“There’s a flame in me that thinks…”
The Laureate will be chosen by a seven member Jury, composed of poets, essayists, translators and publishers: Lidija Dimkovska (Macedonia/Slovenia), Edward Hirsch (USA), Wolfgang Matz (Germany), Jarosław Mikołajewski (Poland), Agneta Pleijel (Sweden), Jaume Vallcorba Plana (Spain) and Tomas Venclova (Lithuania/USA). The selection process will be overseen by the Jury Secretary Andrzej Franaszek – literary critic. The Jury sitting will take place on March 9 in Warsaw.
The aim of the Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award is to recognize outstanding artistic and intellectual literary achievements on the world stage (though especially in the field of poetry) which have a bearing on the world of values towards which Zbigniew Herbert’s work gravitated.
In “Modlitwa Pana Cogito – Podróżnika” (Prayer of the Traveller Mr Cogito) Herbert’s poetic hero asked God, doubtlessly also the author’s plea, to enable him to understand “other people, other languages, other suffering”… explains Maria Dzieduszycka, Executive Director of the Zbigniew Herbert Foundation, the Award organiser. – We want to single out and promote living authors, who apply artistic mastery and thereby strive to achieve exactly such an understanding. Whose works bring their readers, as much a clear appreciation of the pain of the human condition, as of everlasting hope.
What makes this Award absolutely unique amongst other Polish poetry awards is its wide international reach, guaranteed by a Jury composed of eminent world authors and poetry experts.
– This is a unique Award in that it will be conferred on authors from all over the world – underlines Andrzej Franaszek, Jury Secretary. – The main criteria that jurors will be taking into account in choosing the Laureate of the Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award, will – unique natural artistic talent apart – be the artist’s closeness to the very same ideals that were so close to Herbert himself: freedom, courage, memory, compassion, respect and admiration of a world that fills with wonderment.
The first Presentation Ceremony of the Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award will take place on June 3 2013 at the Teatr Polski (Polish Theatre) in Warsaw.
– Zbigniew Herbert is present in the world through the influence that his brilliant poems and essays exert. The Award that bears his name will be one more element of that presence, at once confirmation and discernible proof – summarises Adam Zagajewski, poet, Zbigniew Herbert’s friend, and member of the Foundation Board.
The Zbigniew Herbert Foundation was established in 2010 at the behest of Katarzyna Herbert the poet’s widow. The Foundation’s Mission is to preserve and disseminate Zbigniew Herbert’s creative legacy, as an integral part of the literary and cultural heritage of Poland, Europe and the world.