Witold Szabłowski (b. Ostrów Mazowiecka, Poland, 1980) is a journalist known for his in-depth reportage from the edges of the European Union. Before he began working for Poland's leading independent newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, and its longform supplement Duży Format, he worked at the TVN 24 television station and CNN Türk. A graduate of the Department of Journalism and Political Science at Warsaw University, Szabłowski has also studied Political Science in Istanbul, where he got to know Turkey inside-out.
As a reporter, he incessantly asks difficult questions: he talked to the family of Ali Agca, joined forces with British Al Jazeera to prepare a program on post-communist political vetting in Poland, hitchhiked through Kosovo, and scoured Turkish bazaars tracing the story of the shoe that the Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi threw at George W. Bush.
Szabłowski has received a number of important awards for his collection of reportage from Turkey, Zabójca z miastamoreli (The Assassin From Apricot City), including a 2011 nomination for the NIKE prize, Poland's highest literary award. In 2008, he was the recipient of the Melchior Wańkowicz Award for "drawing upon the best models of reportage, and showcasing the unknown face of Turkey". In the same year, his report on Turkish honor killings, "To z miłości, siostro" ("It's Out of Love, Sister"), received an honorary mention at the Amnesty International competition for articles concerning human rights. In 2010, Szabłowski received the European Parliament Journalism Award for his reportage "Dziśprzypłynątudwatrupy" ("Today Two Bodies Will Wash Ashore") on the issue of immigrants trying to illegally enter the European Union through the "purgatory of Istanbul."
More recently, he published, with Izabela Meyza, Naszmały PRL (Our Little Polish People's Republic: Six Months in a Three-room Apartment with a Perm, a Moustache, and a Polish Fiat), a book on an experiment he conducted with his partner, attempting to live as their family did under Communism.
The Assassin From Apricot City (Stork Press, Nov 2013)
Synopsys: Witold Szabłowski's reportage from Turkey collected in this volume, published originally in Poland in 2010, is counted among the best Polish compilations in this genre of the past few years. The Polish school of literary reportage, following in the tradition of Ryszard Kapuściński, is particularly known for the way that these journalists, such as Wojciech Jagielski, Mariusz Szczygieł, Wojciech Tochman, and Jacek Hugo-Bader, use the techniques of fiction to convey a heightened sense of the truth, and Witold Szabłowski has revealed himself to be a master of this approach at a relatively young age.
The stories assembled in The Assassin from Apricot City paint – as some reviewers have noted – "a multi-layered story of Turkey torn between East and West, between Islam and Islamophobia, suffused with conservatism and post-modernity, longing for Europe while at the same time displaying a healthy dose of Euro-skepticism. In each of Szabłowski's tales someone's fate hangs in balance, every one of his subjects has a chance to tell his story, often surprised at his own sudden courage to do so, fostered by the Polish reporter."
Translator: Antonia Lloyd-Jones is the first translator to be named for a second time in 2013 as winner of the Found in Translation Award, presented by the Polish Book Institute in Kraków, and the Polish Cultural Institutes of New York and London for the quality of her translations, but also for her extraordinary productivity. The culmination of her diligent work brought seven books by Polish authors into print in English in 2012. She had previously won the award for her translation of The Last Supper, by Pawel Huelle (Serpent's Tail, 2008). Lloyd-Jones, who studied Russian and Greek at Oxford University, has translated, among others, several novels of Pawel Huelle and Olga Tokarczuk, stories by JaroslawI Waszkiewicz, non-fiction works by Andrzej Szczeklik, Ryszard Kapuscinski, Wojciech Jagielski and Wojciech Tochman, detective novels by Zygmunt Miloszewski, poetry by Tadeusz Dabrowski, and more recently children's books. She is based in London.
Image © Albert Zawada/Agencja Gazeta
The Assassin From
by Witold Szablowski
In the global village, there is no such thing as two countries without any common areas.
PARTNER INSTITUTIONS: The festival is organized by the New York branches of the Austrian Cultural Forum, Czech Center, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Goethe-Institut, Hungarian Cultural Center, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Polish Cultural Institute, Romanian Cultural Institute, and Instituto Cervantes, within the framework of EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture), in collaboration with the Center for Fiction, Melville House, the New York Public Library, McNally Jackson, InTranslation (The Brooklyn Rail) and Words Without Borders.