Discovering Poland Opening Event & Reception for Book Expo America 2016 Guest of Honor

Tue May 10th at 7pm

Before they appear at Book Expo America, The Polish Book Institute and Chopin Theatre in Chicago invite you to see the leading lights of Polish literature -- Krystyna Dabrowska, Artur Domoslawski, Dorota Maslowska, Zygmunt Miłoszewski, and Magdalena Tulli -- as they read from their work and reflect upon the power of literature. The program will be introduced by a representative of The Polish Book Institute with special remarks by Chad W. Post, publisher of Open Letter Books at University of Rochester.  Book signing follows. 

Book Expo America (BEA) is the largest publishing event in North America.  This year's event is held at McCormick Place Chicago May 11-13, 2016.  The 2016 country of honour is Poland.  For more information and biographies Book Expo America and Books from Poland .

A light reception, compliments of Chopin Theatre, follows the reading.  


Photos - Charles Osgood and Steve Leonard.


05/10/16 - 05/10/16


Krystyna Dąbrowska (Poet) was born in 1979 and studied graphic art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. She has translated the poetry of W.C. Williams, W.B. Yeats, Thomas Hardy, and Thom Gunn in to Polish and writes radio plays. She has produced three collections of poetry, Travel AgencyWhite Chairs and Time and Aperture, the second of which she and Łukasz Jarosz were jointly awarded the Wisława Szymborska Prize. The same collection also prompted the jury at the Kościelski Foundation to award Dąbrowska their annual prize for emerging writers in 2013. In their justification for their decision they emphasized that her “poetry …is sensitive to ephemeral aspects of our everyday life and to intensely felt emotions, and that pinpoints everything about our existence that is left unsaid, passed over in silence, or involves an inexpressible search for its hidden meanings”. (Photo by Krzysztof Dubiel)


Born 1967, Artur Domosławski is a journalist and reporter for Gazeta Wyborcza, and the weekly Polityka.  He also collaborates with the Polish edition of the monthly Le Monde Diplomatique and in 2010, received the Journalist of the Year Award in from Press.

His books include, Christ Without a Rifle: On the Pontificate of John Paul IILatin American Fever, Death in Amazonia, as well as The World is Not For SaleRebellious America: Seventeen Dialogues on the Dark Sides of the Freedom Empire, which received the Beata Pawlak Award in Poland.

Latin American Fever established Domosławski as an outstanding reporter and expert on Latin America describing the complex socio-political situation in several Latin American countries, including Cuba, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, and Columbia. In Death in Amazonia, Domosławski gives a behind-the-scenes look at the criminal activities of the Western mining industry in Brazil, Peru and Ecuador, and exposes their connections to global politics.

Domosławski’s most acclaimed work is his painstakingly researched biography of the the world’s most acclaimed literary journalist, Ryszard Kapuściński. The book, Ryszard Kapuściński: A Life, triggered controversy for presenting Kapuściński as a great man with flaws. The result is a compelling and uncompromising portrait of a conflicted and brilliant individual. (Photo by Krzysztof Dubiel)


Dorota Maslowska (Novelist)  was born in 1983 and is sometimes referred to as the enfant terrible of Polish literature. Her first novel was acclaimed in Poland as the literary sensation of the decade. It sold in large numbers and attracted several foreign publishers. So far it has appeared in nine foreign languages, including an American edition, with further translations now in progress. In 2002, Masłowska shook up Polish literary life with a best selling novel that she wrote while studying for her final school certificate. Snow White and Russian Red takes a cold, hard look at the life of some confused young people from a housing block, who live from party to party in a world of drugs, sex and a nonsensical outlook.

Overnight the novel caused a literary scandal and became the cult book of a generation. The story is narrated by the main character, Nails. He and the other characters, Magda, Angela, Arleta, Natasha, Kacper and Lefty are teenagers from a small town in Poland in the era of rapacious capitalism, doomed from day one to end up on the dole. Their morality, notions and beliefs about the world, consisting of a mixture of fashionable clichés gleaned from the television and colour magazines, but also some radical slogans from Internet blogs, are as comical as they are sinister. They speak a bastardised version of Polish, yet it is full of energy, like a carnival of ignorant nihilists. The action takes place the day before and the day of a folkfest called “No Russki Day” (the festival is a declaration of “war” against the “Russki” traders who keep coming to the town, creating commercial competition for the townspeople, and especially for local boss and politician Zdzisław Sztorm, who owns a Polish sand company and a wholesale business selling construction panels). Although the novel largely develops in a narcotic trance, by this token it becomes a ludicrous social satire, rather than just a Polish version of Trainspotting.

