The European Poet of Freedom is a multifaceted poetry initiative, encompassing a festival, an award and a publishing series. We will be meeting in Gdańsk between 17 and 20 April for the 8th edition of the event.

The 2024 European Poet of Freedom Festival was programmed by Magdalena Kicińska (reporter and poet) and Małgorzata Lebda (poet and writer). In their own words:

“This year’s festival intends to look at poetry from many directions. Think poetry in action, involved poetry, poetry in translation, poetry as a performative gesture, and, ultimately, poetry as rescue and consolation in our turbulent times, marked by multiple overlapping crises. The event promises to be a time for questions, inquisitive insights and debates. Come to Gdańsk and join our community of conversation, thought and action.”

Our invitation to take part in the event was accepted by the foremost Polish poets, writers, literary critics, philosophers and authors, including Mariusz Szczygieł, Magda Heydel, Jerzy Jarniewicz, Michał Rusinek, Katarzyna Kasia, Jakobe Mansztajn, Małgorzata Halber, Tomasz Różycki, Agnieszka Wolny-Hamkało, and Tomasz Stawiszyński. During the festival, we will also get to personally know the nominees of the European Poet of Freedom Literary Award: Anja Erämaja (Finland), Monika Herceg (Croatia), Mirela Ivanova (Bulgaria), Miriam Van hee (Belgium), Arvis Viguls (Latvia) and their translators: Jerzy Koch, Magdalena Pytlak, Piotr Ruciński, Katarzyna Szal, Miłosz Waligórski, and Aleksandra Wojtaszek.

The programme features debates, meetings and events combining poetry and other arts. Admission to the festival is free of charge. Registration applies for selected events. English interpretation will be provided for the meetings listed below. All stationary events will take place at the City Culture Institute (Targ Rakowy 11, Gdańsk).


Meetings available in English:
17 April
5 p.m. DEBATE Antinomies of Freedom: Karolina Lewestam, Małgorzata Halber, Tomasz Stawiszyński. Moderator: Katarzyna Kasia
7 p.m. MASTER LECTURE Poetry of Freedom: Mariusz Szczygieł

18 April
10.30 a.m. POETRY FOR BREAKFAST: Lyubov Yakimchuk (Ukraine), Pernilla Berglund (Sweden). Moderator: Marta Pilarska

20 April
12 noon MEETING Telling the World through Poems: Marianna Kiyanovska (Ukraine). Moderator: Justyna Sobolewska
2 p.m. DEBATE Translating Poetry. Meeting with the translators of volumes shortlisted for the EPF Award: Jerzy Koch, Magdalena Pytlak, Piotr Ruciński, Katarzyna Szal, Miłosz Waligórski, Aleksandra Wojtaszek. Moderator: Michał Choiński

The festival will culminate with the official gala of the European Poet of Freedom Literary Award of the City of Gdańsk. In 2024, the award goes to Croatian poet Monika Herceg and her translator Aleksandra Wojtaszek.


Six poetry books were shortlisted for this year’s edition of the Award finale:
Darko Cvijetić, The snow was doing everything not to fall, translated from Croatian into Polish by Miłosz Waligórski
Anja Erämaja, The Singer’s Papers, translated from Finnish into Polish by Katarzyna Szal
Monika Herceg, Closed Season, translated from Croatian into Polish by Aleksandra Wojtaszek
Mirela Ivanova, Seven. Poems with Biographies, translated from Bulgarian into Polish by Magdalena Pytlak
Miriam Van hee, Loss of Time. Poems from 1996-2022, translated from Dutch into Polish by Jerzy Koch
Arvis Viguls, Flea Circus. Poetry 2017-2020, translated from Latvian into Polish by Piotr Ruciński


The EPF is organised by the City of Gdańsk and the Urban Culture Institute
Partners: Versopolis, Nurty. Księgarnia IKM, Festiwal Miłosza, Rok Miłosza, Wydawnictwo Znak, Latvian Literature, Finnish Literature Exchange
Media patrons: Pismo. Magazyn opinii, Książki. Magazyn do czytania, tró, Prestiż. Magazyn trójmiejski, Czas Literatury

The festival was co-funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage from the Cultural Promotion Fund.