Some highlights from my two months in Kraków for the UNESCO City of Literature program:

  • Being hosted for the duration of my fellowship at the Villa Decius, alongside residents from New Zealand, Poland, Hungary, Czechia and Slovakia
  • Teaching a six-hour masterclass on sentence-craft at the Kraków Festival Office
  • Taking a private tour of Czesław Miłosz’s apartment, where he spent the last ten years of his life
  • Visiting a beautifully-curated exhibition of curios and ephemera collected by poet and Nobel Prize-winner Wisława Szymborska over the course of her life
  • Going dancing at Massolit Books (a dance party! In a book store!) to celebrate the annual Night of Bookstores
  • Attending the Conrad Festival, including a thought-provoking session with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and witnessing Olga Tokarczuk receive two standing ovations, fresh from her Nobel Prize win
  • Visiting Nowa Huta, a sprawling concrete metropolis just outside of Kraków, built by the Soviet Union as the ideal proletarian city
  • Celebrating Olga Tokarczuk’s Nobel Prize win by planting a tree in her honour — part of a reforestation project undertaken by Kraków City of Literature whereby five hectares of land were planted with 250,000  oak, linden and beech seedlings and will one day become Prawiek Forest
  • Attending the announcement of the annual Conrad Award for a debut novel (and wishing desperately that more Polish books were translated into English!)

Photos taken by me on a Canon AE-1 Program.