The Joseph Conrad International Literature Festival is the first stage of a large-scale project designed as a world scale event. This means that the guests will include writers from various countries who write in different languages, represent diverse cultures and world views.
The Joseph Conrad International Literature Festival is the first stage of a large-scale project by the City of Krakow, "Tygodnik Powszechny" foundation, Krakow Festival Office and a number of institutions and supporters. The first edition of the festival planned for the 2-7 November 2009 naturally links in with the Krakow Book Fair which has been set for the 5-8 November.
The Joseph Conrad Festival is not devoted to the creative works of Joseph Conrad. The author of Heart of Darkness lends his name as patron of the World Literature Feast. It has to be said that not many Polish writers have so far achieved such widespread international success while creating in a foreign language. The son of a Polish writer, Apollo Korzeniowski, chose the English language as his own and gained fame for his original style and as a witness to his period in history. As he professed, he could write in English and no other, as it was his sea experiences aboard British ships, across a number of continents, that made him a writer. It was from Krakow that the young Konrad Korzeniowski set out in 1874 on his sea voyage and now, years later he is returning as patron of international literature.
In contrast to many national events which grace Polish literature, the Joseph Conrad International Literature Festival is designed as a world scale event. This means that the guests will include writers from various countries who write in different languages, represent diverse cultures and world views. The organizers want to create in Krakow a multi-colour artistic mosaic, which will reflect the riches of world literature, exposing the Polish reader to little known ways of thinking and sensitivities. The prevailing idea is to create an event which would have the widest range and one which is widely recognised throughout the world.
Guests from abroad include:
- Per Olov Enquist - the author of novels, plays, film screenplays and works of journalistic and critical nature;
- Etgar Keret - Israeli prose writer of Polish roots, columnist, film director;
- Agneta Pleijel - Swedish writer, poet and playwright;
- Pascal Quignard - French musician, essayist, novelist, translator (from Latin and Chinese), winner of the Prix Goncourt in 2002 for the book Les Ombres Errantes ("The Wandering Shadows");
- Jordi Savall - musician, instrumentalist and conductor, teacher, tenacious researcher and discoverer of many musical treasures; for more than thirty years he has been reconstructing and performing old, often forgotten works;
- Eric Vigne - editor of the humanistic department in Gallimard publishing house;
- Lindsay Waters - editor-in-chief of the humanistic department - Harvard University Press; critic i theoretician of literature.
Detailed programme of the Festival events available on pages www.conradfestival.pl - programme.
The structure of the Joseph Conrad Literature Festival is based on two simple principles. Each day is devoted to a different issue associated with literature. The highlight will be a meeting with a renowned foreign writer, as well as the surrounding context of the various accompanying events, also associated with the same issue. It is planned that the first edition will include the following themes:
- A passion to write;
- Personal and communal stories;
- The senses and literature;
- Fact, fiction, plot;
- Europe amongst cultures;
- Lawmakers and translators;
- Fate of the book in a post-modern society.
Detailed programme of the Festival's accompanying events available on pages www.conradfestival.pl - accompanying events.
The festival is not a one-off venture, as following editions are already being planned.
In the first year we will host writers from Europe. The following year - North America, then South America and Asia. Among the invited guest are winners of prestigious prizes as well as authors of international bestsellers. Philosophical writers and absorbing storytellers, reporters and fiction writers, those engaged and those experimenting. The only criteria for an invitation is the strength with which the authors can present their convictions and world views to the reader. Due to this festival outline, it will be easier to understand Polish literature in an international context.
The Festival Artistic Director: Michał Paweł Markowski (Jagiellonian University)
Programme director: Piotr Mucharski ("Tygodnik Powszechny")
Source: Festival's official website - www.conradfestival.pl.