20 years of New Wave / Mariusz Szczygieł, István Vörös


20 years of New Wave Mariusz Szczygieł: Gottland, István Vörös: Confessor of ©vejk - reading and discussion 11 November 2009 (Wednesday), 6 pm Gödör Klub Budapest, V. Erzsébet tér

Wednesday 11 November 2009, 7:00 pm

Godor Klub

20 years of New Wave

Mariusz Szczygieł: Gottland, István Vörös: Confessor of ©vejk - reading and discussion

11 November 2009 (Wednesday), 6 pm

Gödör Klub
Budapest, V. Erzsébet tér

Entrance free.

During the next edition of the literature series presenting the first 20 years of tranformation at the previous Eastern-block countries Sisso Szilvia Artner, journalist talks with the authors.

Organiser: Gödör Klub

Project: Ágnes Bárdos Deák

Editor of the series: Éva Karádi (Magyar Lettre International)

Partners: Szépírók Társasága and JAK.

Cooperating partner: Czech Centrum

More information

Mariusz Szczygieł: Gottland (Európa Kiadó, translated by Zsuzsa Mihályi, 2009)

Mariusz Szczygieł (born in 1966 in Złotoryja, Poland), reporter of Gazeta Wyborcza daily (since 1990). A graduate of the Faculty of Journalism at the University of Warsaw. Winner of the Melchior 2004 prize for his reports on Czechoslovakia and its people in the Melchior Wańkowicz Competition. His first works were published in Na przełaj weekly (1985). Author of a collection of reportage writing on Poland "Sunday that Happened on Wednesday" (1996). His texts have been published in Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and the USA. In 1995-2001, Mariusz Szczygieł hosted his own talk-show ("Na każdy temat", TV Polsat) for which he received several awards. He is an editor of a reporters` feature Duży Format in Gazeta Wyborcza daily (since 2004) and teaches seminars on reportage writing at the University of Warsaw.

Gottland is a collection of exquisite reports on the Czechs entangled in their times. Czechoslovakia and today's Czech Republic - Gottland - is a grotesque country of horror and sadness. Mariusz Szczygieł's Gottland is not a stereotypical tale featuring happy-go-lucky people who bind their time drinking beer.
Lida Baarova, actress - the woman who made Goebbels cry; Otakar Szvec, sculptor - creator of world-largest statue of Stalin, who decided to kill himself before his work was finished; an authentic niece of Franz Kafka who still lives in Prague; Marta Kubiszova, singer - the Communist regime banned her from singing for 20 years and erased archive radio recordings of her songs; Tomas Bata - legendary shoe manufacturer who built a town fully - controlled by himself ten years before George Orwell's suggested a similar idea; Eduard Kirchberger, writer - he created himself anew and became Karel Fabian; and many others - those are the characters portrayed in this book. By presenting their unusual lives, Mariusz Szczygieł gives account of the times in which they (and we) have lived. He shows the high price they had to pay for seemingly unimportant decisions and the tragic combination of chance and fate affecting the lives of whole generations.
"An intelligent, captivating and much needed book. Through his tale of lives of individual people, Mariusz Szczygieł reports on the complicated history of our Southern neighbours. Fascinated with their culture and morale, their sense of irony, humour and sarcasm, he gives an account of how the Czechs dealt with 'history which was let off the leash'. We are reading those stories from the perspective of our destiny and that makes the reading even more captivating. Our experience was similar yet so much different. A fascinating book". /Adam Michnik/

"A great book. Deeply depressing presentation of the Czech people's fate in the 20th century (it also covers the new century which is equally depressing). What I have always found fascinating in the fate of those people was the constant, dynamic, tragic and yet amusing ambiguity. Mariusz Szczygieł is well versed in the Polish school of reportage writing and he applies his method to this specific Czech ambiguity. The effect is very strong, original and surprising. For me most of those images have an evoking power. It's been very long since I made an equally intense journey to my youthful experiences, questions and fascinations. Yet the reading left me with a deep sense of sadness. I'm waiting for the second part of those reports - essays-stories (the genre is not fully defined) hoping that some catharsis is possible and that there is a way out of this trap of Central European fate". /Agnieszka Holland/

Homepage of Mariusz Szczygieł