Famous Polish Writers

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 1 
Joseph Conrad
(Known for Short Stories and Novels Like Lord Jim, Heart of Darkness and the Secret Agent)
Joseph Conrad
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Birthdate: December 3, 1857
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Berdychiv, Ukraine
Died: August 3, 1924

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.

 2 
Andrzej Sapkowski
(He is best known for his book series The Witcher)
Andrzej Sapkowski
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Birthdate: June 21, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Łódź, Poland

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.

 3 
Stanisław Lem
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Birthdate: September 12, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lviv, Ukraine
Died: March 27, 2006

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. 

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 4 
Janusz Korczak
(Former educator, children's author, pedagogue)
Janusz Korczak
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Birthdate: July 22, 1878
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: August 7, 1942

A reputed Polish doctor, Henryk Goldszmit was better known by his pseudonym, Janusz Korczak, which he used to write several children’s books. Apart from working as a pediatrician and a military doctor, he also owned a Jewish orphanage and stayed with the children while the Germans deported him and other staff to Treblinka.

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 5 
Olga Tokarczuk
(Polish Writer Best Known for Her Novel 'Flights' and Winner of 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature)
Olga Tokarczuk
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Birthdate: January 29, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sulechów, Poland

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. 

Isaac Bashevis Singer
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Birthdate: November 21, 1902
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Leoncin, Congress Poland
Died: July 24, 1991

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.

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Slavomir Rawicz
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Birthdate: September 1, 1915
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Warsaw
Died: April 5, 2004

Slavomir Rawicz was a Polish Army lieutenant. He was imprisoned by the NKVD after the German-Soviet invasion of Poland and eventually made a miraculous escape, according to his own accounts. However, several authorities have questioned the veracity of his claims. After the war, he settled in England, married and raised a family. He later became a technician.  

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 8 
Andrzej Zulawski
(Polish filmmaker)
Andrzej Zulawski
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Birthdate: November 22, 1940
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lwów, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic USSR
Died: February 17, 2016

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.

 9 
Adam Mickiewicz
(Best Known as One of Poland's 'Three Bards' & A Primary Figure in European Romanticism)
Adam Mickiewicz
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Birthdate: December 24, 1798
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Zavosse, Belarus
Died: November 26, 1855

Adam Mickiewicz was a Polish poet, dramatist, essayist, and political activist. He was a major figure in Polish Romanticism and considered one of Poland's "Three Bards." He has long been regarded as Poland's national poet and is often compared to Byron and Goethe. The vast majority of his work is available only in Polish and has been reprinted numerous times. 

 10 
Henryk Sienkiewicz
(Polish Writer Who Won the '1905 Nobel Prize in Literature')
Henryk Sienkiewicz
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Birthdate: May 5, 1846
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wola Okrzejska, Poland
Died: November 15, 1916

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. 

 11 
Blanka Lipinska
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Birthdate: July 22, 1985
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pulawy, Poland

Polish cosmetologist and author Blanka Lipinska is best-recognised for her 365 Dni trilogy, first novel of which was adapted into an eponymous film. She co-wrote screenplay of the film and also did a cameo. English translation of first book of the trilogy was released in January 2021, while its second book titled That Day is scheduled for a 2022 release.

 12 
Bruno Schulz
(Writer and One of the Great Polish-Language Prose Stylists of the 20th Century)
Bruno Schulz
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Birthdate: July 12, 1892
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Drohobych, Ukraine
Died: November 19, 1942

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.

 13 
Czesław Miłosz
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Birthdate: June 30, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Šeteniai, Lithuania
Died: August 14, 2004

Nobel Prize-winning Polish-American poet Czesław Miłosz, known for the iconic Poem of Frozen Time, had made a lucky escape during the German invasion of Poland but had gone back using fake documents to be with his wife, Janina. He later became a Polish diplomat and also taught in the US.

 14 
Wisława Szymborska
(Polish Poet, Essayist, Translator and Winner of 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature)
Wisława Szymborska
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Birthdate: July 2, 1923
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kórnik, Poland
Died: February 1, 2012

Wisława Szymborska was a Polish poet, essayist, and translator. In 1996, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for her poetry. Her works have been translated into numerous languages, including English, Arabic, Japanese, Hebrew, and Chinese. She also translated French literature, especially Baroque poetry, into Polish. She actively wrote until her death at the age of 88. 

 15 
Jerzy Kosiński
(Novelist)
Jerzy Kosiński
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Birthdate: June 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Łódź, Poland
Died: May 3, 1991

Jerzy Kosiński was a Polish American novelist who served as the president of the American Chapter of P.E.N. twice. Born in Poland, he survived World War II and moved to USA. He initially survived by taking up odd jobs and eventually worked his way to fame and success. Throughout his career, he faced accusations of plagiarism. 

