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The Assassin From Apricot City - Witold Szabłowski

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Witold Szabłowski, cover of the book The Assassin from Apricot City,  photo: press materials
Witold Szabłowski, cover of the book The Assassin from Apricot City,  photo: press materials

The Assassin From Apricot City is a multi-layered story about a Turkey torn between East and West. The book was nominated for the Nike Literary Award in 2011.

Countries resemble people – full of contradictions, and uncertain which direction to take. This is the very much the image of Turkey portrayed by Witold Szabłowski in his reportages. A good reporter is a catalyst to the story - he removes the gag obstructing people from speaking and makes the story develop according to its own powerful stream that covers more and more areas. And Szabłowski has this special ability.

Witek became a newspaper specialist for non-standard tasks. He tracked down the family of Ali Agca, he was a wedding singer at a non-alcoholic wedding, and with Al Jazeera he made a programme about Polish lustration. Recently, he traveled across the new state of Kosovo as a hitchhiker, which made him the first person to choose this means of transport in that region. Nonetheless, it is Turkey that he loves the most since his first trip to this country in his student years. These days, he travels across Turkey as a reporter for Gazeta Wyborcza, describing its bright and dark sides, such as honour killings or the outcomes of the sexual revolution - wrote Paweł Goźliński.

 The Assassin From Apricot City is a multi-layered story about a Turkey torn between East and West, between Islam and Islamophobia, a country steeped in conservatism and postmodernism, on the one hand longing for Europe, and expressing euroscepticism on the other.

Each of Szabłowski’s reportages covers a story where someone's fate is at stake. Every one of his protagonists has the opportunity to speak with a strong voice and tell their story, often amazed by their own courage, fueled by the Polish reporter. Immigrants from Africa, young girls fleeing the threat of honour killings, Ali Agca – these are the subjects of Szabłowski’s stories that are just a fraction of a fabulously colorful, though not necessarily idyllic, procession that leads the reader deep into Turkey, into the heart of a nation that - infected by Europeanism - loses its regular, traditional rhythm.

Jacek Hugo-Bader:

This book is about how uncomfortable it is to stand astride. However, it is not a fitness manual, but a thrilling tale of life in two incoherent worlds.

Mariusz Szczygieł:

Witold Szabłowski writes about Turkey as I would like to, if I had knowledge about it.

The book was nominated for the 2011 Nike Literary Award.

Witold Szabłowski (b. 1980) studied political science in Warsaw and Istanbul. As an intern in CNN Türk he travelled across the whole of Turkey. In Poland, he started to work as journalist for TVN 24. In 2006, he joined the team of Gazeta Wyborcza. For the collection of reportages  The Assassin From Apricot City, he has received several journalism awards, including the Melchior Award in 2007 and the Amnesty International Award. In 2010, he was awarded the European Parliament Journalism Prize for his reportage  Dzisiaj przypłyną tu dwa trupy (Today Two Corpses Will Float to This Place).


Source:,, transl. GS, July 2014

  • Witold Szabłowski
    The Assassin From Apricot City
    Stork Press, November 2013
    Translated by Antonia Lloyd - Jones
    ISBN Paperback: 978-0-9573912-5-3

Tags: literaturenike 2011the assassin from apricot cityreportage

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