Bernard O’Connor Award 2022 presented to translator Maciej Świerkocki
News30 June 2022
Ambassador of Ireland to Poland, Emer O’Connell, presents the Bernard O’Connor Award to Maciej Świerkocki, 15 June 2022.
On the occasion of the Embassy of Ireland’s “Bloomsday” reception on 15 June, the Irish Ambassador to Poland, Emer O’Connell, presented the Bernard O’Connor Award to Maciej Świerkocki, author of the new Polish translation of James Joyce’s Ulysses. The award recognises the significance of this work in further developing literary connections between Ireland and Poland.
Maciej Świerkocki is the fifth recipient of the Bernard O’Connor Award, which celebrates those who have made a significant contribution to friendship, cooperation and understanding between Ireland and Poland. The award was established by the Irish Embassy in 2018 and honours another important figure in the story of Irish-Polish relations, Bernard O’Connor. Once a physician at the court of King Jan Sobieski III, the Irish man also wrote the first history of Poland in English.
Commenting on the decision to give the award to Maciej Świerkocki this year, Ambassador O’Connell said: “Given the extraordinary dedication of Maciej Świerkocki to this translation over seven years, and the impact and reception of this work across Poland since its publication in October 2021, it was beyond doubt that Maciej Świerkocki was the deserved winner this year. It is also most fitting that this translation comes as we mark 100 years since the first publication of Ulysses in 1922.”
Speaking at the reception, Maciej Świerkocki thanked the Ambassador for the award, outlining his many reasons and motivation for embarking on such a project. “It has been over 50 years since Ulysses was first translated into Polish. Given the time that has passed and how the world has changed since then, I felt that I could give my own contribution to Joyce and his writing, which is so dear to me.”
Maciej Świerkocki also published an accompanying guide to Ulysses, entitled Łódź Ulissesa, which provides Polish readers with an additional resource to access and appreciate Ulysses more fully.
About the author
Maciej Świerkocki, a native of Łódź, is a translator of English-language literature, screenwriter, writer and critic. He graduated in English (1985) and philosophy (1988) at the University of Łódź. In the years 1987-2011 he was a researcher at the University of Łódź at the Institute of Contemporary Culture (cultural studies).
He has contributed to many magazines in Poland, including "Literatura na świecie", "Playboy", "Odra", "ExLibris", "Film" and "Film na świecie". He is also published in several magazines overseas, such as Tampa Review (USA) and The Yellow Nib (Northern Ireland). He is an author of several novels, including Lizabójca, czyli zabawy barbarzyńców and graphic novel Narod zatracenia (together with Mariusz Sołtysik).
He was awarded the Gold Medal of the University of Łódź in 2010. In 2014, he was awarded the Gloria Artis Bronze Medal for Merit to Culture. In 2015, he was recognised for “Service to the City of Łódź", as well as the "Literatura na świecie" award in 2014 in the prose category for his translation of the novel Candy by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg.
Maciej Świerkocki was nominated for an "Orzeł" – Polish Film Award in 2003 for his screenplay of the feature film There and Back (together with Anna Świerkocka) directed by Wojciech Wójcik.
He is the first Pole to sit on the jury of the prestigious Dublin IMPAC International Literary Award 2014. He is an ordinary member of the Association of Polish Writers and the Polish Film Academy, as well as an honorary member of the Association of LiteraryTranslators.
On May 13, 2022, he received the City of Łódź Award for his new translation of James Joyce's Ulysses and for the accompanying reader’s guide, Łódź Ulissesa.
About the Award
The Bernard O’Connor Award is an annual award presented by the Embassy of Ireland in Poland to individuals or organisations who have played a lead role in developing relations between Ireland and Poland.
The previous recipients of the Bernard O’Connor Award are:
- The Irish Culture Foundation in Poznań, for their work in promoting Irish culture, heritage and language in Poland (2021).
- St. Patrick’s Foundation, for their charity work and fundraising to support Polish medical and front-line organisations (2020).
- Department of Celtic Studies at the Catholic University of Lublin, for the teaching and promotion of the Irish Language in Poland on the occasion of their 30th anniversary (2019).
- Writer, translator and literary critic Antoni Libera, for his work promoting Samuel Beckett in Poland (2018).