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Janusz Korczak novel published in English

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 10.08.2012 12:34
A celebrated book by one of Poland's most esteemed children's authors, the late Janusz Korczak, has been published in English for the first time.

Kaytek the Wizard: illustration by Avi Katz

Kaytek the Wizard, which was originally published in 1933 as Kajtus Czarodziej, tells the tale of a schoolboy who gains magical powers.

Although the young Kaytek initially finds the lure of getting up to mischief irresistible, he eventually leaves his home town, and endeavours to channel his powers to positive effect.

The tale has been translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, a recipient of the Polish Book Institute's Found in Translation Award for outstanding translations of Polish literature.

While several Polish critics have drawn comparisons with J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, Lloyd-Jones says that the comparisons are not wholly accurate.

“Although Harry Potter faces adversity from cruel adults too, his world does not share the painful reality of Kaytek's existence,” she reflected in an interview with Poland's official cultural institute, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.

“Korczak wanted to help difficult children find ways to express themselves, and to overcome their troubles, so his aims were not purely to entertain,” she added.

A committed advocate of children's rights, Janusz Korczak (b. Henryk Goldzmit) was a noted Warsaw physician who founded an orphanage that boasted its own newspaper, parliament and court.

An assimilated Polish Jew, his most famed work for children is King Matt the First (the only other of Korczak's children's tales to have been translated into English) which was described by author Michael Morpurgo as “one of the great classics.”

2012 is the official Year of Korczak in Poland, chiming in with the 100th anniversary of the opening of his Warsaw orphanage, as well as the 70th anniversary of his death at the hands of the occupying Nazi Germans in 1942.

Kaytek the Wizard has been released by New York imprint Penlight Publications, with illustrations by Israeli artist Avi Katz.

A Polish film version of the novel is currently in production. (nh)

tags: korczak
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