Olga Tokarczuk: Flights

Join us and Fitzcarraldo Editions at the Calvert 22 Bookshop for the launch of Olga Tokarczuk‘s latest book of stories Flights, which was awarded Poland’s biggest literary prize, the Nike.

Many consider Olga Tokarczuk to be the most important Polish writer of her generation. She’ll be in conversation with James Woodall of The Economist about the book, her literary career, and a range of topics explored in Flights, which intertwines travel narratives with observations on the body, life and death, and the very nature of humankind. The book’s translator Jennifer Croft will also be on hand for a reading.

This event is supported by the Polish Cultural Institute.

Read an excerpt from Flights in The Calvert Journal here.

About the book

Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft

Flights, a novel about travel in the twenty-first century and human anatomy, is Olga Tokarczuk’s most ambitious to date. It interweaves travel narratives and reflections on travel with an in-depth exploration of the human body, broaching life, death, motion, and migration. From the seventeenth century, we have the story of the Dutch anatomist Philip Verheyen, who dissected and drew pictures of his own amputated leg. From the eighteenth century, we have the story of a North African-born slave turned Austrian courtier stuffed and put on display after his death. In the nineteenth century, we follow Chopin’s heart as it makes the covert journey from Paris to Warsaw. In the present we have the trials of a wife accompanying her much older husband as he teaches a course on a cruise ship in the Greek islands, and the harrowing story of a young husband whose wife and child mysteriously vanish on a holiday on a Croatian island. With her signature grace and insight, Olga Tokarczuk guides the reader beyond the surface layer of modernity and towards the core of the very nature of humankind.

“A magnificent writer.”

– Svetlana Alexievich, Nobel Prize in Literature laureate 2015

“One among a very few signal European novelists of the past quarter-century.”

– The Economist

“Reading Flights is like finally hearing from a weird old best friend you lost touch with years ago and assumed was gone forever because people that amazing and inventive just don’t last. Wrong – they were off rediscovering the world on your behalf, just as Olga Tokarczuk does.”

– Toby Litt, author of Hospital

“I have always considered her a person of great literary abilities. With Flights I have my proof. This is one of the most important Polish books I have read for years.”

– Jerzy Sosnowski

About the author

Olga Tokarczuk is one of Poland’s best and most beloved authors. In 2015 she received the Brueckepreis and the prestigious annual literary award from Poland’s Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, as well as Poland’s highest literary honour, the Nike and the Nike Readers’ Prize. Tokarczuk also received a Nike in 2009 for Flights. She is the author of eight novels and two short story collections and has been translated into a dozen languages.

About the translator

Jennifer Croft is the recipient of Fulbright, PEN, and National Endowment for the Arts grants, as well as the Michael Henry Heim Prize, and her translations from Polish, Spanish, and Ukrainian have appeared in the New York Times, n+1, Electric Literature, The New Republic, BOMB, Guernica, and elsewhere. She holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. She is a founding editor of The Buenos Aires Review.

About James Woodall

James Woodall is a writer, editor and journalist. He has published books on flamenco, Brazilian music, The Beatles and a biography of Jorge Luis Borges, The Man in the Mirror of the Book. He also writes about film and theatre, and for seven years was a Financial Times cultural correspondent in Berlin. Since 2006 he has contributed on arts and books to the Economist, including two pieces about Olga Tokarczuk. He first met Olga in 1998 and today is based in Cambridge.

About the publisher

Fitzcarraldo Editions is an independent publisher specialising in contemporary fiction and long-form essays. Founded in 2014, it focuses on ambitious, imaginative and innovative writing, both in translation and in the English language. Each book, designed by Ray O’Meara of the Office of Optimism, is published as a paperback original with French flaps, using a custom serif typeface (called Fitzcarraldo).

“Fitzcarraldo Editions is probably the most exciting publishing house in the UK right now.”

– Stuart Evers, New Statesman

Booking terms & conditions

A deposit of £5 will be taken in lieu of a ticket, which will be fully refunded when you attend the event or send someone else in your place. Not attending the event and not sending anyone else in your place will mean you lose your deposit. 

Please allow up to 7 business days for your refund to be processed and show up on your account. If it’s past that time, do get in touch with us so we can look into it.

We have a 12-hour cancellation policy, meaning you can cancel your ticket up to 12 hours before the event start time by emailing [email protected] and the deposit will be refunded to your account. For any cancellations made outside this time frame the deposit becomes non-refundable.