Suprised? But I’m sure not by which city it is placed in. Yes, Cracow is very – you can say – literary. A hometown of The Nobel Prize awarded poets – Czesław Miłosz, Wisława Szymborska and also, altough only part-time, Seamus Heaney – is really the best place to organize Joseph Conrad Festival.
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 has been planned for the 3-7 November 2009 and naturally links in with the Krakow Book Fair which has been set for the 5-8 November.
A moment for explanation because the name can be a little bit misleading: festival is not devoted to the creative works of Joseph Conrad. The author of “Heart of Darkness” and one of the most worldwide famous writers of Polish origin has only lend his name as patron of the event.
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.
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.
Who is going to present at Festival? Let’s have a look at the list: Per Olov Enquist, Atiq Rahimi, Pascal Quignard, Pascal Quignard (from abroad), Marek Bieńczyk, Stefan Chwin, Przemysław Czapliński (from Poland).