Ognisko will be hosting an event to present one of Poland's top writers, Jacek Dehnel, in conversation with translator Antonia Lloyd-Jones. This is one of several UK events to promote Dehnel’s moving family saga Lala – to be published in June by Oneworld Publishing in Antonia Lloyd-Jones's translation.
Together, author and translator will present Lala, using short extracts and contemporary family photographs to illustrate stories from the life of the heroine of the book, Dehnel’s grandmother, Helena Karpińska, who was born in Kiev in 1919 and died in Gdańsk in 2008. There will also be photographs from the family archive to illustrate stories from the lives of her parents and grandparents, all of whom feature in the book – the rich web of tales told to her grandson by Helena Karpińska, known as Lala, weaves a detailed portrait of life in pre-war, wartime and post-war Poland throughout the 20th century.
The talk will also include extracts from some works of classical music that were important to Helena Karpińska, and that are mentioned in the book.
The audience will also have an opportunity to ask questions, and to buy copies of the book.
Born in 1980, Dehnel is a poet, novelist and translator. In 2005 he was one of the youngest winners of the Kościelski Prize for promising new writers. He has published five volumes of poetry and nine of prose. Lala was his first novel. His second, Saturn, is based on the life of Francisco Goya, and depicts his painful relationship with his son. His third, Mother Makryna, tells the true story of a nineteenth-century fraudster who claimed to be an oppressed Catholic nun. His most recent novel, Krivoklat is the monologue of a lunatic compelled to destroy great works of art. With Piotr Tarczyński he is co-author of three crime novels set in turn-of-the-century Krakow, whose crime-solving heroine is a bored professor’s wife and first-class busybody. These are now being translated into English.
Dehnel's books currently available in English are: the novel Saturn (translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Dedalus Books, 2012) as well as Six Polish Poets, an anthology which he himself edited for Arc Publications (2009), and a volume of his poetry Aperture (translated by Karen Kovacik, Zephyr Press 2018).
Jacek Dehnel’s UK tour has been generously sponsored by Oneworld Publications and the Polish Cultural Institute.