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The Polish Cultural Institute New York
is proud to present

Book launch tour with author, Agata Tuszynska

Detailed tour schedule

Amherst, MA, New Britain, CT, New York, NY, Chicago, IL

A hoe and a saw and patterned slacks

They've gone away and won't come back

But next year you'll once again

Recall the Sztuka and Vera Gran

- Wladyslaw Szlengel

The Sztuka ("Art") of Szlengel's alternate lyrics to the satirical wartime song, "An axe and a hoe...," was a café in the Warsaw Ghetto, and Vera Gran - a chanteuse with a sultry contralto - was its star. Filmgoers may know about the Café Sztuka from Roman Polanski's film, The Pianist, but the film doesn't mention that the pianist in question was Gran's accompanist. After the war, Vera Gran attempted to restart her career in Israel and in Paris, with modest success including several recordings and a Carnegie Hall performance, but despite her seductive voice, she was dogged by accusations that she had collaborated with the Gestapo.

Agata Tuszynska, one of Poland's leading biographers and writers, sought out Vera Gran in a squalid apartment in Paris and interviewed her over a period of three years, researching Gran's claims and allegations in an attempt to render an account of her life from scraps of memory, refracted through amnesia, paranoia, and delusion. Tuszynska's controversial book, quickly translated into several languages, Vera Gran - The Accused (Knopf, February 2013), is also a subjective account of the author's struggle to work through her own personal relationship to the Warsaw Ghetto as a daughter of Ghetto survivors who only learned of her Jewish heritage in her late teens, as she attempts to get inside the minds of Vera Gran and of her accusers, raising more questions than she answers.

Vera Gran - The Accused will be available from Alfred A. Knopf in bookstores everywhere beginning February 26, 2013, and Agata Tuszynska will be visiting New York; Chicago; Amherst, Massachusetts; and New Britain, Connecticut in late February and early March to meet with readers and sign books. She will also be back in New York April 29-May 5 for the PEN World Voices festival. Check back here for more information as the PEN World Voices schedule falls into place.

Agata Tuszynska's tour for the launch of Vera Gran - The Accused has been organized by the Polish Cultural Institute New York in collaboration with the Chicago Public Library; the Amesbury Professorship in Polish Language, Literature and Culture (U Mass - Amherst); the S.A. Blejwas Endowed Chair in Polish and Polish-American Studies (CCSU), with additional support from the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.

More about Vera Gran - The Accused

Vera Gran sings Tango notturno, 1938

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More about Agata Tuszynska
Detailed tour schedule

January 2018
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