Olga Tokarczuk

Writer, poet and essayist born in 1962. She studied psychology at the University of Warsaw. After her first literary successes, she gave up her work as a psychotherapist and moved to the Sudetes – currently she lives in Krajanów near Nowa Ruda. Despite the fact that her first short stories were published in Na przełaj in 1979, it is her 1993 book The Journey of the Book-People that is widely considered her literary debut. The book brought her the Polish Publishers’ Association Award.

Her follow-up novels cemented her position as one of the most interesting and popular Polish writers, widely appreciated by literary critics and readers alike. The author was nominated numerous times for the Nike Literary Award (and each time she recei ved the Audience Award), and in 2008 she managed to win the Jury Award, thanks to Bieguni (The Runners). She is also a laureate of the Passport Award of the ‘Polityka’ weekly, the Kościelski Prize and the Vilenica International Literary Prize. In 2010 she was presented with the Silver Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis.

Books written by Olga Tokarczuk have been translated into German, English, French, Spanish, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Czech, Danish, Estonian, Serbian, Swedish, and Italian. Several theatrical plays, including the Television Theatre, as well as a film (Żurek, 2003) directed by Ryszard Brylski) were based on her prose. The writer conducted writing workshops at the Literary and Artistic School of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Her works are characterised by inspirations based on psychological and anthropological theories, which form a basis for boundless imagination. In the magically transformed world, the elements of reality mix up with fiction, forming a space for philosophical questions.

Apart from the novels, the writer released short story collections: Playing on Many Drums (2001), The Last Stories (2004), as well as essays – The Doll and the Pearl (2000), which is a new re-reading of Bolesław Prus’ 19th century novel, and The Moment of the Bear (2012), in which the artist gets involved in ecological, pacifist and feminist movement, as well as defence of human rights as a member of the Zieloni 2004 party. In 2014, her latest novel – The Books of Jacob – was released. In 2015, the book was awarded the Nike Award. The novel’s plot takes the readers back to the 17th century Podolia, and the protagonist of the story is the Jewish mystic and religious reformer, Jacob Frank.

In 2019 Olga Tokarczuk was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literaturefor 2018 “for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life.”

Phot. Karpati&Zarewicz/ZAIKS
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