rlevitow September 8, 2010 No Comments

Polish Literature at the Brooklyn Book Festival


Polish Cultural Institute
350 Fifth Avenue, #4621
New York, NY 10118


Press Contact:

David A. Goldfarb

Tel.212-239-7300, ext. 3002






The Polish Cultural Institute in New York


Bestselling Author and Playwright DOROTA MASŁOWSKA


SEPTEMBER 12, 2010


New York, September 7, 2010 — The Polish Cultural Institute in New York is pleased to collaborate with the Brooklyn Book Festival in presenting two Polish authors at the festival’s events. Poland’s literaryWunderkindDOROTA MASŁOWSKA will appear on a panel on writing for the stage entitled, “The Play’s the Thing” with Jake Ehrenreich, author of A Jew Grows in Brooklyn, and Charles Fuller, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright of A Soldier’s Story. Celebrated poet Miłosz Biedrzycki will take part in a forum on the publication of international literature with editors from New Directions, Archipelago, Ugly Duckling, and Zephyr presses; poets Matvei Yankelevich and Marina Temkina; and translators Susan Bernofsky, Bill Martin, and Karen Emmerich.

Miłosz Biedrzycki (aka “MLB”) brings his New-York-inspired verse from Poland to America’s shores with his first English-language collection, 69 (Zephyr 2010). 

Dorota Masłowska shook up the Polish literary establishment at the age of 19 with her radically experimental novel of disaffected post-Communist youth and the amphetamine trade, Snow White and Russian Red(Grove/Atlantic 2005), now a film (dir. Xawery Żuławski, 2009). She did it again with her rap novel, The Queen’s Peacock (alternately The Queen’s Puke, 2005) winner of Poland’s highest literary award, the Nikeprize. Now her dramas Two Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians (2006)–slated for the Abrons Arts Center in New York in 2011—and No Matter How Hard We Tried (2008) are challenging audiences on international stages. Masłowska was PEN World Voices Festival guest in 2007. Biedrzycki will be in residence at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa for the fall semester, and Masłowska has a residency at Ledig House in Omi, New York during September and October.

The Polish Cultural Institute will also have a booth (number 101) at the Brooklyn Book Festival where it will present a wide selection of new Polish literature in translation along with new books about Polish history and the arts.

Now in its 5th year, the Brooklyn Book Festival is a huge, free public event presenting an array of literary stars and emerging authors who represent today’s exciting literary world. One of America’s premier literary and literacy events, this hip, smart, diverse gathering attracts thousands of book lovers of all ages. The inclusion of top national and international authors and new partners has expanded the festival’s reach while continuing to celebrate and enhance Brooklyn’s contemporary and historic literary reputation.  The Brooklyn Book Festival showcases more than 200 national and international authors in readings and panel discussions as well as 175 booksellers, publishers, presses and organizations in an outdoor literary marketplace. The festival is a premier literary event in New York City, with more than 30,000 attendees from around the world. For more information on the festival and for an up to date schedule of events, see www.brooklynbookfestival.org.


WHAT:        "The Play's the Thing"

                   Panel with Dorota Maslowska

WHEN:        Sunday, September 12, 2010, 5:00 pm

WHERE:      Brooklyn Book Festival

                   Brooklyn Historical Society

                   128 Pierrepont St. (at Clinton St.), Brooklyn , NY

TRANSPORTATION: Subway—R,2,3,4,5 to Court St./Borough Hall.  A,C,F to Jay St.-Borough Hall

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public.


WHAT:       "Reading The World: Spotlight On International Writers And Publishers"

Panel with Milosz Biedrzycki (aka "MLB")

WHEN:       Sunday, September 12, 2010, 1:00 pm

WHERE:     Brooklyn Book Festival

   International Stage
   209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn , NY

TRANSPORTATION: Subway—R,2,3,4,5 to Court St./Borough Hall.  A,C,F to Jay St.-Borough Hall

ADMISSION:  Free and open to the public.


