Polish literature

Transatlantyk Prize

Behind the presence of Polish writers in the world stand primarily promoters of our literature in individual countries. Without their passion and hard work, the presence and success of Polish books abroad would simply not have been possible. To honour these great ambassadors of our literature, in 2005 we created a unique Lifetime Achievement Award - Transatlantyk.

Transatlantyk is an annual award granted by the Book Institute to an eminent ambassador of Polish literature abroad. The winner may be a translator, a publisher, a critic, or an animator of cultural life.

The award was presented for the first time in 2005, during the Conference of Polish Literature Translators at the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre. Currently, the award is presented at the turn of May and June in Cracow. The award is worth 10,000 euros; moreover, the winner receives a commemorative certificate and a statuette designed by Łukasz Kieferling.

Previous winners:

2005 - Henryk Bereska (Germany) – originally from Silesia, a prominent translator of Polish literature into German;

2006 - Anders Bodegård (Sweden) – translator and promoter of Polish literature in Sweden, well-known in Poland;

2007 - Albrecht Lempp (Germany) – assisted in Poland's success as an Honorary Guest at the International Book Fair in Frankfurt, translator of, among others, Głowacki and Pilch;

2008 - Ksenia Starosielska (Russia) – translator of the works of Polish prose writers into Russian since 1960s;

2009 - Biserka Rajčić (Serbia) – translator of Polish poets, philosophers, literary scholars; she is an expert of the Polish avant-garde;

2010 - Pietro Marchesani (Italy) – a prominent promoter of the works of Wisława Szymborska in Italy;

2011 - Vlasta Dvořáčková (Czech Republic) –distinguished populariser of Polish poetry in the Czech Republic;

2012 - Yi Lijun (China) – literary scholar, translator of, among others, Dziady (“Forefathers’ Eve”), Trylogia (“Trilogy”), and Zniewolony umysł (“The Captive Mind”);

2013 - Karol Lesman (Netherlands) – expert on Witkacy, he translated the canon of Polish prose into Dutch;

2014 - Bill Johnston (USA) – remarkable expert and promoter of Polish contemporary literature, but also poetical classics of the 19th century; equally contributed to American success of the novels by Myśliwski;

2015 - Laurence Dyèvre (France) – a translator with about sixty translations to her name, mainly Polish contemporary prose, spanning the whole of the 20th century;

2016 - Constantin Geambaşu (Romania) – translator and graduate of Polish philology, with about fifty Polish books published in the most prestigious Romanian publishing houses;

2017 - Lajos Pálfalvi (Hungary) – a literary historian, critic, one of the most prominent translators of Polish literature, with nearly sixty published book translations of Polish fiction, essays, and reportage; a great promoter of the works of Józef Mackiewicz;

2018 - Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Great Britain) - one of the most outstanding translators of Polish literature into English, a great promoter of Polish culture; her achievements include over a hundred translations.

2019 - Hendrik Lindepuu (Estonia) -  one of the most outstanding translators acquainting foreign readers with Polish literature, with over 50 books published in Estonia and 70 theatre plays translated; it is largely thanks to him that contemporary Polish literature is present in Estonia, not only does he translate it, but also publishes it in Hendrik Lindepuu Kirjastus publishing house since 2003.

2020 - Ewa Thompson (Poland) - professor emeritus of Slavic studies at Rice University, where not only did she raise successive generations of Slavicists, but also edited (from 1981 to 2018) the Sarmatian Review periodical; Professor Thompson's particular merits include a monograph on Gombrowicz in English (Boston: Twayne 1979), numerous works on the relations between Poland and Russia, and many years of activity in the Kosciuszko Foundation as part of the exchange programme, which enabled Polish humanists to lecture and promote Polish culture at prestigious American universities.

2021 - Tokimasa Sekiguchi (Japan) - indefatigable promoter of Polish culture in the Land of the Rising Sun. His work for our country has been recognised by the Polish authorities: he has been awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (2020), Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (2009), Silver Medal for Merit to Culture Gloria Artis (2015), to name a few. The complete bibliography of Professor Tokimasa Sekiguchi's translations consists of almost 50 entries.

2022 - Silvano De Fanti (Italy) - most eminent translator of Polish literature into Italian and one of the most indefatigable promoters of Polish language and culture in Italy; he has translated an impressive number of works considered to be classics of Polish literature, both contemporary and 19th century.

2023 - Hatif Janabi (Iraq) - most eminent translator of Polish literature into Arabic, he has translated an impressive number of works considered to be classics of Polish literature; his translations, as well as his critical literary studies, are extremely popular in Arab countries. Dozens of his translations, articles, interviews, and poetic works have appeared in numerous and significant Arabic-language cultural and literary periodicals.

The winner is selected by the Award Jury, composed of eminent literary researchers, cultural animators, translators, and the director of the Book Institute. The Director of the Book Institute invites those to participate in the work of the Jury.

Citizens of other countries (including Poles with foreign passports) may apply for the Award. Applications for the Award may be submitted by Polish and foreign institutions involved in the promotion of culture, research centres, publishing houses, creative associations, and private individuals.

Applications should be sent to the Book Institute (ul. Zygmunta Wróblewskiego 6, PL 31-148 Cracow, fax: +48 12 62 37 682) by phone, fax, or e-mail (Beata Górska, +48 12 61 71 912, b.gorska@instytutksiazki.pl) by March 31st.

Apart from the description of the candidate's merits, the application should contain their address, as well as the applicant's details. In the case of persons previously nominated for the Award, it is enough to repeat the application by e-mail or send an addendum.

Information about the award can be obtained from Beata Górska, (+48 12 61 71 912, b.gorska@instytutksiazki.pl).