Joseph Conrad was a Polish-British writer. Considered one of the greatest English-language novelists of all time, Conrad is credited with bringing a non-English sensibility into English-language literature. Many of his works have inspired several films, TV series, and video games. His anti-heroic characters and narrative style have influenced many authors like Salman Rushdie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and T. S. Eliot.
Polish fantasy author Andrzej Sapkowski is best known for his widely translated iconic book series The Witcher, which has also been made into a Netflix series. While he initially studied economics and worked as a sales representative, he soared to fame with the short story Wiedźmin, which later became The Witcher.
Stanisław Lem was a Polish writer who specialized in the science fiction genre. He was also a noted essayist who wrote on varied subjects, including philosophy, futurology, and literary criticism. His books, which have been translated into over 50 languages, have sold more than 45 million copies worldwide. He was the recipient of numerous awards and honors.
Olga Tokarczuk is a Polish writer and public intellectual. She is one of the most critically acclaimed authors of her generation in Poland. She was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the first female Polish writer to receive the honor. Her works have been translated into almost 40 languages. She is also a clinical psychologist.
Nobel Prize-winning Polish-American author Isaac Bashevis Singer is best remembered for his short stories and novels that mirrored Jewish life with a tinge of irony. Born into a family of rabbis, he got a traditional education and later became a journalist. His works include the iconic novel The Family Moskat.
Known as a rebellious director, Polish filmmaker Andrzej Zulawski compromised on mainstream success to create a niche audience in the European art-house circle. His second film, Diabel, which depicted rape, violence, and bloodshed, was banned in Poland. He later moved to France, making films such as L’Important C’est d’Aimer.
Henryk Sienkiewicz was a Polish journalist and novelist best remembered for his historical novels. He was the author of the internationally known best-seller Quo Vadis. Beginning his career as a journalist, he soon became one of the most popular Polish authors of his era. He was awarded the 1905 Nobel Prize in Literature for his contribution to literature.
One of the best Polish authors of the 20th century, Bruno Schulz is remembered for his iconic works such as The Cinnamon Shops, a collection of short stories that had a Kafkaesque style. He was shot dead by a Nazi officer while returning home with a loaf of bread.
Born to a poor but generous innkeeper, Sholem Asch grew up to be one of the best-known Yiddish authors in the world. The Polish-born American writer, known for novels such as Uncle Moses and Chaim Lederer’s Return, also penned the play The God of Vengeance, which was banned everywhere except in Germany.
Orphaned at age 9, Bolesław Prus had a tough childhood. He later participated in the January Insurrection and then became a successful journalist. A talented author of short stories, such as The Waistcoat, and novels, such as The Doll, he was part of the Polish positivist literary movement.
Polish writer and painter Roma Ligocka, who fled from the Kraków Ghetto during German occupation of Poland in Second World War, is best known for her works as a successful set designer in theatre, film and television, and for her memoir The Girl in the Red Coat. Other novels of Ligocka include Znajoma z lustre and Kobieta w podróży.
Though trained as a tailor, Władysław Stanisław Reymont never worked as one and joined a traveling theater instead. He later devoted himself to writing and gained fame with novels such as The Promised Land and Revolt. His 4-volume novel The Peasants won him the Nobel Prize and was also filmed.
Known for his bestselling legal thriller books, such as the Joanna Chyłka series, Polish author Remigiusz Mroz has sold millions of copies. A PhD in law, he quit his legal career to devote himself to writing. Often compared to the works of Stephen King, his books have also been adapted for TV.
Ferdynand Antoni Ossendowski was a Polish writer, anticommunist political activist, university professor, and explorer. He is remembered for his participation in the Russian Civil War and the books that he wrote about the war and Lenin. Ferdynand Antoni Ossendowski also contributed immensely to the underground education and postwar learning programs in Poland.
