Andrzej Sapkowski Biography

(He is best known for his book series The Witcher)
Andrzej Sapkowski
3

Birthday: June 21, 1948 (Gemini)

Born In: Łódź, Poland

Andrzej Sapkowski is a Polish writer, a novelist, and a former economist, best known for writing the best-selling book series titled The Witcher. Born and raised in Lodz, Poland, Andrzej was an avid reader as a kid, and his love for reading was instilled in him by his parents, who were also keen readers. Following his graduation in economics from the University of Lodz, he began working as a traveling salesman. In the mid-1980s, he participated in a writing contest for the Fantastyka magazine and won the third prize for writing the fantasy short story titled The Witcher. The story became widely popular after it was published in the magazine, and Andrzej was further compelled to write more short stories based in the same universe. The short story collections The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny became hugely successful, further compelling Andrzej to write full-length novels. The first of the novels was released in 1994 with title Blood of Elves, which also turned out to be widely successful. Five more sequels followed, and it became a cult classic book series. A successful video game series is based on The Witcher along with a 2019 Netflix series with the same title. Andrzej is also known for writing the Hussite Trilogy, which is a fantastical retelling of the Hussite-Wars of the 15th century.

Quick Facts

Age: 73 Years, 73 Year Old Males

Family:

children: Krzysztof Sapkowski

Born Country: Poland

Novelists Short Story Writers

Height: 5'7" (170 cm), 5'7" Males

Notable Alumni: University Of Łódź

More Facts

education: University Of Łódź

Childhood & Early Life

Andrzej Sapkowski was born on June 21, 1948, in Lodz, Poland, into a middle-class household. He enrolled in local schools and began writing short stories when he was still a child.

The neighborhood where he grew up had an amalgamation of multiple cultures, and Andrzej grew up with friends from many different communities, which also broadened his worldview and shaped his artistic sensibilities. Through mingling with those communities, he also came to know folklores of many cultures, which greatly helped him when he became a fantasy writer.

His parents were avid readers, and as a result, his house was almost always filled with books of all kinds. Thus, Andrzej himself became a voracious reader and especially liked books related to mythical creatures and fantasies.

However, despite being interested in reading and writing, Andrzej never thought of ever becoming a full-time author. He attended the University of Lodz and graduated with a degree in economics, which was a safe career option.

He worked at many corporate jobs after graduating college. In the mid-1980s, he was working as a traveling salesman selling furs. But in the meantime, he was also constantly writing short stories and trying to get them published. He was also well versed in many languages and often carried many books with him while traveling, reading them whenever he could.

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Career as an Author

In 1985, while he was working as a traveling salesman, he heard about a short story writing competition in the Polish magazine named Fantastyka. Andrzej once said that he did not remember why he entered the competition that day. He was a classic fantasy admirer, and it was not a genre that Polish population would come to love, he thought. In addition, writing short fantasy story was way more difficult than writing short stories in any other genre, as it requires a degree of worldbuilding.

He then re-imagined a Slavic fairy tale about a monster-hunting witcher, wrote it down and sent it to the magazine, and waited for a year for the final results. He was not confident of winning, but in 1986, he was surprised to see that his story had won the third prize in the competition. Andrzej said that it was akin to winning the first prize considering the Polish population’s general ignorance toward fantasy.

The story titled The Witcher was published in the magazine, and people loved it. It became one of the most popular short stories from the novel. He received demands to write more, and he responded by writing several short stories, which were later published in his collections titled Sword of Destiny and The Last Wish in the early 1990s. Most of those short stories were weaved around The Witcher universe, for which the general readers of Poland were developing a great taste then.

Many publishers were also ready to support him, which gave him enough confidence to finally sit down working on his breakthrough project, The Witcher books.

In 1994, SuperNowa publications published his first full-length fantasy novel, titled Blood of Elves. It was technically the third book in The Witcher saga, after two collections of short stories. The book serves as a sequel to them and tells the story of Geralt of Rivia and other characters such as Yennefer. The book became a critical and commercial success, also winning many literary honors such as a David Gemmell Legend Award. The English translation of the book was published in the UK for the first time in 2008.

Enthused with the success of the book, Andrzej went on writing more books, taking the saga forward. Until 1999, he wrote one book almost every year, which was very fast, considering the long time it takes for fantasy writers to come up with sequels. The books titled Time of Contempt, Baptism of Fire, The Tower of Swallows, and The Lady of the Lake were all successful. The Lady of the Lake (1999) marked the end of The Witcher saga for the time being.

The books have been translated into many languages such as Chinese, Ukrainian, English, French, German, Italian, and Russian. Along with that, the books have also amassed a cult following in Poland.

The Witcher saga was also adapted as a role-playing video game which was released in 2007 with the title The Witcher. The worldwide success of the game also paved way for two more sequels.

The saga was also adapted into a film titled The Hexer and a television series of the same name. But what made the fantasy series reach unprecedented popularity was when Netflix purchased the rights for a television series and produced The Witcher, released in 2019, starring Henry Cavill in the lead role.

In 2002, Andrzej wrote another fantasy book titled The Tower of Fools, which initiated another fantasy universe, named the Hussite Trilogy. It was based on the Hussite Wars of the 15th century. The book was a fantastical retelling of the war that took place between Hussite Christians and other Christian sects combined.

The first book in the series The Tower of Fools takes place in that era and is mostly centered around some real-life characters that participated in the war. However, being loyal to his fantasy genre, Andrzej also incorporated some magical elements and nonhuman characters into the story. The English translation of the novel was released in 2020, with David French taking on the charge to do that. He had previously also adapted Andrzej’s The Witcher books in English.

In the following years, Andrzej published two more books in the Hussite Saga, titled Warriors of God and Light Perpetual. The trilogy never matched the success of The Witcher series, but with Andrzej’s name associated with it, the books went on selling millions of copies. Many translations in languages such as Italian and French also took place.

When asked about why he did not continue with the more successful The Witcher trilogy, Andrzej responded that it was well rounded up, and it was the time to move on. However, in 2013, he published another book in The Witcher saga, titled Season of Storms. However, it is a stand-alone book, in discontinuation of the earlier books.

For his literary works, Andrzej has received many awards and honors throughout his career, such as a Medal for Merit to Culture, a European Science Fiction Society Award, a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and a David Gemmell Legend Award.

Personal Life

Andrzej Sapkowski is very secretive about his personal life. He is a married man and had a son named Krzysztof, who passed away in 2019, from cancer. Andrzej has said that his son was a fantasy lover and was a regular reader of the Fantastyka magazine.

He currently lives in Lodz, and his hometown is located in Central Poland.

He is a feminist and believes that women are in general stronger than men. This also explains the frequently appearing powerful and intelligent female characters in his books.

See the events in life of Andrzej Sapkowski in Chronological Order

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