23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Krzystof Niewrzêda

Krzysztof Niewrzeda, poet, novelist, essayist and political and social commentator, was born in 1964 in the Polish town of Szczecin, where he studied at the Technical University in the eighties.  In that time, his first poems were published in the periodical ‘Morze i Ziemia’ (1985).  He also played music with progressive Underground bands in Szczecin. Since 1989 he has been living in Germany.

In Bremen Niewrz´da first worked in an architects office and wrote for magazines written in Polish and published in Germany.  In 1997 he was honoured with the ‘Silver Pegasus’ in a European competition for Polish poems abroad.  Since that time his poems and stories have also appeared in Polish magazines.  From 1997 to 1999 he was a member of the interdisciplinary artists group ‘NAS-TU’.

While he was still in Bremen, Niewrz´da wrote his debut novel ‘poszukiwanie ca∏oÊci’ which was published in 1999.  The novel tells episodically the story of a married couple who set off on the way to emigration to the West.  Beginning with the arduous journey through many different stages, for example a reception camp and hostel, the reader can follow the allegorical drama which is part of this process.  Even when one gets an idea the action is set in Germany, time and place remain undefined, everything is concentrated on actual events in which both characters become involved.  The journey from here to there, from East to West is not a case study, rather it conveys what it means to emigrate.

According to a Polish review, “his book gives hope that the mould is being broken in which Polish literature has been since 1990 […].”  “What is striking is the special language of the author.  He writes in a slim and compact style, nevertheless full of poetry.  Niewrz´da can be as specific as the authors of British social cinema are.  It is not a question of political commitment, but of a watchful eye.” (Katarzyna Szumiewicz).

Niewrz´da has published three volumes of poems: ‘w poprzek’ (1998), ‘poplàtanie’ (1999) and ‘pop∏och’ (2000) which were compared stylistically by the critics with the works of Zbigniew Herbert or Tadeusz Róêewicz.  These tell in a nonchalant language of people in the border area – which is understood geographically as well as culturally, politically as well as physically: of people on the move who never arrive.

Since 2001 Niewrz´da has been living in Berlin and is a contributor to the literary magazine ‘Pogranicza’ which is published in Poland.  Here the author regularly publishes essays about Berlin, short literary portraits of his chosen home.

© international literature festival berlin


W po pr zek
Ksiaźnica Pomorska
Szczecin, 1998

Ksiaźnica Pomorska
Szczecin, 1999

Poszukiwanie calości
I. W. Świadectwo
Bydgoszcz, 1999

Ksiaźnica Pomorska
Szczecin, 2000

Czas przeprowadzki
Szczecin, 2005

Übersetzer: Ulrich Heiße, Wolfgang Schlott, Natasza Stelmaszyk