 16 
L. L. Zamenhof
(Linguist, Ophthalmologist, Inventor, Poet, Translator, Esperantist, Physician, Writer, Bible translator)
L. L. Zamenhof
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Birthdate: December 15, 1859
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Białystok
Died: April 14, 1917

L. L. Zamenhof was an ophthalmologist best remembered for creating the most widely spoken international auxiliary language, Esperanto. He came up with the constructed language after being consumed by the idea of a warless world. L. L. Zamenhof received several honors for creating Esperanto, including the Légion d'honneur. He also received 12 nominations for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.

 17 
Hilary Koprowski
(Virologist, Immunologist)
Hilary Koprowski
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Birthdate: December 5, 1916
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Warsaw
Died: April 11, 2013

Hilary Koprowski was a Polish virologist and immunologist. He spent the majority of his career in USA and created an effective live polio vaccine. He also contributed significantly to the development of an improved rabies vaccine. He was the author or co-author of over 875 scientific papers. He was the recipient of many awards, including the Albert Sabin Gold Medal.

 18 
Ryszard Kapuściński
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Birthdate: March 4, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pinsk
Died: January 23, 2007

Globally reputed Polish journalist, photographer, poet and author Ryszard Kapuściński was the only correspondent of the Communist-era Polish Press Agency in Africa at the time of decolonization. Notable works of Kapuściński, who was considered a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, includes Another Day of Life, The Emperor, Imperium and The Shadow of the Sun.

 19 
Antonina Zabinska
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Birthdate: July 18, 1908
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: March 19, 1971

Antonina Zabinska worked as a Warsaw Zoo director along with her husband, Jan. She was also a promising author. During World War II, she and her husband sheltered countless Jews in their zoo. Her story, penned in her own diary, Ludzie i zwierzęta, later inspired Diane Ackerman’s book The Zookeeper's Wife.

 20 
Gerda Weissmann Klein
(Writer, Human rights activist)
Gerda Weissmann Klein
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Birthdate: May 8, 1924
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bielsko, Poland

Gerda Weissmann Klein is a Polish American writer. She survived the Holocaust in which her entire family perished. Later on, she wrote an autobiographical account of the Holocaust, All but My Life, which was adapted into a short film. She and her husband became advocates of Holocaust education. She was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

 21 
Ferdinand Lassalle
(Writer, Politician, Economist, Lawyer, Philosopher)
Ferdinand Lassalle
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Birthdate: April 11, 1825
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wrocław
Died: August 31, 1864

Enamoured by the ideas of French and German philosophers, Ferdinand Lassalle initially aspired to be a lecturer. He later joined the socialist cause and spearheaded Germany’s social democratic movement. He also introduced terms such as the iron law of wages and concepts such as Lassallism, or achieving socialist ideals through the state.

 22 
Witold Gombrowicz
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Birthdate: August 4, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Małoszyce, Poland
Died: July 24, 1969
Witold Gombrowicz was a Polish playwright and writer whose works are characterized by a certain sense of absurd, anti-nationalist flavor. Although his work was acclaimed only during the last few years of his life, Witold Gombrowicz is now widely regarded as one of the most important figures of Polish literature.  His works earned him a Nobel Prize nomination in 1966.
 23 
Raphael Lemkin
(Lawyer, Peace researcher)
Raphael Lemkin
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Birthdate: June 24, 1900
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bezwodne
Died: August 28, 1959

Raphael Lemkin was a Polish lawyer best remembered for coining the term genocide. He is also credited with initiating the Genocide Convention, an international treaty criminalizing genocide. Interestingly, no such international law existed before Lemkin initiated the Genocide Convention. Raphael Lemkin’s work inspired American sociologist and feminist scholar Jessie Bernard whose book American Community Behavior is based on Lemkin's work.

 24 
Rutka Laskier
(Diarist)
Rutka Laskier
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Birthdate: June 12, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Free City of Danzig
Died: 1943 AD
 25 
Czeslaw Niemen
(Singer-songwriter)
Czeslaw Niemen
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Birthdate: February 16, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Starye Vasilishki, Belarus
Died: January 17, 2004

Czeslaw Niemen was a Polish singer-songwriter, keyboard player, and composer. He gained notoriety during the 1960s for his revolutionary music, such as the 1967 song Strange Is This World, which was considered the most prominent Polish protest song of that time. Czeslaw Niemen’s life and career have inspired several documentaries, including Krzysztof Magowski's 2014 film A Dream About Warsaw.

 26 
Avraham Stern
(Poet, Writer)
Avraham Stern
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Birthdate: December 23, 1907
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Suwałki
Died: February 12, 1942

Avraham Stern was one of the most important leaders of Irgun, a Zionist paramilitary organization. The members of this organization were recruited by the Israel Defense Forces at the beginning of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Avraham Stern is also credited with founding Lehi, a Zionist terrorist organization that aimed at evicting British authorities from Palestine. 

 27 
Sholem Asch
(Novelist, Playwright and One of the Most Widely Known Writers in Modern Yiddish Literature)
Sholem Asch
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Birthdate: November 1, 1880
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kutno, Poland
Died: July 10, 1957

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.

 28 
Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz
(Writer & Painter Active Before World War I & During Interwar Period)
Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz
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Birthdate: February 24, 1885
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: September 18, 1939

Polish author, painter, and dramatist Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz of the Awangarda Krakowska movement was part of the Australian expedition of anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski, as an artist. He had also worked in the Russian Army. He committed suicide at the onset of World War II, though many believe he had faked his own death.

 29 
Richard Pipes
(Historian, Writer, University teacher)
Richard Pipes
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Birthdate: July 11, 1923
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cieszyn, Poland
Died: May 17, 2018

Polish-born American historian Richard Pipes is best known for his extensive research on Soviet history. His books depict the violence and terror of Russian politics and express his contempt toward communism and Lenin. He was also part of an American team to investigate Soviet weapon expansion plans.

 30 
Martyna Majok
(Playwright)
Martyna Majok
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Birthdate: 1985 AD
Birthplace: Bytom, Poland
 31 
Felix Hausdorff
(Mathematician, Writer, Topologist, University teacher)
Felix Hausdorff
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Birthdate: November 8, 1868
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wrocław
Died: January 26, 1942

While German mathematician Felix Hausdorff initially wished to become a musician, parental pressure led him to choose math. Considered one of the pioneers of modern topology, he made major contributions to set theory and functional analysis. He died of suicide, along with his wife and sister-in-law, instead of moving to a Nazi camp.

 32 
Bolesław Prus
(Journalist)
Bolesław Prus
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Birthdate: August 20, 1847
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hrubieszow, Poland
Died: May 19, 1912

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.

 33 
Jerzy Skolimowski
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Birthdate: May 5, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Łódź, Poland
 34 
Tadeusz Borowski
(Journalist, Poet, Writer)
Tadeusz Borowski
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Birthdate: November 12, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Zhytomyr
Died: July 3, 1951

Tadeusz Borowski was a Polish journalist and writer. His wartime stories and poetry highlighting his experiences as a prisoner at the Auschwitz concentration camp are regarded as classics of Polish literature. His works also had a significant influence in Central European society. Tadeusz Borowski's writings inspired the 1970 Polish movie Landscape After the Battle.

Władysław Stanisław Reymont
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Birthdate: May 7, 1867
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kobiele Wielkie, Poland
Died: December 5, 1925

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.

 36 
Juliusz Słowacki
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Birthdate: September 4, 1809
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kremenets', Ukraine
Died: April 3, 1849

Juliusz Słowacki was a Polish Romantic poet. Counted among the Three Bards of Polish literature, Słowacki is often referred to as the father of modern Polish drama. However, Juliusz Słowacki was not popular during his lifetime and none of his dramas were performed on stage. His works were popularized after his death by the writers of the Young Poland period.

 37 
Thomas Blatt
(Writer)
Thomas Blatt
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Birthdate: April 15, 1927
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Izbica, Poland
Died: October 31, 2015
 38 
Stanisław Wyspiański
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Birthdate: January 15, 1869
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kraków, Poland
Died: November 28, 1907

Stanisław Wyspiański was a Polish poet, playwright, and painter. He was one of the most patriotic writers of the Young Poland Movement and is best remembered for creating several symbolic, national dramas. Stanisław Wyspiański is sometimes referred to as the Fourth Bard of Polish literature.

 39 
Jan Kochanowski
(Renaissance Poet Who Established poetic patterns that would become integral to the Polish literary language)
Jan Kochanowski
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Birthdate: 1530 AD
Birthplace: Sycyna Północna, Poland
Died: August 22, 1584

Jan Kochanowski was a Polish Renaissance poet whose poetic patterns became a key component of the Polish literary language. Kochanowski is considered the greatest Polish poet before the arrival of Adam Bernard Mickiewicz. Jan Kochanowski is best remembered for his magnum opus Treny, a series of 19 elegies on the demise of his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Urszula.

