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Joanna Małgorzata Banachowicz

Title: The Role of Literature in Imagining Better Futures: Olga Tokarczuk’s and Orhan Pamuk’s Novel Prize Lectures

Abstract: Lectures by Nobel laureates accompanying the awarding of the Nobel Prize usually reach a wide audience. It is a great opportunity to share personal thoughts with the world, but also to draw attention to important issues and encourage readers to take action. Speeches by winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature often have many things in common: they almost always reflect on the creative process, the glories and shadows of the writer’s life, and the eternal question of the role of literature in creating a better world.
There are many parallels to be found in the Nobel Prize lectures of the Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk (The Tender Narrator, 2019) and the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk (My Father’s Suitcase, 2006). Both evoke the memory of their loved ones – Tokarczuk writes about her mother who missed her daughter long before she came into the world, while Pamuk writes about his father, a man of many talents, torn between reason and a passion for literature. The father’s suitcase, containing volumes of private notes, provides a starting point for reflections on the role of the writer and literature, as does a black and white photograph of Tokarczuk’s mother. These two artefacts take us into an ex-centric world that is becoming less and less obvious…
My talk will examine the Nobel Prize lectures of Olga Tokarczuk and Orhan Pamuk in the context of the role of literature in imaging better futures.

Bio: Dr. Joanna Małgorzata Banachowicz – Graduated in German and French philology at the University of Wrocław; PhD thesis “Constructions of Jewish Identity in the Works of Doron Rabinovici” (supervisor: Prof. Edward Białek). She has completed numerous academic research stays at many European universities, including in Austria and Germany. Academic interests: contemporary German-language literature, Holocaust studies, migration and their representations in literature, intercultural relations, theory and practice of literary translation. Author of numerous publications published nationally and internationally, publisher of collective volumes and editor. Translator from German of prose (for example Doron Rabinovici’s Papirnik) and poetry.