Jacek Dehnel and his 'Lala' on tour

Events at Hay Festival, in Clapham Library with Clare Mulley, and in Ognisko Polskie - Polish Hearth Club

Photo by Elżbieta Piekacz / Instytut Książki


Oneworld Publishing and the Polish Cultural Institute in London are pleased to invite you to a series of events to promote a moving family saga Lala by one of Poland's top writers, Jacek Dehnel (forthcoming in June by Oneworld in Antonia Lloyd-Jones's translation).

Born in 1980, Dehnel is a poet, novelist and translator. In 2005 he was one of the youngest winners of the Kościelski Prize for promising new writers. He has published five volumes of poetry and nine of prose. Lala, his first novel, tells the story of his grandmother’s life. His second, Saturn, is based on the life of Francisco Goya, and depicts his painful relationship with his son. His third, Mother Makryna, tells the true story of a nineteenth-century fraudster who claimed to be an oppressed Catholic nun. His most recent novel, Krivoklat is the monologue of a lunatic compelled to destroy great works of art. With Piotr Tarczyński he is co-author of two crime novels set in turn-of-the-century Krakow, whose crime-solving heroine is a bored professor’s wife and first-class busybody.

Dehnel's books available in English: the novel Saturn (translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Dedalus 2012) as well as Six Polish Poets, an anthology which he himself edited for Arc Publications (2009), and a volume of his poetry Aperture (translated by Karen Kovacik, Zephyr Press 2018).


Monday 28 May, 5:30pm
FICTIONS: THE NEW GENERATION: Jacek Dehnel, Mick Kitson and Sharlene Teo
Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
Hay Festival
Dairy Meadows, Brecon Road
Hay on Wye, HR3 5PJ
£7, book online

A conversation and reading with three of the most extraordinary young talents in international fiction. Dehnel’s Lala is a lyrical and moving Polish family saga set against the turbulent backdrop of 20th century Europe. Lala is an independent woman who has survived some of the most turbulent events of her times. As she senses the first signs of dementia, she battles to keep her memories alive through her stories, telling her grandson tales of a life filled with love, betrayal and extraordinary acts of courage. Kitson's debut Sal is a disturbing, uplifting story of survival, of the kindness of strangers, and the irrepressible power of sisterly love; a love that can lead us to do extraordinary and unimaginable things. Set in Singapore, and spanning 50 years, Teo’s Ponti is a sweeping story of three women and the guilt that ties them to each other. Teo was the winner of the inaugural Deborah Rogers Foundation award in 2016. Chaired by Georgina Godwin.

Organised by Hay Festival.

Tuesday 29 May, 7-9pm
Jacek Dehnel and Clare Mulley in conversation
Clapham Library
Mary Seacole Centre
91 Clapham High Street
London SW4 7DB

Lambeth Readers and Writers Festival 2018 is proud to announce the inclusion of award winning Polish TV presenter, poet and writer Jacek Dehnel in this year’s festival. Jacek will be discussing his work and latest novel Lala with writer Clare Mulley whose most recent biography is The Women Who Flew For Hitler.
This event is likely to be a major highlight of the festival so get the date in your diary now!

Organised by Stockwell Partnership – Poles Connect, Lambeth Libraries, Lambeth Community Foundation.

Wednesday 30 May

Jacek Dehnel in conversation with Antonia Lloyd-Jones 
Ognisko Polskie – The Polish Hearth Club
55 Princess Gate
South Kensington
London SW7 2PN

Free to club members, non-members £5 – book online.
The event will take place in the Salonik, and wine will be served.

The author and translator of Lala will use short extracts and contemporary family photographs to illustrate stories from the life of the heroine of the book, Dehnel’s grandmother, Helena Karpińska, who was born in Kiev in 1919 and died in Gdańsk in 2008. There will also be photographs from the family archive to illustrate stories from the lives of her parents and grandparents, all of whom feature in the book – the rich web of tales told to her grandson by Helena Karpińska, known as Lala, weaves a detailed portrait of life in pre-war, wartime and post-war Poland throughout the 20th century.

The talk will also include extracts from some works of classical music that were important to Helena Karpińska, and that are mentioned in the book.

The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions, and to buy copies of the book.

All events supported by the Polish Cultural Institute in London.

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