Wojciech Nowicki (b. 1968) is a Polish essayist, journalist, critic, translator and photographer. Until recently he was little known outside his native country. However, the publication of a first English translation of his work, Salki (2017, translated by Jan Pytalski), allowed Nowicki to reach a wider audience.
‘Salki’ is Polish for an attic room where personal objects are stored. In Salki, we follow the train of thought of a man who, while at a writers’ conference in Sweden, meditates on his travels through Eastern Europe. He conjures up memories of the trips he made and thinks of his trauma-rich family history. Personal tales and the history of Eastern Europe are thus interwoven. It is through words and language that he can evoke memories and can get a grip on them. Nowicki thereby gives the reader a reflection on memories and text. The novel is difficult to pigeonhole in a particular genre, and bears traces of travel writing but also of the memoir and of poetic realism. The five chapters can be read as five essays. Salki earned Nowicki the prestigious Gdynia Literary Award for Essay in Poland.
Besides text, Nowicki also works with images: he is a photographer and has curated several photography exhibitions. He has written essays on photography and is interested in the role of text in photography. He is also a co-founder of the Imago Mundi Foundation, which seeks to promote photography.
Nowicki is also active as a translator. Among others he has translated Persepolis, the autobiographical cartoon by Marjane Satrapi, into Polish. Besides his literary activities and his involvement in photography, Nowicki also writes a culinary column.
Wojciech Nowicki will be in residence in Brussels from 28 May until 23 July.