Chasing the King of Hearts
By Hanna Krall
Translated by Philip Boehm
Published by Peirene Press
Publication date: September 2013
17-21 September, various locations in London
Full programme is available here
WINNER ENGLISH PEN AWARD 2013
The internationally acclaimed Polish bestseller about the Holocaust. A remarkable true story of love and survival. Now for the first time in English.
The Warsaw Ghetto 1942: When Izolda’s husband, Shayek, is imprisoned, she sets out to release him. She changes her name, her hair, her religion. Eventually she is captured and deported to Auschwitz. But even there, she trusts that her love will save them both.
This is a beautiful love story but also an incredible account of one woman’s quest to be heard. Told with astounding simplicity, the book recreates the Holocaust not as an historical event but as a terrifying, shared, experience. I am amazed – and honoured – that it was left to Peirene to publish this book for the first time in English.
With her laconic style, Krall creates a lightness that holds the horror and ... amazes the reader.
An outstanding writer... who realizes that every individual fate transcends the possibilities of literature... and that every fate needs to be told.
-- Gazeta Wyborcza
Hanna Krall was born in 1935 in Poland and survived WWII hiding in a cupboard. She began her writing career as a prize-winning journalist. Since the early '80s she has worked as a novelist. For her books, Hanna Krall has received numerous Polish and international awards, such as the underground Solidarity Prize, Polish PEN Club Prize and the German Wuerth-Preis for European Literature 2012. Translated into 17 languages, her work has gained widespread international recognition. In 2007 Król Kier znów na wylocie (Chasing the King of Hearts) was shortlisted for the Angelus Central European Literary Award.
Philip Boehm is the author of more than two dozen translations of novels and plays by German and Polish writers, including Nobelist Herta Müller, Christoph Hein, Bertolt Brecht and Stefan Chwin. Nonfiction translations include A Woman in Berlin by Anonymous and Words to Outlive Us, a collection of eyewitness accounts from the Warsaw Ghetto. For his work as a translator he has received numerous awards, most recently the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize (UK), the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize (US), and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He also works as a playwright and theater director, and is the Founding Artistic Director of Upstream Theater in St. Louis.