Nominees2018-05-21T16:39:41+00:00
Winner: Linn Hansén
Wojciech Bonowicz
Julia Fiedorczuk
Natalia Malek
Marta Podgórnik
Ilona Witkowska

Linn Hansén

Born in 1983; Swedish poet and editor of the cultural-philosophical journal Glänta. She had her debut 10 years ago with the book of poems Ta I trä, for which she received several awards. She is one of the organizers of the Göteborg Poetry Festival. Former member of the Sharks literary collective.

The Award for the Polish translation of Linn Hansén’s book Gå till historienPrzejdź do historiigoes to Justyna Czechowska.

Justyna Czechowska born in 1979 in Lublin; literary studies scholar, translator of Swedish and Norwegian literature, and cultural activist. She has degrees in cultural studies, literary studies and Slavic studies from the Universities in Göteborg, Stockholm, and Uppsala. Co-founder, member of the board, and since 2017 Chairwoman of the Polish Literary Translators Association (STL), and an initiator of the Gdansk Meetings of Literary Translators.

Tomasz Bąk

About Przejdź do historii (Turn to History)

‘Linn Hansén’s book is undoubtedly impressive and straightforward, also due to the subject matter hinted at in the title Przejdź do historii. This straightforwardness is surprising, odd in a way. As a matter of fact the book is constructed, if one may say so, from prefabricated elements, namely questions that could be found for example in a school entrance exam, and also instructions, orders and statements that one might expect in a schoolbook or a journalistic essay.’

Marian Stala, Juror of the Wisława Szymborska Award

Przejdź do historii‘ is a rare case on the Polish publishing market, which accommodates relatively few translations of poetry – as opposed to prose. Most Polish translations are books by older poets, whose oeuvres make it possible to prepare extracts, so that the resultant book of poetry is an anthology, a selection of best poems. Here we have a prize granted for a poet’s debut in our market, an integral book of poetry which is a very closely-knit volume – perfectly, consistently and coherently composed. It was thus a risky book for the publisher: profit and publicity extremely uncertain.’

Paulina Małochleb, Secretary of the Wisława Szymborska Award

Tomasz Bąk

Wojciech Bonowicz

Born in 1967 in Oświęcim; poet, editor, journalist, and author of children’s books. Degree in Polish studies from the Jagiellonian University. His debut was the book of poetry Wybór większości, followed by several other collections of poems. Winner of a number of literary awards; in 2007 he received the Gdynia Literary Award for his book Pełne morze. Has worked as a journalist and editor for Znak Publishers and Tygodnik Powszechny. His biography of Father Józef Tischner was nominated for the Nike Award in 2001. In 2014 nominated for the Wisława Szymborska Award for his book of poems Echa. This year he is nominated for the volume Druga ręka.

About Druga ręka (The Other Hand)

‘The essence of Bonowicz’s poetics is that he extracts a part from a larger indeterminate fragment. Why it is this rather than any other part remains the poet’s secret. We readers are left alone with the text and have to look for the answer on our own.’

Abel Murcia Soriano, Juror of the Wisława Szymborska Award

‘For Wojciech Bonowicz the point of departure is a brief situation, a description of what is going on in the city: rain, pavements, landscape outside the window, beach. Every time, however, they are no more than just the point of departure, a kind of springboard into an entirely different reflection, an opportunity to talk about fear, loneliness, doubt, death.‘

Paulina Małochleb, Secretary of the Wisława Szymborska Award

‘What I find the most convincing is a kind of honest self-exposure. Not all poets are able to show themselves, not all are able to show what is painful, moving, what makes us feel momentarily carried away by elation, delight.‘

Dorota Walczak-Delanois, Juror of the Wisława Szymborska Award

‘In this book, my interest is attracted and I am impressed by the rhythm and style of the everyday, which involves subtle irony.‘

Dorota Walczak-Delanois, Juror of the Wisława Szymborska Award

Julia Fiedorczuk

Born in 1975 in Warsaw; poet, author, literary critic, and translator. She had her debut in 2000 with the book of poems Listopad nad Narwią, for which she received the award of the Polish Association of Book Publishers. Her other volumes of poetry include Bio (2004), Planeta rzeczy zagubionych (2006), Tlen (2009) and tuż-tuż (2012). Has published the collection of short stories Poranek Marii (2010) and several novels, starting with Biała Ofelia (2012). In 2016 she was nominated for the Nike Literary Award for her novel Nieważkość. Her works have been translated into more than ten languages. She is an associate professor at the University of Warsaw’s Department of American Literature and a member of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment. She lives in Warsaw. Fiedorczuk is nominated for this year’s Silesius Poetry Award for her book Psalmy.

