Anja Golob (Slovenia), Kateryna Kalytko (Ukraine), Marianna Kijanowska (Ukraine), Luljeta Lleshanaku (Albania) i Petr Hruška (Czech Republic), those are the nominated poets for the Gdansk European Poet of Freedom 2022 Literary Prize. Awarded since 2010, it has found a permanent place on the European map of literary distinctions, and for Polish audiences, its importance is also associated with the unique publishing series built around the EPoF, offering translations of the best contemporary European poetry.

The jury of the European Poet of Freedom Award worked online in composition of Krzysztof Czyzewski (chairman), Anna Czekanowicz, Pawel Huelle, Zbigniew Mikolejko, Stanislaw Rosiek, Anda Rottenberg, Beata Stasinska, Olga Tokarczuk. Andrzej Jagodzinski is the secretary of the jury.

The organisers received 20 entries, representing all the languages ​​selected for this edition and containing excellent poems. Hence, the jury had an extremely difficult choice. After long discussions, the decision has been made – five poets were nominated: Anja Golob from Slovenia, Kateryna Kalytko and Marianna Kijanowska from Ukraine, and Luljeta Lleshanaku from Albania, and last but not least, the only man in this group, Czech poet, Petr Hruška.

  • These five poets are united by the titular freedom, however in each case it has different dimensions and shades, and poets themselves have different sensitivity and use different poetics. In those proposals, one can find terse and at the same time sophisticated observations of the world that we do not understand, search for freedom in life and art, contemplations about freedom and identity, sensual poetry about personal freedom or very moving reflections on freedom based on tragic historical events. Regardless of who from the nominated five will become the next European Poet of Freedom in the spring next year, we can be sure that Polish poetry readers will receive five excellent volumes – Andrzej Jagodzinski, Secretary of the Jury of the Award comments.

Registrations for the Award could have been made by translators, publishing houses and other poetry publishers. In accordance with the regulations, this edition took into account the works of poets writing in the following languages and their various forms and dialects: Albanian, Czech, Estonian, German and Upper and Lower Sorbian languages, Polish and Kashubian, Norwegian and the Sami (Sami) languages and the Queni language, the Slovenian language, the Ukrainian language. Laureates of the Gdansk Literary Award will receive PLN 100,000 (poets) and PLN 20,000 (translators).

Nominated for the Literary Award of the Gdansk European Poet of Freedom 2022

Anja Golob (Slovenia) translated by Milosz Biedrzycki and Marlena Gruda

– Anja Golob’s poems show a man in situations “in between”, in apparently absent texts, scenes – seemingly the least significant, in stage directions. Author exposes language imperfections, its shortcomings, and at the same time draws attention to its instrumental role and the logical potential to achieve full freedom – Marlena Gruda and Milosz Biedrzycki, translators who submitted the poet’s candidacy describe.

Anja Golob (born 1976) – poet, translator, publicist, co-founder and editor-in-chief of VigeVageKnjige publishing house that specialises in comic books and graphic novels. She reguraly publishes colums in Večer, Slovene daily newspaper, and in studio city, a TV show on national television. Occasionaly she also works as a dramaturg for theatre and dance performances. So far, she has published 4 poetry books in Slovenian and one in German (in collaboration with Nikolai Vogel).

Her poems have been translated into English, Bulgarian, Czech, French, Spanish, Macedonian, German, Polish, Rhaeto-Romanic and Serbian. Golob is a two-time winner of the central Slovenian Simon JenkO Poetry Prize, also received an award from Slovenian Literary Critics Association. She studied philosophy and comparative studies at the University of Ljubljana. She lives and works in Ljubljana and Brussels.

Kateryna Kalytko (Ukraine) translated by Aneta Kaminska

– Freedom in this book includes: “Freedom to feel fear – like the liberty to take a dog in, / drink wine on the roof, start the book from the end, / think of love as crystal in veins, / refuse to let the doctor / saw your mistletoe off. ” These subtle, surreal poems are incredibly sensual. One can almost palpably feel a breeze in them, the chill of snow, the sour taste of lemon. They are delicate, full of amazing images and metaphors, and at the same time extremely strong – with power of a conscious woman who creates and protects what she loves, like a she-wolf – we read in the recommendation from Aneta Kaminska.

Kateryna Kalytko (born 1982) – poet, prose writer and translator. She comes from Vinnitsa, Ukraine. Author of several poetry and prose books. Winner of many important literary awards, incl. Vilenica Crystal in Slovenia (2016), Joseph Conrad-Korzeniowski Award of the Polish Institute in Kiev (2017), BBC Books Of The Year (2017), LitAkcent Of The Year (2014, 2018, 2019), UNESCO City of Literature Award (2019) and Women in Arts of the Ukrainian Institute and UN Women (2019). She is a translator and popularizer of contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina’s literature. She has published translations of books by authors such as: Miljenko Jergovi, Emir Kusturica, Nenad Velikovi, Mileta Prodanovi, Uglješa Šajtinac, Ozren Kebo, Meša Selimovi. She received the award of the Kurjer Krywbasu magazine and the METAPHORA distinction for her translations. She belongs to the Ukrainian PEN Club.

