Agata Tuszyńska is a poet, reporter, writer, literature and theatre historian. She has received the Ksawery Pruszyński Award bestowed by the Polish PEN Club. She was born in 1957 in Warsaw.
Poet, reporter, writer, literature and theatre historian.
Tuszyńska is successful in various fields of writing. She has published several collections of poetry and fictionalized biographies, such as the life story of Maria Wisnowska, an actress on Warsaw stages at the turn of the 20th century, and world-renowned writer Isaac Bashevis Singer - Singer. Pejzaże pamięci (Singer: Landscapes of Memory). She has published the memoirs of one of the most interesting figures of interwar Poland, Irena Krzywicka - Długie życie gorszycielki (Irena Krzywicka. The Long Life of the Debauched Woman) who was a writer, publicist, and a close friend of Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński. She has also edited the memoirs of Hilary Koprowski, a distinguished professor of medicine, who spent his mature life in the United States - Wygrać każdy dzień (To win every day). Tuszyńska is also the author of the volume of reportages Kilka portretów z Polską w tle. Reportaże izraelskie (Portraits with Poland in the Background) and Rosjanie w Warszawie (Russians in Warsaw) – an account of the presence of the Russian occupiers of Poland in the second half of the previous century.
However, the most controversial in her literary output is Oskarżona: Wiera Gran (Vera Gran - The Accused), the story of a singer from the Warsaw ghetto accused of collaborating with the Germans. The book, based on conversations with Gran, and supplemented by witness accounts and opinions, documents, archives and court testimony, became a multidimensional treatise on tragic choices, their moral consequences and the price to pay for salvation.
Agata Tuszyńska can pride herself on her success in each of the fields of her writing. Her books have been endorsed by eminent Polish writers: Victor Woroszylski, Father Jan Twardowski, Ryszard Kapuścinski. All of her books have been very well received by readers. Moreover, there are two factors that deserve special mention. First, Tuszyńska’s books combine the quality of an academic approach to the subject matter with accessible, ordinary language. While being firmly embedded in fact, her stories touch on fiction, conjecture, and situations that are not necessarily true, but always probable. The other substantial aspect of Tuszyńska’s writing is her sophisticated, elaborate language of narration. The author consciously chooses every metaphor, phrase length, and moments of suspension of the plot. She is in control, just as an actress aware of her acting techniques.
Accused: Wiera Gran turned out to be the author's most controversial book. It is a story of a singer from the Warsaw ghetto, who after the war was accused of collaboration with the Germans. Many years later Wiera Gran recalled that when the ghetto was liquidated, among the Jewish policemen she spotted a famous pianist who accompanied her in Sztuka cafe.
Among animalistic, agonized shouts, Jewish policemen took by force everything that was moving. Seing a woman beaten with a club, I wanted to scream! This shameful job was done by the hands of a pianist! I sam him clearly. He survived the war and is doing very well. Even though I have proof against him, I feel no need of an unrelented revenge.
Wiera Gran didn't mention his name, but the author explained she meant Władysław Szpilman. The pianist's family accused Tuszyńska and the publishing house, Wydawnictwo Literackie, of defamation. In 2013 the court in Warsaw dismissed the lawsuit. 'Freedom of literary expression and speech are more important then the cult of rememberance' - it stated. In 2016 the Supreme Court overruled this judgement, and asked the court of lower instance to reexamin the case. On July 29 2016 the apellation court decided Agata Tuszyńska and Wydawnictwo Literackie have to apologize to Władysław Szpilman's widow and son for violating their right of remembering the deceased as a good man. The court also asked the publisher to remove a few pages from the book in any future editions.
Agata Tuszyńska received the Silver Medal for Merit to Culture - Gloria Artis.
Singer. Krajiny pameti [Singer. Pejzaże pamięci], trans. Vlasta Dvorackova, H&H Vysehradska s.r.o., 2006
Vera Gran. De zangeres van het getto van Waschau (Oskarżona: Wiera Gran), trans. Liesbeth van Nes, Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 2011
Lost Landscapes: In Search of Isaac Bashevis Singer and the Jews of Poland (Singer. Pejzaże pamięci), trans. Madeline Levine. New York: William Morrow, 1998
Vera Gran - The Accused (Oskarżona: Wiera Gran), trans. Charles Ruas (from the French of Isabelle Jannès-Kalinowski), New York: Knopf. Penguin Random House, Inc., 2013.
Family History of Fear. A Memoir (Rodzinna Historia Lęku), trans.from the French by Charles Ruas, Penguin Random House, May 2016
Les disciples de Schulz (Uczniowie Schulza), trans. M.Carlier, G.Erhard. Paris: Noir sur Blanc 2000
Singer. Paysages de la memoire (Singer. Pejzaże pamięci), trans. Jean Yves Erhel. Paris: Noir sur Blanc 2002
Une histoire familiale de la peur (Rodzinna historia lęku), trans. Jean-Yves Erhel. Paris: Éditions Grasset & Fasquelle 2006
Exercices de la perte (Ćwiczenia z utraty), trans. Jean-Yves Erhel. Paris: Éditions Grasset & Fasquelle 2009
L'Accusée: Wiera Gran (Oskarżona: Wiera Gran), trans. Isabelle Jannès-Kalinowski, Grasset & Fasquelle 2011
La fiancée de Bruno Schulz (Narzeczona Schulza), trans. Isabelle Jannès-Kalinowski, Grasset & Fasquelle 2015
- Die Sängerin aus dem Ghetto - Das Leben der Wiera Gran (Oskarżona: Wiera Gran), trans. Xenia Osthelder (trans. from French), Suhrkamp/Insel, 2013.
- Oskarżona: Wiera Gran, trans. Thomas Skassis (trans. from French), Rachel Kapon 2011
- Vera Gran (Oskarżona: Wiera Gran), trans. Arieh Uriel (trans. from French), Kinneret, 2012
- L'accusata (Oskarżona: Wiera Gran), trans. Margherita Botto, Giulio Einaudi, 2012.
- Ćwiczenia z utraty, DD World, 2011
- La cantante del gueto de Varsovia. Wiera Gran, la acusada (Oskarżona: Wiera Gran), trans. Íñigo Sánchez Paños, Elena-Michelle Cano, Madrid: Alianza Literaria, 2011
Źródło: www.polska2000.pl. Copyright: Stowarzyszenie Willa Decjusza, 2001, transl. GS, July 2014, updated Jan 2015