Between 20 and 22 April, Gdańsk will again become the hub of literary life. This year’s Found in Translation festival, with outstanding literary translators, writers, and dramatists, will focus on translating plays and theatre productions. One of the highlights will be the premiere of a new translation and the first performative reading of Translations, a play by Brian Friel, one of Ireland’s foremost dramatists. Traditionally, the festival will include the official award ceremony of the Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński Translation Awards granted by the Mayor of Gdańsk. 

For the past few editions, the Found in Translation programme board has been composed of translators and organisers of literary events: Justyna Czechowska (Scandinavian languages), Magda Heydel (English), and Urszula Kropiwiec (Spanish). This year, they’re supported by Anna Lewandowska, deputy literary director of Warsaw’s Nowy Teatr. In April, our festival audience may count on the return of their favourite formats of conversations and meetings: writers and their translators or a translation sparring session. The programme also includes interesting lectures, dynamic debates, performative readings, and an original selection of guests. 

Translations by Irish dramatist, author and director Brian Friel – often dubbed ‘the Irish Chekhov’ – was translated from scratch by a team headed by Magda Heydel, PhD: Paulina Kwaśniewska-Urban, Dominika Kardaś, Alicja Halik, Emilia Kurowska, Joanna Sobesto, Barbara Bruks. The partner of the play’s premiere reading, directed by Zdenka Pszczołowska, is the Embassy of Ireland.

fot. Bogna Kociumbas

During this year’s ‘dramatic’ Literary Meetings, we will discuss the different forms and possibilities of translating for the theatre and the relationships between the director, dramatist, and translator. We will also look at contemporary Polish drama and theatre productions translated into sign language. For those wanting to improve their Ukrainian translation skills, there will be a masterclass with Anna Korzeniowska-Bihun. Admission to all events and meetings is free of charge. 

Traditionally, the festival will include the official award ceremony of the Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński Translation Awards granted by the Mayor of Gdańsk. The award is given in two categories: lifetime achievement and translation of a single work. Winners receive a statuette and PLN 50,000 (lifetime achievement) or PLN 30,000 (single work). In 2023, we received 120 competition applications. Winners will be announced in March, selected by the Award Committee, composed of Carlos Marrodán Casas, Anna Korzeniowska-Bihun, Piotr Paziński, Julia Różewicz and Anna Wasilewska (committee chair).

fot. Renata Dąbrowska

‘Found in Translation’ Gdańsk Literary Meetings presents the possibility of looking at literature from a slightly different angle, acting as a springboard to talk about the world and the dynamic changes it undergoes. On the one hand, translations are an intimate confrontation with the text; on the other, a way of building relationships between people, cultures, and art disciplines.

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