The Witold Gombrowicz Literary Prize was established by the City Council in Radom. Its organiser is the is the Mayor of Radom, the co-organizer the Witold Gombrowicz Museum, a branch of the Museum of Literature. The prize of 40 000 PLN, sponsored by the City of Radom, is awarded to the author selected by the Award Committee for a book published in the year preceding the current edition of the Prize.
The Award Committee, with members appointed by the President of Radom, is chaired by Jerzy Jarzębski, who works together with Ewa Graczyk, Anna Kałuża, Zofia Król, Zbigniew Kruszyński Józef Olejniczak, Justyna Sobolewska and Tomasz Tyczyński as the Secretary.
The prize is awarded for the debut book, that is the first or second book written in artistic prose in Polish. The Award Committee has adopted a broad definition of the debut to give a chance to those authors whose first published work was to a certain degree a false start. There have been cases in the history of literature when the second book was actually a proper and valuable debut and the first one was quickly forgotten by both the critics and the author himself. A failed, premature debut may close the road to a literary success of much better and more important books. To avoid such situations the Award Committee cast a wider, double net to pick out the most valuable new talent in Polish prose.
This sort of ‘chess’ definition of the debut (chess being his passion) also alludes to Gombrowicz’s own creative biography. In his Polish pre-war period, the patron of the Award published two books and the creation of "Ferdydurke" was partly a reaction to the criticial and unfavorable reviews of his proper debut novel. The rules of the Prize set no further limitations: its winner can be any author of the first or second book written in artistic prose, regardless of age and earlier non-prose achievements. The first Witold Gombrowicz Literary Prize was awarded in in 2016.
On 4 September 2016, the Award Committee of the Prize given by the President of Radom in cooperation with the Witold Gombrowicz Museum announced the winners: Weronika Murek received it for a collection of short stories „Uprawa roślin południowych metodą Miczurina” and Maciej Hen for his novel „Solfatara”. The winners were chosen from among more than sixty competition entries.
The Award Committee’s announcement:
"The Award Committee of the Witold Gombrowicz Prize - Ewa Graczyk, Jerzy Jarzębski (the Chairman), Anna Kałuża, Zofia Król, Zbigniew Kruszyński, Józef Olejniczak, Justyna Sobolewska and Tomasz Tyczyński (the Secretary without a vote) met on 4 September 2016 and, after a long and heated debate, decided to award two equal first prizes for a prose debut of 2015 (the rules of the Prize significantly broaden the definition of the debut work to include the first or the first two books of the candidates). The choice of the winners was not easy because of the equally high level of the five works shortlisted for the Prize. [...]
We cannot stress enough that the ‘two first prizes’ are not a result of a lack of a book worthy of the award, as is often the case, but a response to ‘a problem of abundance’.
The Gombrowicz Prize Nominations 2016
In June 2016, "after careful consideration and heated debate" the Award Committee chose five nominees:
Maciej Hen for his novel "Solfatara" (WAB), Agnieszka Klos for a collection of short stories " Gry w Birkenau" (Fundacja na Rzecz Kultury i Edukacji im. T. Karpowicza), Weronika Murek for " Uprawa roślin południowych metodą Miczurina" (Wydawnictwo Czarne), Maciej Płaza for his novel entitled "Skoruń" (WAB), and Tomasz Wiśniewski for his book " O pochodzeniu łajdaków, czyli opowieści z metra" (Lokator).
Instytucja współprowadzona przez Samorząd Województwa Mazowieckiego oraz Ministra Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego