For Books’ Sake Talks to Grażyna Plebanek

‘One of the most striking things about Plebanek’s writing is the prominence of strong female characters, and when I bring it up it is evident this is not by accident. I doubt I would find pleasure in creating a female character who would be a victim. Women have been portrayed as such for centuries and I do enjoy the fact that they don’t have to be seen like this anymore,” she replies. Plebanek goes on to explain how she grew up in a family of matriarchal figures. She expresses deep admiration for women who manage “to raise children on their own, to end a toxic relationship, to divorce despite social pressure… to be ‘rebellious’ – meaning not to be a woman, who will put up with anything just to stay a wife. Women like this inspire me, fascinate in their complexity, in their everyday struggle to survive and stay themselves.”’ Read the whole interview on For Books’ Sake.


Grażyna Plebanek was born in Warsaw, Poland. She is the author of the highly acclaimed and bestselling novels Pudełko ze szpilkami (‘Box of Stilettos’, 2002), Dziewczyny z Portofino (‘Girls from Portofino’, 2005) and Przystupa (‘A Girl Called Przystupa’, 2007). Plebanek’s latest novel Illegal Liaisons (Nielegalne związki, 2010) sold 27,000 copies in Poland and will be her first novel translated into English. In 2011 Plebanek was awarded the Literary Prize Zlote Sowy for her contribution to promoting Poland abroad. Plebanek is among a group of international artists whose portraits will be exhibited in Brussels Gare del’Ouest for the next 10 years. She lives in Brussels, Belgium.

Illegal Liaisons, translated by Danusia Stok, was published in October. The novel was voted the Best Book of 2012 by These Little Words.

Find out more about Illegal Liaisons.