Wojciech Kuczok [Poland] 


© Piotr Dobrzeniecki

© Piotr Dobrzeniecki

Guest 2017


Opowieści słychane

Zielona Sowa

Kraków, 1999

Im Kreis der Gespenster


Frankfurt a. M., 2006

[Ü: Friedrich Griese]



Frankfurt a. M., 2007

[Ü: Gabriele Leupold u. Dorota Stroinska]

Höllisches Kino


Frankfurt a. M., 2008

[Ü: Gabriele Leupold u. Dorota Stroinska]

Moje projekcje. Lęki i pragnienia widza kinowego


Warschau, 2009



Berlin, 2010

[Ü: Renate Schmidgall]

Proszę mnie nie budzić


Warschau, 2016


Wojciech Kuczok was born in the Polish town of Chorzów in 1972. He studied at the University of Silesia in Katowice and worked for the weekly newspaper »Tygodnik Powszechny« and the monthly publications »Res Publica Nowa« and »Kino«. He has also written poetry and prose.

In 1999, his collection of stories »Opowieści slychane« (tr. Heard-of stories) was nominated for the »Nike Award«, the most prestigious literature prize in Poland. Four years later, he received the Nike for his first novel »Gnój« (2003; Eng. »Muck«, 2007). This drastic depiction of a family (»Family K.«) from Upper Silesia presents a bleak and vicious circle of bigotry, joylessness and brutality; in the first section, »Back then«, the author sketches a kind of prequel, and in the following section, »Next«, a first person narrator recounts his childhood solely in terms of humiliation, particularly at the hands of his abusive father (»Old K.«). In the final section, »After«, the protagonist is utterly destroyed and speaks only of a fantasy of revenge in which the house is flooded with slurry, ultimately collapsing with the hated family members inside. Using concise portrayals, striking images and coherent dialogue, the author creates episodes that effectively combine seriousness with humor, mockery with melancholy, tragedy with comedy, distance with empathy, and explicitness with ambiguity. Kuczok is an outstanding stylist who captivates readers with subtle and melodic word compositions; indeed, his writing is often compared to that of Witold Gombrowicz. Kuczok wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of »Gnój«, which was renamed »Pręgi« (»The Welts«, 2004), which received first prize at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Kuczok’s »Widmokrąg« (2004; tr. In the sphere of ghosts) depicts the sinister side of love in five short stories and four even shorter stories termed »interludes«. In his 2007 essay »Bemerkungen über den katholischen Nationalismus« (tr. Observations on Catholic nationalism), he wrote a lucid critique of bigotry and nationalism in Poland that was published in German in the journal »Sprache im technischen Zeitalter« (tr. Language in the age of technical reproduction). In »To piekielne kino« (2006; tr. Hellish cinema), Kuczok provides an articulate cultural critique of the shallowness of »pop cinema« in a collection of fifteen essays on scandalous films by directors such as Pasolini, Haneke, von Trier and Greenaway. In it, he defends these directors for transgressing boundaries and breaking taboos in the areas of death, sexuality and violence. Kuczok’s novel »Senność« (2008; tr. Lethargy) focuses on three individuals who decide to break out of their lethargy and change their lives; this setting gives Kuczok the opportunity to portray a shattered Poland in the Kaczynski era. He also wrote the screenplay for this novel.

The author lives in Krakow and Chorzów.