Masłowska’s long awaited second novel, The Queen’s Peacock, is designed in the first place to settle some scores. In it she refers to some personal experiences, bitter ones on the whole. A nice teenager from the provinces at the time of her debut, Masłowska has had a first-hand taste of what it is like to get caught up in the media machine and fall into the clutches of con artists who treat literature like a kind of show business, and a young author like a puppet with no will of her own. Not surprisingly, the main character in her new book is a fading pop star, a silly singer who is manipulated by the media and by a revolting oik. The supporting characters are equally grotesque and unintelligent. The story is set in modern Warsaw, and features a scathing send-up of the Warsaw glitterati, the cynical, spoiled world of show business and the media. And as Masłowska has also put herself in the novel, she even turns the satire on herself, using it not just to settle scores but to demonstrate her own self-educational attitude.

However, what she says in this novel is nothing to how she says it. As before, the strength and value of the book are determined by her stunning style and, more broadly, the boldness of her linguistic creativity, because The Queen’s Peacock is written in the rhythms and rhymes of a hip-hop song. This form is unique – it’s vulgar, primitive and plebeian, designed to seize and shout out the simplest truths. Masłowska has exploited, or rather radicalised this deformed speech, full of linguistic perversions and grammatical errors. Here this language becomes the equivalent of reality, a distorted, monstrous mirror, in which the world in 2005 sees itself reflected.



Zygmunt Miłoszewski (Crime Writer) was born in Warsaw in 1975 and is an award-winning journalist, and the author of the best-selling crime series featuring prosecutor Teodor Szacki.

His highly acclaimed first novel, The Intercom, was published in 2005, and is a story about a group of people trapped in a haunted block of apartments.  The book was adapted to the screen by director, Juliusz Machulski.  His second novel, The Adder Mountains is a fantasy novel for younger readers.

His third book and most successful to-date, Entanglement, was set in modern Warsaw, and investigates a murder with murky links to Poland’s communist period.  It was awarded the High Calibre Prize for the Best Polish Crime novel and began the best-selling crime series trilogy about Polish State Prosecutor Teodor Szacki.  A Grain of Truth, the second in the series, received critical acclaim as well as a degree of controversy in his native Poland.  Rage, Miłoszewski’s final book in the Teodor Szacki crime trilogy will be released by Amazon Crossing in 2016.  Antonia Lloyd-Jones is his translator.  (Photo by Krzysztof Dubiel). 

Born in 1955, Magdalena Tulli  (Novelist) is one of Poland’s most interesting contemporary writers of fiction, nominated three times for Poland’s Nike literary prize and the 2012 Best Translated Book Award in the US.  Her sculpted, poetic prose merges myth, metaphor, history, and narrative to magical effect blending non-fiction and fiction tropes and styles.

Her debut novel, Dreams and Stones has been hailed a masterpiece and one of the most extraordinary works of literature to come out of Central and Eastern Europe since the fall of communism. It is the story of the growth of a specific city, and also about all cities and how worlds are created, transformed, and lost through words alone.  Her second novel, In Red, is set in a purely fictional “possible world” invented by the author with backgrounds and settings resembling theatre sets, disappearing from time-to-time to be replaced by others, with the characters taking no notice of the ever changing backdrop.

Her groundbreaking novels Moving Parts, and Flaw were nominated for the 2006 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and shortlisted for the 2007 Nike Prize, Poland’s most prestigious literary award respectively. She is also the translator of Proust and Calvino into Polish. She lives in Warsaw.  Bill Johnston is her translator. (Photo by Krzysztof Dubiel)

Chad W. Post is the publisher of Open Letter Books at the University of Rochester, a small press dedicated to publishing literature in translation, and which he founded in 2007. In addition he runs the Three Percent website, which is home to the Translation Database, the Three Percent Podcast, and the Best Translated Book Awards. The BTBAs launched in 2008 and are now one of the most prestigious awards for literary translation in the United States. Prior to starting Open Letter, Chad was the associate director at Dalkey Archive Press, where he worked from 2000-2007. He’s also the author of The Three Percent Problem: Rants and Responses on Publishing, Translation, and the Future of Reading. His reviews and articles have appeared in ncluding Bookforum, the WSJ Culture BlogRolling Stone, and Quarterly Conversation. 

Krystyna Dabrowska, Artur Domoslawski, Dorota Maslowska, Zygmunt Miłoszewski, and Magdalena Tulli

Tags: Literary, New Europe, 2016