Dorota Terakowska was born in Poland in 1938 and works as a journalist for the popular Cracow magazine ‘Przekrój’. She made her debut in 1986 with the children’s fairytale ‘Babci Brygydy szalona podró’ po Krakowie’ (Engl: Grandma Brygida’s Mad Journey through Cracow). Her 1989 short story ‘W∏adca Lewawu’ (Engl: The Ruler of Lewaw) is compulsory reading in Polish schools. During the 1980s Terakowska was actively involved in the illegal publishing scene.
Terakowska’s works can be classified as fantasy literature. They are also very close to the modern fairytale genre, which focuses on the motifs of growing up, initiation or transformation of the main character. Her central characters are outsiders who escape from reality by means of dreams, mental illness, delirium or meditation. Terakowska depicts worlds full of magic and secrets. Pagan gods, witches and black cats, angels and archetypal figures populate her stories. She weaves mysteries and myths, folklore and fairytales into the fabric of the present day.
“I believe in a special form of ever-present magic, in fate and destiny. I believe that when fate gives people something with one hand, […] it takes something with the other. That’s why I never write ‘happily ever after’ endings. For me there is no such thing. […] The happiest ending in my manuscripts is a question mark: perhaps it will work out? […] Then again, perhaps it won’t?”
In 1994 Terakowska’s ‘Córkà Czarownic’ (Engl: The Witches’ Daughter) featured on the IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) honours list. In 1995 a children’s jury honoured her work with the Little Dong Award. She won the Polish IBBY Section’s Book of the Year Award for ‘SamotnoÊç Bogów’ (Engl: The Loneliness of the Gods) in 1998 and for ‘Tam gdzie spadajà anio∏y’ (Engl: Where the Angels Fall) in 1999. ‘Poczwarka’, her latest book, has been published this year.
© international literature festival berlin