The inauguration of the 4th edition of the Czesław Miłosz Festival took place in Kėdainiai, Lithuania on 30th June. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the festival events, which were to last a month, were postponed until next year, when the 110th anniversary of the Polish Nobel Prize winner's birthday will be celebrated.
"This festival is unique because we start it today, and we will finish it next year," Rimantas Żirgulis, director of the Kėdainiai Regional Museum, the initiator and organiser of the festival, told the Polish Press Agency (PAP). "We were wondering if, due to the coronavirus, we wouldn’t give up the project at all this year, yet we decided to inaugurate the festival and postpone the festival events until next year," he added.
The festival started on Tuesday with a discussion on "Searching for homelands in native Europe" with the participation of, among others, Tomas Venclova, Lithuanian poet, publicist, friend of both the Polish Nobel Prize winner and the editor-in-chief of "Gazeta Wyborcza", Adam Michnik.
Next year (May 28-30 June) will see further discussions with Lithuanian and Polish researchers of literature, history, Miłosz's work, as well as concerts, meetings, and exhibitions.
"Our festival is interdisciplinary, multicultural, multidimensional, just like Czesław Miłosz was," said Żirgulis. He pointed out that "Miłosz's work is a starting point for us to meet in a wider circle, to deepen our knowledge, and to discuss the contemporary times in which Miłosz's ideas and views are so topical.”
It is no coincidence that the Czeslaw Miłosz Festival takes place in Kėdainiai, a small town with a rich history, located in the centre of the country. It is near Kėdainiai, in Šeteniai, that Miłosz was born and spent his first years of life. Żirgulis reminds us that Miłosz was strongly connected with the land of Kėdainiai, he often returned to it in his works and memoirs.
What is unusual about the current edition of the festival is that the organisers decided to commemorate not only Czesław Miłosz, but also Jerzy Giedroyc, "a great friend of Lithuania, an artist associated with our country, who had a great influence on Miłosz when he lived in Paris".
Traditionally, the Czesław Miłosz Festival in Kėdainiai takes place every two years. It was inspired 10 years ago during the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Czesław Miłosz's birthday in Poland.
[source: PAP, Aleksandra Akińczo]