17th to 19th March Gdańsk will become the poetic heart of Europe. The City Culture Institute will be hosting literary meetings, artistic events and invites everyone to experience the poetry created by our international guests during the International European Poet of Freedom Festival. The climax of the Festival is awarding The City of Gdansk Literary Award The European Poet of Freedom one poet of the seven nominees and his/her Polish translator.


This year’s nominees are: Vanni Bianconi from Italy, Anna Blandiana from Romania, Lidija Dimkovska from Macedonia, Yahya Hassan from Denmark, Daniel Jonas from Portugal, Anikó Polgár from Hungary and Sergei Stratanovski fom Russia. The nominated collections of poems translated by Joanna Wajs, Joanna Kornaś-Warwas, Danuta Cirlić-Straszyńska, Bogusława Sochańska, Michał Lipszyc, Anna Górecka and Adam Pomorski have been published by Słowo/obraz terytoria Publishing House and The City Culture Institute.

Poetry of freedom and freedom of poetry

“If we were to imagine a competition where literary genres compete against each other for freedom in the most complete and competent way, the poetry would most certainly win,” asserts Michał Lipszyc, one of the nominated translators. “The idea of the award originated from the dream of a European community which would be strong not only on the political or economic but also interpersonal level. Literature seems to be the best way to achieve this goal.”


Tadeusz Dąbrowski, artistic director of the Festival (photograph: K. Dubiel for the Book Institute)

“This year’s Festival has drawn artists, scholars and translators who believe art can change the world,” say the organisers of the Festival. Krzysztof Pomian, a philosopher, historian and essayist, is Chairman of the Jury, Andrzej Jagodziński, Czech and Slovakian translator, is Secretary of the Jury. Jurors are Krzysztof Czyżewski, an idea practitioner, essayist and initiator of intercultural events, Paweł Huelle, a writer from Gdańsk and recipient of Polityka’s Passport, Zbigniew Mikołejko, a philosopher of religion, Stanisław Rosiek, a literary historian, Anda Rottenberg, an art historian and critic, and Olga Tokarczuk, a writer and recipient of two Nike awards.

Paweł Passini, a recipient of the Konrad Swinarski Award and nominee for two Polityka’s Passports, will be directing the final gala when the Award will be presented to the winner. Tadeusz Dąbrowski, a poet and literary critic from Gdańsk, is the artistic director of the Festival.


D.A. Powell (Photograph: Poetry Foundation)

D.A. Powell, a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and other prizes, will be the special guest of the debate on the crossing of borders and limitations in art which will commence the Festival.
In his poems D.A. Powell, an American poet born in 1963, discusses a wide range of topics: from cinema, art and other phenomena of modern culture to the AIDS pandemic. As Carl Phillips states, “No fear, here, of heritage nor of music nor, refreshingly, of authority. Mr. Powell recognizes in the contemporary the latest manifestations of a much older tradition: namely, what it is to be human.”

Alongside the nominees for the Award and special guests of the Festival young poets from the Versopolis project will present their works: Paula Bozalongo from Spain, Goran Colakhodžić from Croatia, Veronica Dintinjana from Slovenia, Jonathan Edwards from Great Britain and Gjoko Zdraveski from Macedoniq.


Poets nominated for the European Poet of Freedom Award in 2016:
Yahya Hassan, Denmark;
Lidija Dimkovska, Macedonia,
Daniel Jonas, Portugal,
Sergei Stratanovski, Russia,
Anna Blandiana, Romania,
Anikó Polgár, Hungary,
Vanni Bianconi, Italy.

Jury of the Award: Krzysztof Czyżewski, Paweł Huelle, Andrzej Jagodziński, Zbigniew Mikołejko, Krzysztof Pomian, Stanisław Rosiek, Anda Rottenberg and Olga Tokarczuk.

Organiser: The City of Gdańsk, Instytut Kultury Miejskiej