Polish Authors Featured at UK Hay Festival
Filip Springer and Olga Tokarczuk will be discussing their newest books with Hay Festival attendees during this year’s edition of the famous literature festival.
The Hay Festival, a yearly literature and arts festival that brings together authors and readers, will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. As part of the festivities, Polish authors Filip Springer and Olga Tokarczuk are scheduled to speak about their books, which have recently been translated into English.
Springer, a self-taught journalist, has been a reporter and photographer since 2006. His first long-form journalistic endeavour, History of a Disappearance: The Story of a Forgotten Polish Town, is a comprehensive and thorough reportage about Miedzianka, a small Polish mining town in southern Poland. The account has earned him much praise in the field of journalism.
After surviving the Thirty Years War, the Napoleonic Wars, and both World Wars, Miedzianka was made up of Poland’s displaced citizens. After years of uranium mining, the village was an environmental hazard impacting the lives of the inhabitants and was eventually evacuated. Today, it stands abandoned and decrepit. Springer’s focus on individual stories of Miedzianka citizens shows how the history of Europe can impact even the smallest towns, the smallest groups of people. Ursula Phillips, a translator of Polish literature, says:
Written in the popular Polish reportage genre, rather than as literary fiction, the book nevertheless possesses many features of a thriller: mystery, tension, suspense, horror – all of which are admirably conveyed by the English translation. History of a Disappearance is a tale of traumatic loss for the people who once lived in Miedzianka.
Flights by Tokarczuk, one of Poland’s most celebrated contemporary authors, has received its fair share of praise and accolades in recent years. Tokarczuk was awarded a Nike, Poland’s highest literary honour, for the novel in 2009. Relating the stories of travel with notions of life, death and change, Flights features vignettes about the travels of a slave in the 18th century, Chopin’s heart’s path from Paris to Warsaw for its burial and more present-day tales. Toby Litt, a fellow author, says:
Reading Flights is like finally hearing from a weird old best friend you lost touch with years ago and assumed was gone forever because people that amazing and inventive just don't last. Wrong – they were off rediscovering the world on your behalf, just as Olga Tokarczuk does.
Springer will talk about the History of a Disappearance on 26th May at the Cube on the Hay Festival grounds. A meeting with Tokarczuk about Flights takes place on 29th May at the Good Energy Stage at the Hay Festival.
Tokarczuk will also be in Manchester in conversation with literary and cultural critic Kaye Mitchell on 30th May and in London in conversation with The Economist’s James Woodall on 31st May. Jennifer Croft, the translator of Flights, will also be in attendance in London.
Here are all of the dates Springer and Tokarczuk will be speaking at the Hay Festival:
- 26th May: Filip Springer at Cube, the Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye
- 29th May: Olga Tokarczuk in conversation with Clare Armitstead at the Good Energy Stage, the Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye
- 30th May: Olga Tokarczuk in conversation with Kaye Mitchell at Waterstones Deansgate, Manchester
- 31st May: Olga Tokarczuk in conversation with James Woodall at Calvert 22 Space, London
The Hay Festival runs 25th May to 4th June in Hay-on-Wye and surrounding cities in the United Kingdom.
Source: Polish Cultural Institute in London, compiled by MH, 25 May 2017