 40 
Martyna Wojciechowska
(TV presenter)
Martyna Wojciechowska
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Birthdate: September 28, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
 41 
Remigiusz Mroz
(Writer, Lawyer)
Remigiusz Mroz
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Birthdate: January 15, 1987
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Opole, Poland

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.

 42 
Israel Epstein
(Journalist)
Israel Epstein
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Birthdate: April 20, 1915
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: May 26, 2005
 43 
Zbigniew Herbert
(One of the Best Known and the Most Translated Post-war Polish Writers)
Zbigniew Herbert
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Birthdate: October 29, 1924
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lwów, Poland
Died: July 28, 1998

Zbigniew Herbert was a Polish poet, drama writer, essayist, and moralist. One of the most translated and best known post-war Polish writers, Herbert received several nominations for the prestigious Nobel Prize in literature during his lifetime. Zbigniew Herbert did receive several other prestigious awards such as the Kościelski Prize, Jurzykowski Prize, Herder Prize, and Austrian State Prize for European Literature.  

Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
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Birthdate: March 6, 1909
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lviv, Ukraine
Died: May 7, 1966

Stanislaw Jerzy Lec was a Polish poet and aphorist. Best remembered for his skeptical philosophical-moral aphorisms and lyric poetry, Lec is counted among the 20th century's most influential aphorists. He is also widely regarded as one of the greatest writers of post-war Poland. Before the advent of World War II, Stanisław Jerzy Lec had founded a satirical magazine called Szpilki.

 45 
Julian Tuwim
(Polish Poet and Co-Founder of 'Skamander', An Experimental Poetry Group)
Julian Tuwim
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Birthdate: September 13, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Łódź, Poland
Died: December 27, 1953

Julian Tuwim was a Polish poet who co-founded a group of experimental poets called Skamander along with his contemporaries like Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz and Antoni Słonimski. A popular and influential figure in Polish literature, Tuwim was also admired for his immense contribution to children's literature. In 1935, Julian Tuwim was honored with the Polish Academy of Literature's prestigious Golden Laurel award.

 46 
Roma Ligocka
(Costume designer)
Roma Ligocka
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Birthdate: November 13, 1938
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kraków, Poland

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.

 47 
Tadeusz Mazowiecki
(Politician, Writer, Journalist, Trade unionist)
Tadeusz Mazowiecki
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Birthdate: April 18, 1927
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Płock
Died: October 28, 2013
 48 
Agnieszka Osiecka
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Birthdate: October 9, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: March 7, 1997

Agnieszka Osiecka was a Polish poet, playwright, TV writer, film director, and journalist. Widely regarded as an icon of Polish culture, Osiecka was also a prolific songwriter, having penned the lyrics of over 2000 songs. Thanks to her large body of work, Osiecka is regarded as one of the most prolific and important persons in postwar Polish history and culture.  

 49 
Adam Zagajewski
(poet,novelist)
Adam Zagajewski
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Birthdate: June 21, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lviv, Ukraine

Adam Zagajewski was a Polish poet, essayist, translator, and novelist. A prominent poet of the Polish New Wave and one of the most important contemporary poets from Poland, Adam Zagajewski was honored with several prestigious awards such as the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, Griffin Poetry Prize for Lifetime Achievement, and Princess of Asturias Award.

 50 
Ferdynand Antoni Ossendowski
(Known for his books about Lenin and the Russian Civil War in which he participated)
Ferdynand Antoni Ossendowski
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Birthdate: May 27, 1878
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ludza, Latvia
Died: January 3, 1945

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. 

If you thought Poland was all about pierogies, paczki and Pope John Paul II, you are definitely in for a surprise. The country is home to a rich mix of traditional culture and contemporary philosophy. And taking its legacy forward are its nationals who have contributed much to make Poland what it is today. Polish men, with their outstanding skills and talent, have greatly augmented the country’s rich landscape. They have done exceedingly well as scientists, lawyers, artists and historians. One more sphere where Polish people have outshined their European counterparts is literature. Poland has been home to several classic litterateurs who have done their country proud through their novels, poems, essays and literary pieces. The fact that Poland has to its credit five Nobel Prize winners in literature alone explicitly clarifies the fact - Henryk Sienkiewicz, Władysław Reymont, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Czesław Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska have played an instrumental role in popularising Polish literature on the world forum. Though they come from different backgrounds and belong to different artistic movements, one thing that unites them together is their excellence in literature. They stood firm against the political, social and economic turbulence in Poland, not letting any of them affect their creativity and outpouring. It is to these great Polish literary giants and others that we dedicate this section. Find out more about their life and works of famous Polish writers.