Marek Hłasko was a Polish screenwriter and author. Many of his writings like Ósmy dzień tygodnia, Baza ludzi umarłych, and Wszyscy byli odwróceni were adapted into films. Renowned for being eccentric, Marek Hłasko gained popularity among his peers and came to be known as a symbol of non-conformism. He died at the age of 35 under mysterious circumstances.
Stefan Żeromski was a dramatist and novelist who received four nominations for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature during his illustrious career. He was a leading Polish neoromantic writer and many of his novels like Dzieje grzechu and Przedwiośnie were adapted into films. Stefan Żeromski's works have also been translated into many languages including Croatian.
Stanisław Przybyszewski was a Polish novelist, poet, and dramatist. He wrote several successful novels including Homo Sapiens which was translated into English. Stanisław Przybyszewski is also remembered for his work as the editor in chief of an illustrated weekly called Życie. He helped revitalize the publication, which was soon turned into a bi-weekly.
The son of a rabbi and the brother of Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer, Israel Joshua Singer was a great Yiddish author in his own right. One of the Kiev Writers, he wrote for The Forward and is best remembered for his novel The Brothers Ashkenazi.
Known for his hard-hitting novels such as Ashes and Diamonds, Polish author Jerzy Andrzejewski wrote about Polish life in a post-war world. Initially part of the Communist Party, he later became one of its critics and formed the Workers’ Defense Committee, which led to the anti-communist Solidarity movement.
One of the greatest writers of the Romantic period in Poland, Józef Ignacy Kraszewski is best remembered for his historical novel An Ancient Tale. Accused of conspiring against the Russian government and imprisoned, he devoted his life to writing after his release. He was later imprisoned by Germany, too, for spying.
Eliza Orzeszkowa was a Polish novelist whose works revolved around the social and political conditions of her then-occupied country. One of the most important writers of the Positivism movement in Poland, Eliza Orzeszkowa was nominated for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature in 1905 along with Leo Tolstoy and Henryk Sienkiewicz.
As a teenager, Polish author and director Tadeusz Konwicki was part of the Polish resistance movement, fighting against both the Nazis and the Soviets. He later penned award-winning works such as At the Construction Site and directed films such as The Last Day of Summer. Initially a communist, he later opposed the party.
Maria Dąbrowska was a Polish writer, essayist, novelist, playwright, and journalist. She is best remembered for her historical novel Nights and Days, which were written in four separate volumes between 1932 and 1934. Maria Dąbrowska received five nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1935, she was honored by the Polish Academy of Literature with the prestigious Golden Laurel.
Sergiusz Piasecki was a Polish writer who achieved widespread popularity during the mid-20th century. However, he couldn't achieve monetary success during 1920s and was forced to rob a suburban train near Wilno. He was subsequently imprisoned and the novel Lover of the Great Bear, which he wrote in prison, became the third most famous novel in the Second Polish Republic.
Initially a journalist, Polish poet and author Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer later joined the Young Poland movement. Many of his poems were first published in the periodical Życie, or Life. His best-known work remains Tales of the Tatras, which revolves around mountaineers. His later years were plagued by a mental illness.
One of the best novelists and playwrights from the Naturalist school of Poland, Gabriela Zapolska had initially had a failed acting career. Of her countless works, only a few survive, such as the farce Mrs. Dulska’s Morality. Highly influenced by naturalist author Émile Zola, she also included a journalistic tone.
Tadeusz Miciński was a Polish poet, playwright, and gnostic. An influential figure, Miciński was a forerunner of Surrealism and Expressionism in Poland. Tadeusz Miciński was also a well-known revolutionary. His efforts to organize the Polish armed forces during the Russian Revolution were cut short when he was assassinated in 1918.
Józef Wittlin was a Polish poet, novelist, and translator. Best remembered for his humanist views, Wittlin often expressed the importance of pacifism through his works. His book Salt of the Earth, which established Józef Wittlin as a prominent writer, is one of the finest examples of his best known work.
A member of the Polish Academy of Literature, Ferdynand Goetel is best remembered for his novels and autobiographical writings. Interned by Russia in Tashkent during World War I, he later worked with the Red Army. From Day to Day remains one of his best-known works and has also been made into a film.
