“Baśń o wężowym sercu” by Radek Rak in Czech with support from the Book Institute

A translation of Radek Rak's novel Baśń o wężowym sercu albo wtóre słowo o Jakóbie Szeli (”The Tale of the Serpent's Heart or the Second Word about Jakób Szela”) has been published in the Czech Republic. The translation by Michala Benešová was supported by the Book Institute as part of the ©POLAND Translation Programme.

The book Báje o hadím srdci, as reads the title of the Czech translation of the book, was published by the Brno-based Host publishing house.

The novel The Tale of the Serpent's Heart is a fairy-tale fantasy story about the famous leader of the Galician slaughter, Jakub Szela. Published in 2019, the book was very well received by critics and readers alike. For The Tale of the Serpent’s Heart, Radek Rak received the 2020 'Nike' Literary Award, as well as, among others, the Janusz A. Zajdel Award for the best fantasy novel of the year and the 'Nowa Fantastyka' Award in the category ‘Polish Book of the Year’.

Before The Tale of the Serpent’s Heart, which brought the author popularity, Rak published the novels Kocham cię, Lilith (“I Love You, Lilith”, 2014) and Puste niebo (“The Empty Sky”, 2016). In 2022, the book Agla. Alef, and this year Agla. Aurora were published - two parts of a trilogy that the Nike winner is currently working on. Radek Rak is a veterinarian by profession.

As part of the ©POLAND Translation Programme, Michala Benešová also introduced Czech readers to the reportage Izrael już nie frunie (‘Israel No Longer Flies’) and Irak. Piekło w raju (‘Iraq. Hell in Paradise’) by Paweł Smoleński (2013 and 2015, both in tandem with Lucie Zakopalova), Toast za przodków (‘A Toast To The Ancestors’) by Wojciech Górecki (2017), Sprawiedliwi zdrajcy. Sąsiedzi z Wołynia (‘Righteous Traitors. Neighbours from Volhynia’) by Witold Szabłowski (2017), Modlitwa o deszcz (‘Praying for Rain’) by Wojciech Jagielski (2018), Cwaniary (‘The Hustlers) by Sylwia Chutnik (2014), Niesamowite przygody dziesięciu skarpetek (czterech prawych i sześciu lewych) [‘Amazing Adventures of Ten Socks (Four Right and Six Left)’] by Justyna Bednarek (2017), Król (”The King of Warsaw”) by Szczepan Twardoch (2020), and Lód (”Ice”) by Jacek Dukaj (together with Michael Alexa, 2021 for which they were awarded the most prestigious Czech literary award Magnesia Litera in the category of Translation).


The ©Poland Translation Programme is one of the Book Institute's flagship programmes. Its aim is to promote Polish literature around the world by providing financial support for the publication of Polish books in translation into foreign languages. Foreign publishers may use the funding grant to finance part of the work's publication costs, including, among other things, the translation of the work from Polish into another language, the purchase of copyright licences, and the printing of the book. In 2023 alone, we have subsidised 229 foreign editions of Polish books to be published by publishing houses from 46 countries, to which we have allocated almost PLN 5 million. In all editions of the programme, we have already subsidised a total of more than 3,000 translations of Polish books into foreign languages.