UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Literary Awards of the Union of Polish Writers Abroad

8 October 2020

Congratulations to Dr Katarzyna Zechenter, Lecturer in Polish Studies, whose volume 'Tam i tutaj' [Here and there] (Poznan: WBPiCAK 2019), was jointly awarded 'The Best Book of 2019' by The Union of Polish Writers Abroad prize. Paweł Panas, the author of a monograph 'Zagubiony wpośród obcych«. Zygmunt Haupt - pisarz, wygnaniec, outsider' [Lost Among Strangers. Zygmunt Haupt – Writer, Exile, Outsider] shares the award with Dr Zechenter. The Award was established  in 1951 for writers and poets living outside Poland and is the longest uninterrupted award for a Polish writer. The news was covered in the following Polish media: Nowy Dziennik; TVP Polonia; Niezalezna; Tal-Com; and Portal Samorzadowy.

The Jury wrote: "Katarzyna Zechenter is a poet, historian of Polish literature and culture at University College London, and a doctor of humanities from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; she is also the author of the first monograph in English about Tadeusz Konwicki, 'History and Politics in Tadeusz Konwicki's Fiction'. In her academic work, she deals with, among other things, concepts of cultural trauma and Polish-Jewish literature. Her poetic work, which draws on personal experiences, touches upon themes that are close and eternal at the same time: departing, death, evanescence, but also those resulting from the situation of living outside the country, which gives rise to nostalgia and a constant need for self-determination. The humanitarian load of this poetry lies in the tender and friendly treatment of man and nature, in the constant search for goodness and beauty, belonging to the indestructible needs of mankind, regardless of the cruelty of past experiences. In the awarded poetry volume, the poet succeeded in the difficult art of being 'There and Here’."

Tam i tutaj