Piotr Siemion was born in Wrocław in 1961. He is a writer and translator, and for many years he worked as a lawyer in the U.S.
He is a prose writer, translator, and American lawyer. He has translated Thomas Pynchon, John Gardner and Robert Nye.
In 1988 he traveled to the United States as a Fulbright scholar, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the subject of American twentieth-century novels. Between 1988 and 2000 he moved between the US (New York) and Canada (Montreal), during which time he published a series of translations (among others, of Yeats' poetry and Tom Clancy's prose). He has translated Thomas Pynchon (the ingenious translation of The Crying of Lot 49, for which he won the 'Literatura na Świecie award), John Gardner and Robert Nye. He worked as a columnist and anecdote writer for the underground journal 'BruLion'. In 1997 he completed his legal studies at the University of Columbia and worked in Manhattan in the legal practice of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Since the summer of 2000 he has lived in Warsaw
I tell stories of leaving Hell, not of permanent residence in the Paradise of margarine commercials. Because we have left Hell...
When I publish a novel, my credibility as a lawyer suffers, because it shows that I am also some kind of – excusez-moi le mot – an artist. For artists, on the other hand, I am extremely suspect because I am a lawyer, and it is not clear whether someone, for example, doesn't write my books in return for money. But for me it is a great pleasure that these two worlds are in conflict, because they give me two identities, while still being far from schizophrenia. The one world helps the other to flourish.
What is really happening in Poland today can be seen where big money and big emotions come together, where new people write themselves new biographies. The novel as a genre comes from the observation of the pulsating, capitalist city. That was the case in England and France 200 years ago, and it's the case now as well.
Niskie Łąki (2000) can be read from beginning to end as a distressing documentary of lost Polish youth at the time of communism's collapse and the difficult birth of freedom, but at the same time as a perverse, uncoventional screenplay of the maturation towards normality.
Niskie Łąki (named after a street in Wrocław) is the best Polish novel of the recent years." said Piotr Bratkowski.
No book has moved me this much for a long time as Piotr Siemion's novel debut. It;s a total surprise: the author is not that young for a first-time writer (born in 1961), known mostly as a translator of English literature, has demonstrated both narrative brilliance and epic momentum - wrote Piotr Bratkowski ("Gazeta Wyborcza", 22.12.2000).
"The most important 'generation novel', which expresses the experiences and mood of Poles who were born at the beginning of the sixties most completely." (Dariusz Nowacki)
Siemion's following book, the 'romantic comedy' Finimondo (2004) is a romantic thriller set in contemporary Poland. It is mostly set on Warsaw's streets, in skyscrapers and offices, mostly in the milieu of politicians and businessmen.
After more than a decade of silence Siemion has returned with a collection of notes on everyday life entitled Dziennik roku węża (Diary of the Year of the Snake).
The Diary ... is a four-hundred-page long story about extraordinary life in its ordinariness. Sometimes extremely witty, at times depressing. Now and then unbearably clever – clever, but also full of humility when needed. But most of all – full of mindfulness.
- Niskie Łąki (novel), Warsaw: W.A.B., 2000.
- Finimondo (novel), Warsaw: W.A.B., 2004.
- Dziennik roku węża, Kraków: Znak, 2015
Source: www.polska2000.pl, Copyright: Stowarzyszenie Willa Decjusza, updated 09/2016.