Jerzy Sosnowski

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  • photo by Krzysztof Dubiel / Instytut Książki

Born in 1962, Jerzy Sosnowski is a writer, teacher, radio journalist and newspaper contributor. In the early 1990s he was very active and highly influential as a literary critic, writing for newspapers including Gazeta Wyborcza. He was also developing his academic career as an expert on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Polish literature. Towards the end of the 1990s he gave up both these activities and, after a few years’ silence, in 2001 made a successful debut as a novelist, publishing two books in the same year. The first was a fantasy novel entitled Aglaya’s Apocrypha, and the second was a book of nostalgic reminiscences called Polyhedron. Thanks to these two books, he was almost instantly acclaimed as one of the most interesting prose writers of recent years, which was confirmed when he won the prestigious Kościelski Award for 2001. Jerzy Sosnowski is a faultless stylist who makes skilful use of a wide range of literary conventions, and is able, as in Aglaya’s Apocrypha, to combine science fiction with sensation and melodrama in a masterful way. At the same time he is a very modern prose writer, with a perfect understanding of what today’s reader requires. The best proof of this is offered by his brilliant short stories collected in the volume Night Line. But Sosnowski is also, perhaps above all, a very ambitious writer for whom it is not enough to have his books praised mainly for their technical competence. It was probably some higher aspiration that inspired his comprehensive novel, The Gulf Stream (2003), an impressive work in terms of the issues it raises. As Kinga Dunin wrote about this intriguing book: "Whatever we throw into the sea, the Gulf Stream always brings it back to us, including all the most important questions we can ask. Is the world a bad place, or can we find some meaning in it? Is any meaning possible, if matter is devoid of spirit? How can we live without hope? Are we just animals that perform sexual intercourse, or are we capable of spiritual love? Admittedly, these are very old-fashioned questions, but the Gulf Stream keeps tossing them at our feet. And Sosnowski’s answers go beyond standard expectations."

Bibliography

  • Śmierć czarownicy! Szkice o literaturze i wątpieniu (szkice historycznoliterackie), Warszawa: Semper, 1993.
  • Chwilowe zawieszenie broni. O twórczości tzw. pokolenia „bruLionu” (1986-1996) (krytyka literacka; wespół z J. Klejnockim), Warszawa: Sic!, 1996.
  • Apokryf Agłai (powieść), Warszawa: WAB, 2001.
  • Wielościan (tom prozy), Warszawa: WAB, 2001.
  • Linia nocna. Singles Collection (zbiór opowiadań), Warszawa: WAB, 2002.
  • Prąd zatokowy (powieść), Warszawa: WAB, 2003.
  • Ach (eseje), Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 2005.
  • Tak to ten, Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 2006.
  • Czekanie cudu (eseje), Warszawa: Semper, 2009
  • Instalacja Idziego, Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 2009
  • Spotkamy się w Honolul, Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 2014
  • Co Bóg zrobił szympansom?, Warszawa: Wielka Litera, 2015
  • Sen sów, Warszawa: Wielka Litera, 2016

Translations:

Hungarian:

  • Aglaja apokrif [Apokryf Agłai], trans. Zsuzsa Mihályi, Budapest: Európa K., 2006.

Russian:

  • Apokrif Aglai [Apokryf Agłai], Sankt-Peterburg: Azbuka-Klassika, 2004.
  • Nočnoj maršrut [Linia nocna], Moskva: AST Moskva: Kyzyl: AST, 2005.

Serbian:

  • Stanica i druge priče [Linia nocna], Vršac: Književna Opština, 2003.