Marianna Kijanowska (Ukraine) translated by Adam Pomorski

– Kijanowska has published 12 volumes of poetry so far (including a volume of collected poems). The last one, “Babi Yar. In harmony” (2017), brought the author the Taras Shevchenko award, the biggest national prize in Ukraine. The volume consists of 64 poems. The concept – deeply experienced – of giving the floor to the victims of Babi Yar, the place of martyrdom of tens of thousands of Kiev Jews, who were shot here in 1942 by the SS, in cooperation with Ukrainian collaborative units, was probably born not without the influence of reading Polish poets – describes Adam Pomorski in his application for the Award.

Marianna Kijanowska (born 1973) – poet, translator, author of literary sketches and artistic prose. She belongs to the generation that took up literary work in the 1990s, in an once more independent Ukraine. In Lviv, she was active in the Ukrainian Writers’ Association which was established in 1996, and she also belongs to the Ukrainian PEN Club. In 2003, she stayed in Warsaw as a GAUDE POLONIA scholar, participated in literary festivals and artistic actions around in Poland. She shone through virtuoso translations of Tuwim’s poems for children and excellent, innovative translations by Lesmian. In addition to numerous press publications – including the permanent column “New Polish Literature” in the newspaper “Kurjer Krywbasu” – she published separate volumes of translations from Polish contemporary poets (including Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki and Adam Wiedemann).

Luljeta Lleshanaku (Albania) translated by Dorota Horodyska

– In two collections of poetry by Luljeta Lleshanaku, “Almost yesterday” [Pothuajse dje] and “Homo Antarcticus”, from which 8 poems which were selected for the competition presentation come from, the dominant theme is the relationship between freedom and identity. This relationship is becoming more and more important for a man living in the 21st century in the conditions of the rapid development of communication technologies, and thus, in the extreme democratisation of this communication, exposing an individual to a previously unknown degree – we read in the recommendation of Dorota Horodyska.

Luljeta Lleshanaku (born 1968) – poet, journalist, translator, screenwriter. She graduated from Albanian philology from the University of Tirana. Since 1994, she has published 8 volumes of poems in Albanian. Her work has been published in Austria, Croatia, France, Spain, Poland, the United States, Great Britain and Italy. As part of the second edition of EPoF in 2011, her collection “Children of nature” [Femijët e natyrës; crowd. Dorota Horodyska] was released in Poland. Lleshanaku is a laureate of several literary awards, including: Crystal Vilenice 2009 – award of the International Literary Festival in Slovenia (before her, no Albanian artist has been honored with this distinction); Silver Pen 2000 – the highest Albanian literary distinction awarded by the Ministry of Culture; Author of the Year 2013 – Tirana Book Fair award; the Albanian Kult 2013 award; Author of the Year 2013 (poetry) – Pristina Book Fair award; PEN Albania 2016. Luljeta Lleshanaku currently acts as Research Director at the Institute for Research on Crimes and Consequences of Communism in Tirana. She also does lectures at the Marubi Film and Multimedia Academy in Tirana.

Petr Hruška (Czech Republic) translated by Dorota Dobrew

– Petr Hruška’s poems arise from the observation of – seemingly devoid of poetry – everyday life. Their basis is perception that is sensual, in particular visual and auditory, of the intimate human micro-world in the surrounding – and suffocating – ruthless post-industrial reality. The work of Petr Hruška is concise and deprived of stylistic ornaments, as if balancing on the verge of poetry. Poems full of ordinary human affairs seem to be simple messages, but in fact it is a sophisticated, intellectual poetry hidden in balanced, insightful and original images – describes Dorota Dobrew.

Petr Hruška (born 1964) – Czech poet, screenwriter, historian and literary theorist. An engineer by education. He lives in Ostrava, works at the Czech Academy of Sciences and as a university lecturer. He is the author of several collections of poetry. He received the State Prize in the field of literature for his book “Darmata” (2012). He is also a laureate of several other prestigious awards, incl. Jan Skácel and Dresdener Lyrikpreis Award. He is the author of two monographs: “Někde tady. Český básnik Karel Šiktanc ”[Somewhere here. The Czech poet Karel Šiktanc; 2010] and “Far to nieho. Básník Ivan Wernisch ”[Far to nothing. The poet Ivan Wernisch; 2019]. He also writes short prose, essays and literary sketches. His works have been translated into many languages. The Mikolowski Institute has published two volumes of poetry by Petr Hruška, translated by Franciszek Nastulczyk: “Residential anxieties” (2011) and “Darmata” (2017).

Previous laureates of Gdansk Literary Prize European Poet of Freedom: 2010 – Uladimir Arlow (Belarus) translated by Adam Pomorski; 2012 – Durs Grünbein (Germany) and his translator Andrzej Kopacki; 2014 – Dorta Jagić (Croatia) and her translator Malgorzata Wierzbicka; 2016 – Ana Blandiana (Romania) and her translator Joanna Kornas-Warwas; 2018 – Linda Vilhjálmsdóttir (Iceland) and her translator Jacek Godek; 2020 – Sinéad Morrissey (Ireland) and her translator Magda Heydel. More about the Award:

European Poet of Freedom Festival and Award

Organizer: City Culture Institute, City of Gdańsk.