Angelika Kuźniak – Papusza


Papusza is an author who goes beyond any label. She was a Polish poet but of Romani descent and nobody knew about her or when and where she was born. Perhaps had not Jerzy Ficowski made her known by spreading her poems she would have stayed unknown. However, due to this reason, Papusza’s story is striking and fascinating. She grew up a simple and apparently uncouth woman and yet she was deep and suffering. This woman was portrayed in a movie by Krzysztof and Joanna Krauze in 2013 and, one year earlier, in a book published by Czarne and written by Angelika Kuźniak; its title? Just Papusza.

To dig deeper into a book that its own publisher labels as reportage, but that is actually much more complex than that just like Papusza herself was, we talked with the author. Kuźniak is a writer whose books are akin to portraits of exceptional women where words help drawing a perfectly balanced picture between subtlety and in-depth analysis.

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A quick guide to the Polish reportage

Polish Reportage

One of the very first things foreigners may notice once they arrive in Poland or move there is that people still read on public transports. Polish commuters flip through free press and chick-lit, but prefer engrossing themselves in quality dailies such as Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzeczpospolita or in weeklies such as Polityka or Newsweek Polska. What they seem to enjoy even more, though, is good old paper books with the occasional e-book reader popping up. By looking at or asking what kind of stuff Poles read, the foreign observer will soon find out that it’s mostly non-fiction. And their subject of choice is often a specific kind of journalism known as reportage here. The term dates back to the 17th century French verb ‘reporter’ meaning to ‘carry back.’ However, in both British and American English reportage is rarely used.

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