Dorota Masłowska born 1983 in the Polish village of Wejherowo near Gdańsk, entered the public eye at the age of 19 with the debut of her novel Snow White and Russian Red, which depicts an urban periphery of cynical Polish teenagers from the housing projects searching for meaning and identity, and she wrote it in their own vernacular. A striking example of postmodernism meeting post-Communism, this debut book won instant acclaim and notoriety, winning the prestigious 2003 Polityka Passport in literature for "her personal take on Polish reality and creative use of common language." It was almost immediately translated into several languages, including French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Russian, English, Hungarian and Czech, and adapted for the screen by Xawery Żuławski in 2009. Masłowska' second novel, The Queen's Peacock (2005), won Poland's highest literary award, the Nike Prize, a controversial choice over seven other finalists, including Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska. The title in Polish, Paw Królowej, is a play on words that also translates as The Queen's Puke. Described as a prose-poem as well as a rap song, it scathingly satirizes media-makers and pop stars, as well as the author's own success. Theatrical adaptations of both books have been performed widely in Poland. In 2006 Masłowska's debut play, A Couple of Poor, Polish-Speaking Romanians, was commissioned and staged by the TR Warszawa theater, and it has since run in London, Berlin, Prague, Moscow and Chicago. A New York performance is planned for the Abrons Arts Center at the Henry Street Settlement in February 2011. A second play, No Matter How Hard We Tried, was commissioned by TR Warszawa and Berlin's Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz, and premiered in Berlin at the Internationales Autorenfestival in March 2009, and has played in Poland and Stockholm, bringing Masłowska the prize for best playwright at the 9th All-Poland Festival of Contemporary Dramaturgy in Zabrze and the Grand Prix at the 2009 Divine Comedy theater festival in Kraków. Masłowska has received a DAAD Artists Program Fellowship in Berlin. She was a guest in the 2007 PEN World Voices Festival in New York, and her rememberance of the time of Communism, “Faraway, So Gross,” appears in the Words without Borders anthology The Wall in My Head  (2009).

Milosz Biedrzycki (b. 1967, known by his pen name MLB) debuted in 1989 becoming a leading member of a group of Polish poets disdainfully labeled the “O’Harists.”  Inspired by new Polish translations of New YorkSchool poetry by Frank O’Hara, Allen Ginsburg, John Ashbery, and Kenneth Koch, they welcomed this moniker and began publishing their iconoclastic verses in the underground journal bruLion during the last years of Communism.  Seeking a new form of poetic language for the post-Communist age, in an atmosphere of postmodern skepticism of the grand Polish Romantic idea of the poet-prophet, the “bruLionists” rebelled against the philosophical posturing of older postwar poets like Czesław Miłosz and Zbigniew Herbert, and the moralism of the Generation of ‘68, represented by Stanislaw Barańczak or Adam Zagajewski. Since then, MLB has published over six volumes of verse. His poems have been published in English in Chicago ReviewFenceTrafika, and Zoland Poetry; in the Zephyr anthology Carnivorous Boy, Carnivorous Bird:  Poetry from Poland.  His first English-language collection, 69, (the number of poems in the collection) is just out from Zephyr Press.  With Biedrzycki’s fall residency, the Polish Cultural Institute resumes the long tradition of Polish participation in the prestigious International Writing Program at the University of Iowa dating to the program’s beginnings in 1966 and continuing with such distinguished writers as Julia Hartwig, Ewa Lipska, Janusz Głowacki, Jerzy Pilch, Hanna Krall, Marzanna Kielar, Piotr Sommer, and many, many more.

The Polish Cultural Institute in New York, established in 2000, is a diplomatic mission dedicated to nurturing and promoting cultural ties between the United States and Poland, both through American exposure toPoland’s cultural achievements, and through exposure of Polish artists and scholars to American trends, institutions, and professional counterparts. The Institute initiates, organizes, promotes, and produces a broad range of cultural events in theater, music, film, literature, and the fine arts. It has collaborated with Film Society of Lincoln Center; The Museum of Modern Art; Jewish Museum; PEN World Voices Festival; Poetry Society of America; Yale University; Lincoln Center Festival (Kalkwerk in 2009); BAM (Krum by TR Warszawa in BAM’s 2007 Next Wave Festival, which received a Village Voice Obie Award); Art at St. Ann’s (TR Warszawa’s Macbeth, 2008); Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, CUNY Graduate Center; and many more. PCI co-produced the off-Broadway run of Irena’s Vow, with Tovah Feldshuh, which ran on Broadway in 2009, and the Unsound New York Festival in February 2010.


The International Writing Program (IWP) brings outstanding authors from every continent to the University of Iowa. Each fall, 25-35 writers gather in Iowa City to work on their own projects, to give readings and lectures, to travel in the US, and to interact with American audiences and the literary community.  IWP is the oldest and largest multinational writing residency in the world, with a tradition of literary excellence that has continued for more than four decades.

Ledig House is a writers’ colony situated on 300 acres in the Hudson River Valley town of Omi, New York. Up to 20 poets, fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers, and translators can be accommodated during each session. The residencies include room and board and opportunities to meet with New York City publishing professionals.



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