Polish author and editor Jerzy Putrament initially worked as a journalist and was later arrested for his communist activities. Best known for his political and war novels such as At the Crossroads and Bołdyn, he also served as the Polish ambassador to Switzerland and France, and as a member of the parliament.
Antoni Lange was a Polish poet, writer, novelist, philosopher, reporter, science-writer, translator, and polyglot. A representative of Polish symbolism and Parnassianism, Lange was also an expert on French literature and Romanticism. A prolific translator, Antoni Lange translated the works of several international authors into Polish. Lange’s work is often compared to Charles Marie René Leconte de Lisle and Stéphane Mallarmé.
Polish author Jan Parandowski was also a renowned translator of classical works. His book The Olympic Discus fetched him a bronze medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He had also been the president of the Polish PEN Club. His works mostly revolved around Greek and Italian themes.
Polish essayist, novelist and writer of film scripts Kazimierz Brandys is best remembered as a leading exponent of Socialist Realism, who later voiced his disillusionment with communism and rejected the communist ideology. He left the communist party protesting the political persecution of Leszek Kołakowski and later signed the Letter of 59. Notable literary works of Brandys include A Warsaw Diary.
Maria Kuncewiczowa was a Polish novelist and writer whose works explored motherhood, femininity, sexuality, and desire. She achieved national and international fame after the release of her 1936 psychological novel Cudzoziemka, which was translated into many languages. In 1938, Maria Kuncewiczowa was honored by the Polish Academy of Literature with the prestigious Golden Laurel award.
Leon Kruczkowski was a Polish writer, public figure, and publicist. He achieved popularity during the post-World War II period when he also became active in politics. He served many important positions such as the deputy minister of culture and art between 1945 and 1948. Leon Kruczkowski also influenced the Polish cultural policies of that time.
Teodor Parnicki was a Polish writer best remembered for his historical novels. Many of his famous works are set in the late Byzantine and Roman Empires and the early medieval Middle East. Teodor Parnicki also served in the Polish Army during the Second World War.
Adolf Rudnicki was a Polish essayist and author remembered for his works about the Jewish resistance in Poland and the Holocaust during the Second World War. Born into a Jewish family, Rudnicki survived the war despite being captured by the Nazis during Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland. After the war, his works threw light on the atrocities of the Nazis.
Wacław Berent was a Polish novelist, literary translator, and essayist. He is best remembered for serving as an important member of the Polish Academy of Literature. A visionary, Wacław Berent portrayed the origination of the Polish independence movement even before the Revolution of 1905 in his novel Winter Crop.
Adolf Dygasiński was a Polish novelist, educator, and publicist. A leading representative of Naturalism in Polish literature, Dygasiński wrote 42 short stories and novels which enjoyed considerable success after being published in book-form starting from 1884. His works were also translated into German and Russian.
Juliusz Kaden-Bandrowski was a Polish novelist and journalist. He is best remembered for serving as a secretary general of the Polish Academy of Literature between 1933 and 1939 in the Second Polish Republic. During the Second World War, Juliusz Kaden-Bandrowski contributed immensely to the underground teaching program where he gave music lessons.
Polish author Adam Ważyk, best remembered for his collections such as Semafory and his poem A Poem for Adults, was a major figure of the Polish avant-garde movement. Though initially a supporter of Stalin, he later turned against him. He had also served the Polish army.
Karol Irzykowski was a Polish writer, film theoretician, literary critic, and chess player. He is best remembered for serving as an important member of the Polish Academy of Literature between 1933 and 1939. In one of his most important works titled Pałuba, which was released in 1903, Irzykowski anticipated several innovations made by experimentalists like Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.
Józef Korzeniowski was a Polish-British writer best remembered for bringing in a non-English sensibility into English literature. Although he didn't speak fluent English until his 20s, Józef Korzeniowski is often considered one of the greatest English language novelists of all time. Many of his works have inspired films, video games, TV series, and operas.