Celebrating the publication of Tadeusz Różewicz’s Mother Departs
In March we published Mother Departs by the Polish literary giant Tadeusz Różewicz in a remarkable new translation by Barbara Bogoczek. This Saturday on 25 May we are celebrating the publication with a grand event: ‘Mum, Dad, I’m a Poet’ at the Southbank Centre during the London Literature Festival.
Last weekend, during a visit to Barbara’s lovely house, drinking tea with Polish honey and lemon, we spent two hours talking about the event which had been planned months in advance with our great friend Magda Raczyńska, Head of Literature, at Polish Cultural Institute in London.
And what a remarkable group of people we will have on the stage: celebrated northern Irish poet Tom Paulin; George Szirtes, whose translation of the Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai’sSatantango was longlisted for the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and won the 2013 Best Translated Book Award; Katy Carr, British singer nominated for the Best Artist for the Songlines Music Awards 2013; and two very special guests who are coming especially for the event from Poland. Jan Peszek, one of the greatest and most loved Polish theatre actors and his daughter, Maria Peszek, notorious actress/singer and voice of her generation.Chairing the event we have the wonderful Sophie Mayer, a writer and educator.
When we were planning the event the obvious question was about the language. Różewicz’s beautiful prose and poetry is an unforgettable and very emotional experience, whether you read it aloud or in your heart. And so we decided the event will take in two languages: English and Polish. There is no doubt that to hear Różewicz’s Mother Departs come alive on stage in both languages is going to be once-in-a-lifetime experience.
As one of our followers on Twitter put it:
Although we suspected Tadeusz Różewicz, now in his early 90s, would not be able to attend the event due to his health, James Runcie, the Head of Literature and the Spoken Word at Southbank Centre, was full of contagious enthusiasm and encouragement to go ahead. ‘The greatest risk is to play safe,’ he said in a recent interview in the Guardian and we are grateful to have somebody like James running the show at Southbank Centre. James could not pick a better day for the event, 25 May. A day after, on Sunday 26 May is Mother’s Day in Poland.