Tomasz Bąk

About Psalmy (Psalms)

‘As a project, it is an impressive book. The impression is that of a longer piece of narrative poetry that forms a whole, in which, however, each individual poem works on its own.‘

William Martin, Juror of the Wisława Szymborska Award

‘Julia Fiedorczuk chooses the secular psalm; however, she often speaks of experiencing nature, or feminine sensations – a far cry from the biblical tradition. What she borrows from the religious text though is a certain melodic, incantatory quality.‘

Paulina Małochleb, Secretary of the Wisława Szymborska Award

‘Psalmy speaks on behalf of excluded people, but also plants, animals and landscapes. These psalms perform the labour of mourning over those killed in the recent events of the crawling global war, but also over irretrievably lost species and ecosystems. Just like David’s Psalms, some of these poems are written from the abyss, often in a situation that seems hopeless, and yet they celebrate life in all of its manifestations, and are full of gratitude.‘

Jacek Gutorow

‘The poetics newly created by Fiedorczuk focuses on seeking a new way of expressing the world around her. Special care is owed to a child, a woman, a man, water… To the planet.‘

Dorota Walczak-Delanois, Juror of the Wisława Szymborska Award

Tomasz Bąk

Natalia Malek

Born in 1988; poet and curator of literary events. Her poems and writings about art have been published in the cultural press at home and abroad. She has authored three books of poetry: Pracowite popołudnia (2010), Szaber (2014), and Kord (2017). She was nominated for the 2015 Gdynia Literary Award for Szaber. For the past six years she has been involved in the series of feminars ‘Shared Room’ at the Old Town Cultural Centre in Warsaw. Recipient of the fourth Adam Włodek Prize.

About KORD

‘Rather than writing descriptive poetry, Natalia Malek employs a series of cacophonies, combines completely different languages, cuts short all budding scenes, and uses a surplus of connotations that obscures comprehension. She has no interest in any ideological orientation or order of emotions; she always chooses alienness, distance, cold, separateness.‘

Paulina Małochleb, Secretary of the Wisława Szymborska Award

‘In Kord, the poet performs intricate essentializations, or rather cumulations, of language energy. What we get is seemingly an outline of an anecdote or a lame poetic aphorism, but it sounds so well, works so perfectly in our ears, teases our sense of curiosity and creates such tension on the enjambments that it is more than enough, that it can’t get any better.‘

Maciej Woźniak, “Dwutygodnik”

‘In Kord Malek has developed her own strategy of playing host to the reader in her poem, her own vision of momentary entities and their accidental actions, which are never confined to the space of the text but always require a kind of geometric extension, drawing the line further on, all the way to the point of intersection of words, etymologies, conflicts, and choices.‘

Jakub Skurtys, “Mały Format”

Marta Podgórnik

Born in 1979; poet, literary critic, editor, and translator. Has published a number of books of poems, notably Paradiso (nominated for the Passzport Polityki award), Rezydencja surykatek (Gdynia Literary Award), and Zawsze (nominated for the Wisława Szymborska Award and the Silesius Poetry Award). This year, she is also nominated for the Wisława Szymborska Award and the Silesius Award for Zimna książka.

Tomasz Bąk

About Zimna książka (Cold Book)

‘Marta Podgórnik’s new book of poems is a special record of desires, yearnings and traumas, where rhyme is king while words form a pact with rhythm. A little lyricism, some intellectual charades, but above all a festival of activated language.‘

Marcin Orliński, Przekrój

‘Zimna książka is not a cold book unless we have in mind the kind of cold that becomes a cold compress, but it can also be a thermometer. This particular cold compress is a kind of wound dressing.‘

Dorota Walczak-Delanois, Juror of the Wisława Szymborska Award

‘Continuing the poetics that we have already become familiar with, Marta Podgórnik chooses the figure of a dead lover who formulates her complaint. The committee has pointed out more than once the irony in the title of the book, which is both hot and cold. Hot because it tells of intense, extreme emotions; cold because it is captured into a strong formal structure, which orders the feelings.‘

Paulina Małochleb, Secretary of the Wisława Szymborska Award

Tomasz Bąk

Ilona Witkowska

Born in 1988 in Opole; poet. Honoured with the Special Prize of the Jacek Bierezin National Poetry Contest. Received the Silesius Poetry Award for her book Splendida realta (2013) in the debut category, and the Gazeta Wyrborcza daily’s cultural award WARTO 2018 for literature. Holds a degree in cultural studies from the University of Wroclaw. Lives in Sokołowsko. This year, she has been nominated for the Silesius Award for her book Lucyfer zwycięża.

About Lucyfer zwycięża (Lucifer Is Winning)

‘Ilona Witkowska knows what she is writing, which is actually not as often the case as one might expect. Her poems are like well-aimed bullets of melancholic anger. It is worthwhile to watch closely their trajectory.‘

Marcin Sendecki

‘Ilona Witkowska shuns description, clashes naiveté with cruelty – the latter always coming from man. There is no safe position here which would make it possible to occupy some safe spot, no neutral phrase.‘

Paulina Małochleb, Secretary of the Wisława Szymborska Award

‘Witkowska’s second book, Lucyfer zwycięża, is not (…) easy in analysis or interpretation but very interesting and inspiring. It posits fundamental questions about the status of the individual in the world and the existence of evil. It provides no ready solutions but disturbs us from our comfort zone, compelling us to engage in reflection.‘

Ilona Nawrot, “Salon Literacki”