22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Marcin Szczygielski

Portrait Marcin Szczygielski
© Ali Ghandtschi

Marcin Szczygielski, born 1972 in Warsaw, is not only known as an author of satirical novels and plays for adults, but also for his children’s and young adult novels, which have received many awards from Polish, Austrian, and German literary competitions. Szczygielski made his début as a young adult author in 2009 with the science fiction novel »Omega«, followed by the adventure-fantasy novel »Za niebieskimi drzwiami« (2010; tr: Behind the Blue Door), which was filmed in 2015 by Mariusz Paleja and excerpts of which were incorporated into Polish language textbooks in 2013. The novel is about little Lukasz, whose mother is in the hospital and whose aunt suddenly shows up, taking him with her. Lukasz finds himself in a run-down inn in the countryside, where he discovers a blue door. Behind it, he finds a magical world with serpent birds and a tailor with magical powers. But the initially peaceful picture changes into a nightmare when his aunt transforms into a spider monster. Now it is up to Lukasz to save her and defeat the evil powers. Szczygielski wrote »Czarny Młyn« (2011; tr: The Black Mill) for the Astrid Lindgren competition; it was voted the best out of 580 total entries that were submitted anonymously. He received the same prize for the novel »Arka Czasu« (2013, tr: Wings of Paper), which was also included in the list of treasures by the children’s book museum. The plot is set in 1942 in the Warsaw ghetto. In a moving and unusually free way, Szczygielski tells the Holocaust story of little Rafal, who lives with his grandfather in the ghetto and whose everyday life is marked by suffering and misery. Rafal can only feel security and peace when he is reading. In doing so, the borders between dream and reality became more and more blurred, and when he is picked up by Nazis after escaping from the ghetto, he experiences in his dream a wondrous rescue by the heroes from his favorite book. »With the temporal distance and the passing of the last eyewitnesses, more and more books and films can be seen that tackle the themes and subject of the Nazi era more playfully and freely…for adult readers, that can be – depending on one’s taste – either an affront or aesthetically appealing, but for children – there is no other way to say it – it is a fascinating and thrilling adventure.« (»WELT«).
Marcin Szczygielski’s books have been translated into German, Russian, Spanish, English, Czech, and Ukrainian and have received numerous national and international awards. His plays have been performed on stages in Poland, the United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic. He has been a member of the Polish writer’s association since 2012. He also works as a graphic designer. Szczygielski lives in Warsaw.