(1967) is a Warsaw-born novelist, columnist and playwright living in Brussels. A graduate of Polish philology at Warsaw University, she is the author of best-selling novels Girls from Portofino and Illegal Liaisons, published in the UK, US and Canada. Plebanek is also the author of the novels Box of Stilettos, A Girl Called Przystupa and The Boxer as well as a collection of literary essays, Robbermaid's Daughters. In 2017 she published her sixth novel, Miss Fury. Her books show the difficult truths about the integration between cultures. She writes a regular column in the Polish weekly Polityka, as well as in Poland's daily Gazeta Wyborcza and in Trendy magazine. She was awarded the Zlote Sowy Literary Prize for her contributions to promoting Poland abroad.(2017)
Archive available for: Grażyna Plebanek
Writers talks about their favourite book - the book that inspires or moves them; the book that formed their aristic, moral or intellectual compass; the book that they would recommend to anyone.
Rage is wafting around Europe. Rage in many forms and voices, but perhaps also from a common source. Led by author and cultural historian David Van Reybrouck, writers from various European cities delineate and interpret this rage from their own environments and perspectives.
Some Europeans think that our continent is denying its origins and heading towards cultural suicide by opening itself to the culture of strangers. Others believe that Europe is mired in colonial reflexes and prejudices, and falls short in terms of welcoming new citizens. Yet others see only a Europe of interference and technocracy, bereft of passion, imagination and democratic vitality.
Multitalented author and playwright Van Reybrouck wrote high-profile books such as Congo: A history, and essays such as "A Plea for Populism" and "Against Elections". Fatma Aydemir's debut novel Ellbogen (Elbow), about escalating violence in the U-Bahn, recently divided critics and readers in Germany. Grazyna Plebanek, originally from Warsaw, lived in Stockholm for a few years and in Brussels since 2005, where she works as a journalist and writer of short stories and novels. Until 1989, art historian, poet and essayist Magda Carneci published under a pseudonym in Bucharest; these days, she is, among others, Editor of Revista ARTA.
As counterpoints, Rodaan Al Galidi recites some of his poems, Gerda Dendooven creates illustrations and Stefka and Amer Shanati play their music.
Schiller's idealistic poem about Europe and humanity, adapted to the here and now! Writers Unlimited asked seven writers and poets each to write their own Ode to Joy. This evening they presented their newly written works.
Participants at this Odes 2.0 were Nino Haratischwili, Magda Cârneci, Sanam Sheriff, Efe Murad, Grazyna Plebanek, Gustaaf Peek. Ghayath Almadhoun and Charlotte Van den Broeck. They recited their work in their mother tongues, with simultaneous projections of Dutch and/or English translations. Classical accordionist Oleg Lysenko, Cellist Elisabeth Sturtewagen and soprano Jole De Baerdemaeker provided musical accompaniment.
Originally written in 1785, Schiller's Ode to Joy lives on because Ludwig van Beethoven added one of its stanzas to the finale (for choir and soloists) of his Ninth Symphony. In 1985, the European Union Chose this particular segment - albeit in wordless form - as the official hymn of the EU. In the poem, Schiller transmits the ideal of a world in which all people live in brotherhood.
The longing for a strong collective feeling has once again become a source of social movements around the world. That "we"-feeling feeds passionate new emancipation and indentity groups. It also causes social fragmentation and conflict.
Brotherhood, the third pillar of democracy from the French Revolution, has long been viewed as a less inflammatory societal value compared with Freedom and Equality. But the comeback of a strong collective feeling is connected to high levels of polarization and conflict in society.
Bas Heijne, winner of the P.C. Hooft Prize for his essays and a prominent NRC newspaper columnist, investigated why the power of a longing for Brotherhood is underestimated, with the help of Flemish cultural historian and writer David Van Reybrouck, Turkish poet and philosopher Efe Murad, German novelist Fatma Aydemir and Polish novelist and journalist Grazyna Plebanek. Together they looked for the contemporary words to express a sense of collective bonding.
The conversations were accompanied by performances of poetry slam-talent Sanam Sheriff (India), by live drawn illustrations by Gerda Dendooven (Belgium) and by music performed by classical accordionist Oleg Lysenko (Netherlands) and soprano Elisabeth Sturtewagen (Belgium).