded in preparing an unusually rich programme and in inviting to Krakow the top names of world literature headed by Paul Auster, Jaume Cabré and Boris Akunin. In October, Krakow will become a true capital of literature and we are happy to have contributed to this.
The names of the invited guests do impress. Krakow will for the first time receive the author of Erast Fandorin series, Boris Akunin, one of most widely read Russian language writers (around 30 million copies of his books have been sold all over the world). During the meeting with Wacław Radziwiłowicz, the Moscow correspondent of the Gazeta Wyborcza daily, Akunin will talk about Russia as a background for his cult thrillers and about playing games with the conventions of the detective story genre. There will be another important guest at the Festival: one of the most interesting Spanish writers – Jaume Cabré – a Catalan, author of Jo confesso (I Confess), a bestselling novel, a sort of literary concert in fact, consisting of multithreaded reflections on human nature and the roots of evil. The royal city of Krakow will host also the long-awaited Irish writer, John Banville, laureate of the prestigious Booker Prize, the Irish Pen Award and the Franz Kafka Prize. The author of The Sea, Mefisto or The Untouchable will tell us what it means to be an Irish in the world of English language literature. Considered, not in vain, by many critics to be a master of style, Banville will additionally talk about his literary workshop. Krakow has also invited one of most highly esteemed American writers, Paul Auster, author of the legendary New York Trilogy, screenwriter, director, philosopher and poet, recognisable thanks to an unusually accurate way of presenting the condition of the 20th- and 21st-century man, lost in symbolic orders, lonely in the realities of mysterious metropolises and in the fumes of the absurd. Auster’s visit will be the event of the year. The prospects of meeting Raja Shehadeh, an eminent human rights activist of the Middle Eastand the prestigious Orwell Prize laureate, are equally splendid. We await an extraordinarily heated discussion with this writer, author of famous Palestinian Walks, a series of shattering reportages based on the traditional Palestinian concept of wandering (“wadi”), telling about the history of Palestine’s political hopes and disappointments and about the biblical landscape that vanishes to be replaced by walled enclaves. The inner history of the ruthless war in the Balkans, known mainly from journalists’ reports, will in turn be brought closer to us by the author of an impressive book about the Balkan hell, Miljenko Jergović, one of the most important Croat writers who has received the ANGELUS Central European Literature Award for the novel Srda pjeva, u sumrak, na Duhove (Srda sings in the Twilight at Pentecost).
The motto of the sixth edition of the Festival is “Shared Worlds”. This year, emphasis is laid on what unites us through literature. “Us” means: readers and writers, authors and addressees all over the world – explains Michał Paweł Markowski, the artistic director of the Conrad Festival.
Polish literature will be strongly represented at the Festival as well: Olga Tokarczuk will tell about her latest novel, Księgi Jakubowe (Jacob’s Books), Janusz Głowacki will hold a night conversation on life and literature with Inga Iwasiów, Marek Bieńczyk will read his book for children Nussi i coś więcej (Nussi and something more),Szczepan Twardoch will take part in a discussion about Silesia and the difficult subject-matter of little homelands, while Jacek Hugo-Bader will tell the Festival audience about the secrets of a reporter’s job and about the inner history of the famous expedition to Broad Peak.
Apart from meetings with authors, there will be numerous concurrent events organized as well: film shows, music and theatre events, workshops and branch meetings devoted to the creative aspects and various dimensions of a book’s life. The Conrad Festival proposes also a rich series of workshops and meetings for all age groups – from the youngest to senior citizens. A significant position in the programme will be occupied by Edinburgh, our twin UNESCO’s City of Literature. Let us remind you that last year Reykjavík was the honorary guest of the Festival.
The Conrad Festival is a joint undertaking of the City of Krakow, Krakow Festival Office and the Tygodnik Powszechny Foundation.
The detailed programme of the Festival can be found at: www.conradfestival.pl/en.