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© Adam Golec

ANDRZEJ STASIUK (b. 1960) is one of the leading lights of contemporary Polish literature. His work - primarily prose fiction and essays - examines the realities of life in Poland after 1989 while articulating a uniquely Central European perspective on the world, one marked by its ambivalent position between Western Europe and the periphery. In this, Stasiuk shares as much with the Polish tradition of reportage, with writers like Ryszard Kapuscinski, for instance, as he does with other acknowledged forebears such as the Polish cult author Marek Hlasko or the American beat writer Jack Kerouac.

Stasiuk has published over a dozen books and won numerous prizes, including the prestigious NIKE Award in 2005 for On the Road to Babadag (tr. Michael Kandel, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2011), and he has been translated into over 20 languages.

Born in 1960, Stasiuk was dismissed from secondary school, drifted through a succession of odd jobs, joined the Polish pacifist movement, and was drafted into the army, from which he deserted (as legend has it, in a tank) and spent a year and a half in prison - an experience that provided the material for his first novel, The Walls of Hebron (1992). Shortly after it came out, he moved from Warsaw to a village in the Beskid mountains in southern Poland, the setting of Tales of Galicia (tr. tr. Margarita Nafpaktitis, Twisted Spoon 2003) and Dukla tr. Bill Johnston, Dalkey Archive 2012),where he and his wife, Monika Sznajderman, run the publishing house Czarne. Other works that have appeared in English include Stasiuk's collection of travel essays, Fado (tr. Bill Johnston, Dalkey Archive 2009), and his novel Nine (tr. Bill Johnston, Harcourt 2007).

Despite living at the edges of the country, Stasiuk is very much a public figure in Poland and regularly takes part in debates about the most central political and cultural concerns, such as the country's decision in 2003 to send troops to Iraq or the recent publication of the controversial biography of Ryszard Kapuscinski, by Artur Domoslawski.
November 2019
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