Literary roundup: Nike winner and new Petra Hůlová

Marek Bieńczyk has won Poland’s top literary award for Książka twarzy (A Book of the Face). The Nike Literary Award (Nagroda Literacka NIKE) has been in existence since 1997 and has had Olga Tokarczuk, Wiesław Myśliwski, Jerzy Pilch and Czesław Miłosz among previous winners.

Speaking of Miłosz this year’s Audience Award went to Andrzej Franaszek for Miłosz : biografia.

Bieńczyk’s winning work is described as “a collection of essays which blend elements of various genres, including poetry, press articles and criticism,” merging “intellectual discourse with autobiographical reflections on a wide range of subject matter, from literature and films to tennis and wine.”

“By giving an award to a modest person as I am, the jury honoured a literary genre which has no definition,” he commented.

Two books by Bieńczyk are available in English translation. Tworki was published by Northwestern University Press and Transparency by Dalkey Archive, both in translations by Benjamin Paloff.

Bohemia, the Promised land

Petra Hůlová is launching her latest novel with a reading on October 11 at Café Jericho in Prague. Titled Čechy, země zaslíbená (Bohemia, the Promised land), the novel follows a Ukrainian immigrant named Olga who comes to Prague to earn money and depicts the difficulties she faces, the broader immigrant community in which she is one of many and the life she was compelled to leave behind.

This is Hůlová’s seventh novel (not her ninth as I previously wrote.) So far only her 2002 debut All This Belongs to Me, translated by Alex Zucker, is available in English.

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