28.03.2021 Events, Literature

A lingering past: Jakub Małecki and Alicja Gescinska @ Passa Porta Festival

Jakub Małecki (b. 1982) is still a well-kept secret in our part of the world, but in Poland he has long been regarded as one of the most important voices of the younger generation. He has been nominated for various literary awards, including the prestigious Nike Literature Award. His ninth novel in Poland is the first of his works to be translated into Dutch: it was released recently under the title Roest.


Jakub Małecki is a pleasure to listen to. How he pulls it off is not immediately clear, but as an economist by training, he has professional experience in banking, as a media figure he has a voice in the social debate in Poland, and as a writer he has numerous novels to his name. Some are already comparing Małecki to the great master Wiesław Myśliwski.


With the rural novel Roest, this talented storyteller shows what he is capable of. The novel spans several generations. When seven-year-old Szymon goes out to play with his friend by the railway, he has no idea that the death of his parents at that very moment is going to derail his life.

As a result, he ends up in the village of his eccentric grandmother Tośka. Like everyone else her age, she was affected by the Second World War and has suffered losses. Can a novel about a life full of suffering and misfortune be anything other than a pitiful and depressing story? In fact it can, yes. In Jakub Małecki’s hands, it becomes a ‘clear, subtle novel with a great sense of humour’, according to De Standaard der Letteren.

The writer populates his prose with powerful and world-weary women, men battling addictions, and oversensitive children, and is particularly keen to depict the experience of otherness. His protagonists are outcasts, cripples, wracked by obsessions like Chwaścior in Traces, or albinos, like Wiktor in Shudder or Stasio Baryłczak in Josef — Instytut Książki

Practical information: 

The discussion with Jakub Małecki and Alicja Gescinska will take place online.
When: 28 March 2021 from 16:30 to 17:30
Where: Passa Porta Festival 
For more information and tickets click here
This event is realised within the framework of the Passa Porta Festival with the support of Passa Porta, Polish Institute Brussels, Querido, L&M Books, KVS. 

About the festival: 

The Passa Porta Festival is the literary gathering par excellence for lovers of literature! The 8th edition of the Passa Porta Festival will take place from 21 to 28 March 2021, in a new format in view of the pandemic.

Every two years Passa Porta draws about 100 national and international writers, thinkers and artists to Brussels. They come from around the world and speak a range of languages. Scattered throughout the heart of the city, they bear witness to their love of the written word, shine their light on developments in the world, and pay tribute to the best literature from Belgium and abroad.

More information: https://www.passaporta.be/en/projects/passa-porta-festival 

© Photo: Tomasz Pluta

Scheduled Events Literature