Polish illustrators awarded in China

The international book fair in Beijing ended on Sunday. The Beijing International Book Fair is Asia’s largest book fair, with more than two and a half thousand publishers from 90 countries exhibiting their books every year, visited by more than 300,000 readers and book professionals. This year’s edition was exceptional: the works of five Polish illustrators made it to the final of The BIBF Ananas International Illustration Exhibition, and Dominika Czerniak-Chojnacka received the jury’s award. The Book Institute, in turn, was awarded for the promotion of literature from central Europe.

The Book Institute once again organised an information stand in Beijing. We showcased over 200 Polish books for children, which are very popular in China, as well as titles presented in the New Books from Poland catalogue.

During the fair, like other institutions promoting national cultures abroad – Alliance Française or Goethe Institut – we informed about our books published recently in China. On Saturday and Sunday, together with the Polish Institute, we organised meetings devoted to Chinese translations of Polish books. The presentation entitled Step into the Polish Literature was devoted to Polish titles available in China as e-books. At the moment, there are more than 20 titles, among which, apart from classics, readers can find Podróże z Herodotem (“Travels with Herodotus”) and Imperium by Ryszard Kapuściński, as well as Wiedźmin (“The Witcher”) by Andrzej Sapkowski. All these titles are available to Chinese users of kindle readers in a promotional bundle. The meeting was attended by the translator of Kapuściński’s books, Professor Wu Lan, who talked about her fascination with our literature, as well as a group of actors who read selected fragments of The Witcher live.

In the part of the fair prepared especially for children, two meetings were held around Legendy Polskie (“Polish Legends”) and Pionierzy (“Polish Pioneers”) by Marta Dzienkiewicz with illustrations by Joanna Rzezak and Piotr Karski. Both books have been published in China over the last year.

Polish illustrators are excellently received in the Middle Kingdom. Works by as many as five of them made it to the final of The BIBF Ananas International Illustration Exhibition competition. Our country was represented by Aleksandra Artymowska, Jacek Ambrożewski, Zosia Frankowska, Joanna Concejo, and Dominika Czerniak-Chojnacka, who received the Grand Jury Prize.

However, this is not the end of the Polish touch. Hua Cheng Publishing House from Canton, the publisher of the “Blue Eastern Europe” series, organised a presentation of fifty volumes of the series and presented awards to institutions and translators particularly involved in this undertaking.

The collection includes the most important twentieth-century literary works of our region. So far, as separate volumes in the series, there have been published: Druga przestrzeń (“The Second Space) and Piesek przydrożny (“Road-side Dog”) by Czesław Miłosz, W cudzym pięknie (“Another Beauty”), Pochwała żarliwości (‘Praise of Zeal’), and Wiersze wybrane (‘Selected Poems’) by Adam Zagajewski, Solaris by Stanisław Lem, Barbarzyńca w ogrodzie (‘Barbarian in the Garden’), Labirynt nad morzem (‘Labyrinth by the Sea’), and Martwa natura z wędzidłem (‘Still Life with a Bridle’) by Zbigniew Herbert. The award for the Book Institute was received by Izabella Kaluta at the hands of the editor-in-chief of Chinese “World Literature” and the editor of the entire collection, Professor Gao Xing.

Sunday was crowned by an evening dedicated to the poems by Czesław Miłosz. It was attended by the translators of Miłosz’s work as well as Chinese poets fascinated by the Nobel Prize winner.

The accompanying programme was developed in cooperation between the Book Institute, the Polish Institute, and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Beijing.

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