Stefan Chwin

Stefan Chwin (1949) is one of the most acclaimed living Polish novelists and essayists, as well as a literary scholar and historian. Stefan Chwin also writes adventure-fantasy tales for younger readers and illustrates them himself. He lives in Gdansk and teaches literature at the Department of Polish of Gdansk University. His literary reputation was cemented by the series of so-called Gdansk novels, including Death in Danzig (Hanemann) and Esther, which received numerous literary awards including one of the most prestigious literary awards in Germany, the Andreas Gryphius Prize in 1999. His other books include The Brief History of a Certain Joke: Scenes from East-Central Europe and The Golden Pelican. His work has been translated into English and German. Stefan Chwin serves on the jury of Poland’s Nike literature prize.

All Quiet on the Western Front

Has Poland made it to the West?  Following the attacks on the Hungarian Nobel Prize laureate in literature, Imre Kertész, Eastern and Central Europe is wondering how western it really is. Is Poland part of Europe? Has it made it to the West?  These questions keep coming up again and again.  Yet they are regarded almost as an affront on the Vistula. The Poles have always considered themselves Europeans. Writers and intellectuals have been saying so for decades:  Poland has to return to Europe where it has always belonged culturally.  Sympathies for the West have always been strong here.  At […]

The Mystery Of a Mass Grave

An excerpt from Roman Daszczyński’’s interview with writer Stefan Chwin prompted by the recent discovery, in the northern Polish fortress city of Malbork, of a mass grave from the final days of World War II. When the grave was discovered as foundations were being laid for a new hotel, the local authorities’’ initial reaction was to cover up the burial site of nearly 2,000 Germans and keep building the hotel. However, heavy rains washed up more human bones, prompting an international scandal (for more information click here and here). Stefan Chwin:  – If at all technically possible, the bones should […]

God must have parachuted him to Earth

These days Wałęsa is a non-person even if his face pops up on television from time to time. In today’s Poland the erstwhile Polish leader has been turned into an instrument in the war of politics. Wałęsa can be used to lash out at the Kaczyńskis or to compromise Tusk’’s team. Very few people care about who Wałęsa was or who he is today.  Only one hard question is heard in Poland today: Are you on Wałęsa’’s side, i.e. on ours, or are you against Wałęsa, i.e. against us? Or: Are you on Wałęsa’’s side, i.e. you are against us, […]