Maciej Płaza the first Polish writer to win Angelus Central European Award



Angelus Central European Literature Award is the most important Polish award in the field of creative prose written by Central European writers and published in Poland. For the first time in the thirteen years of Angelus, the prize went to a Polish writer, Maciej Płaza, author of Robinson w Bolechowie [Robinson in Bolechów], published by W.A.B. The winner received the award from mayor of Wrocław Rafał Dutkiewicz during the gala at Capitol Music Theatre.

This year’s winner was selected by the following jurors: Mykola Riabchuk (chairman), Prof. Marcin Cieński, Irek Grin, Prof. Krzysztof Koehler, Prof. Małgorzata Szpakowska, Prof. Piotr Śliwiński and Prof. Maciej Urbanowski. Maciej Płaza received a cheque for 150 000 PLN and a statuette designed by Ewa Rossano. The award is funded by the city of Wrocław.

About the winner of Angelus 2018:
Maciej Płaza (born 1976 in Sandomierz, lives in Poznań) is a prose writer and translator, he holds a Ph.D. in humanities. Author of a book on Stanisław Lem, winner of Literatura na świecie translation award for his translation of H.P. Lovecraft’s short stories. For his debut, a short story collection entitled Skoruń (W.A.B. 2015), he received Gdynia Literary Prize (2016) and the Kościelski Award (2016). Skoruń was also a finalist in Nike 2016 competition and was nominated to Gombrowicz Award. Robinson w Bolechowie is his second book.

About Robinson w Bolechowie:
The novel tells a family story which begins right before the outbreak of the second world war. The count of Bolechów, owner of a palace and a collection of art, carefully hides his priceless treasures to save them from the occupant. When the count is killed by a Nazi, the next guardian of the collection becomes the palace gardener…

Since 2010, apart from the best book, the jury awards also the best translation with the prize of 20 000 PLN. Until now, the prize always went to the translator of the winning book. This year, as a Polish book received the main prize, the jury selected one of the nominated translations. Angelus for the best translation was received by Elżbieta Sobolewska for her work on A Book of Memories by Péter Nádas.

Sobolewska graduated from Hungarian philology at the University of Warsaw, she’s an eminent translator and promotor of Hungarian Literature. She translated, among others, works by László Krasznahorkai, Imre Kertész and Péter Esterházy. She also published many articles on Hungarian literature in leading Polish periodicals. She received the Milán Füst award for her translation work. She lives in Warsaw.

The third award presented during the Angelus gala was the Natalya Gorbanevskaya Readers’ Award. It commemorates Natalya Gorbanevskaya, a Russian poet and journalist who died in 2013, the first chairperson of the Angelus jury. The winner is selected by readers in an internet voting. This year, the verdict of the readers was the same as of the jury, and the most votes were secured by the book Robinson w Bolechowie by Maciej Płaza.

Other books nominated to Angelus Central European Literature Award are the following: Na krásné modré Dřevnici [Burying the Season] by Antonín Bajaja, transl. into Polish by Dorota Dobrew, Po trochu [Bit by bit] by Weronika Gogola, Hostel Nomadów [Nomad’s hostel] by Artur Nowaczewski, Kruso by Lutz Seiler, transl. Into Polish by Dorota Stroińska, and Czarna ikona. Biełomor. Kanał Białomorski. Dzieje. Ludzie. Słowa [Black icon. Biełmor. The White Sea Canal. History. People. Words] by Marian Sworzeń.