A talk about the book at the Bruno Schulz Festival in Drohobych, Ukraine
I recently got back from Drohobych, in which Bruno Schulz Festival takes place every two years. I was invited with author Nadia Terranova to present the book. Drohobych is the town in which Schulz was born, grew up, worked and eventually got killed in November 1942. It was interesting and different, and not only because while the festival defines itself as international, most of the lectures and shows were in Polish or Ukrainian. We visited Schulz house and also Villa Landau (The house of Felix Landau, the Gestapo officer of Drohobych, who took Schulz to work for him and paint murals of Grimm tales for his children’s bedroom). We couldn’t get in though, because it is a private property. We also went to the place where Schulz got killed, the actual spot where he was shot by another SS officer.
It was a strange experience, because when you create illustrations to a story which involves realism and fantasy, and you refer to events that actually happened, some kind of visual “false memories” are formed and shaped in your mind in a certain way. In this way I imagined it all, until my visit to Drohobych. The encounter with “reality” is so different, that it’s hard to put it all together, all the sketches, drawings and paintings and then the real physical surroundings.
In such festival you get to meet not only Schulz fans but also people who are dedicated to Bruno Schulz's work - translators and experts from all over the world. Again I realized that translators are often very modest people, talented, smart and having a lot of knowledge and love to their work (and to Schulz’s) and above all exceptionally creative, and all that while being behind-the-scenes kind of people. Meeting such people fills you with much respect and appreciation.