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June 2017
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WIESLAW MYSLIWSKI
Photo © Tomasz Sikora

Wieslaw Mysliwski, novelist, essayist, and playwright, was born in 1932 in the village of Dwikozy in southeastern Poland, near the city of Sandomierz. He is the leading figure of the "peasant current" in postwar Polish literature, elevating the language of the countryside to the measure of the epic, recounting the clash of old ways with the forces of war, history, and technological progress.


His early novel The Palace (1970), in which a shepherd explores the palace of his master following a bombing during an unspecified war, appeared in an English translation by Ursula Phillips in 1991 and was made into a film. His magisterial novel, Stone Upon Stone translated by Bill Johnston in 2011, is considered a masterwork of Polish postwar literature.


In an era of writers much better known outside of Poland, he is the only writer to have twice won Poland's highest literary award, the NIKE Prize, in 1996 for Widnokrag (The Horizon) and in 2006 for Traktat o luskaniu fasoli (A Treatise on Shelling Beans). In 2011 he received the Golden Sceptre award for lifetime achievement in the arts joining such luminaries as Stanislaw Lem, Roman Polanski, Slawomir Mrozek, composers Wojciech Kilar and Krysztof Penderecki, and poet Tadeusz Rozewicz.