This year’s Nike Award goes to a veterinarian with heart of gold towards animals.
This year’s Nike Literary Award went to Radek Rak for “A Tale of a Snake’s Heart or a Second Word About Jakób Szeli”. The title of the novel alludes to Bruno Jasieński’s “Word about Jakóbie Szela”. The author, Radek Rak, is a veterinarian and writer, he comes from a family with rural roots.
The figure of Jakub Szela fascinated him for a long time. As he said, he came to the conclusion that the story of the Galician raid is dominated by the voices of its victims – Galician landowners. His book tells about the events of 1848 from the perspective of rebellious peasants.
NIKE AWARD 2020. NOMINATED FOR THE TITLE >>>
Radek Rak, born in 1987, was awarded a Golden Distinction in 2017 in the Jerzy Żuławski Literary Award for his book Empty Sky, and was nominated for the Janusz A. Zajdel Award. “A Tale of a Snake’s Heart or a Second Word About Jakób Szela” was also nominated for, among others, the Gdynia Literary Award, and was also on the list of the 10 best books of the year of the “Books” bimonthly.
“I slept like a rock until a moment ago”
Radek Rak was a guest of TVN24 on Monday morning. Among other things, he talked about the gala at which he received the Nike literary award. – An emotional evening, of course, and always after an emotional evening, right after returning to the hotel, I went to sleep and slept like a rock until a moment ago – he said. “It must have been a huge surprise for me,” he added.
He also talked about combining writing with the work of a vet. – If I am wearing an apron, I am first of all a veterinarian, and if I do not, as I am now, and I am still in Warsaw and the day after the Nike gala, then I am probably a writer first. It will probably change in a few hours when I come back to Krakow – he said.
Radek Rak, winner of this year’s NikeTVN24 award
– It’s not that one sphere is more or less dominant than the other, of course both are very absorbing. Both give me great pleasure and satisfaction – Rak assured.
He admitted that it had already happened that people would come to veterinary visits with his books. – They were often people I saw for the first time in my life, who came to see what I look like. There was a situation where I was examining a pet, browsing a book and I see that these people expect me to say something innovative, wise, original, and then I say that Mikuś has to be dewormed – he said. As he said, he encountered such situations several times. – It is of course very nice and pleasant to hear, and I am glad that people also read books and that they come with it – added the TVN24 guest. 🏆
– I find time to write when I have to. I mean all the time. In fact, if everything is organized well, there is a lot of writing time. This is the time spent between breakfast and going to work, on the train, on the road, in the evening. In fact, I try to write something at every free moment, because I am aware that both jobs are very demanding. If I do not write, if I do not impose some iron discipline on myself, I will not write anything – said the writer about his work.
“I had to mature a bit as a human” 🐕🦺🐇
In the conversation, he also talked about Jakub Szela. – This is a character that has accompanied me since childhood. Of course, Jakub Szela in my home country has his own white folk legend, in which he grows up to the archetype of a good robber, protector of the people, a little Janosik, a little Robin Hood. This was in fact the first narrative about Shela I came across. Of course, later I found out what the historical truth was. On the other hand, this discrepancy, the dissonance between the legend and reality, was something very fascinating for me, and probably the idea was on my mind for many, many years before I finally sat down and started writing this novel – said Rak. 📖📚
He added that the book was being written for two years. – I was aware that in order to get down to this topic, to deal with it, first of all, I have to gain a lot of knowledge about it, to be able to speak at all and not tell stupid things. Secondly, I also had to mature a bit as a human being, because for the first time the idea of writing anything about Jakub Szela came to my mind many, many years ago, of course, but after a dozen or so pages I abandoned it, being aware that, firstly, I don’t know anything, and secondly , still as a human being, I am too young to be able to do it. One day the time came for me to think that I would bear it after all. And I wrote – he added.
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“I had to mature a bit as a human” TVN24
He stated that they were writing this book, he was not aware that it was she who would make him reach an even wider audience. – I was firmly convinced that this is a book that will somehow exist in the fantasy community I come from, but I completely did not assume that it would break through somewhere else – said Rak. – Each subsequent nomination or each subsequent notice of this novel, whether in the press, in critical and literary reviews, or in general by readers, because the book was very well received by non-fantastic readers, was always a great surprise for me – he added.
“Schulz remains an unmatched role model for me”
Among his literary inspirations, the winner of the Nike award mentioned Bruno Schulz. “Which is probably alive in all of my texts somewhere,” he said.
– I hope that I have already managed to write a little out of this Schulz with “A Tale of a Serpent Heart” and leave him, but to catch my own language, my own way of writing about reality, my own way of thinking about reality, even though Schulz remains an unsurpassed model and probably the most important writer in his life – added Rak.
He also mentioned his writing plans. – When I finished writing “A Tale of a Snake’s Heart”, I was in the process of writing the book I always wanted to write. I’ve always dreamed of such a great epic fantasy book, and since I didn’t assume there would be “A Tale of a Snake’s Heart” somewhere outside of the usual fan universe, I wrote it. And I’m going to keep writing it. There is also a topic that I would like to raise in another novel, which I also need to mature and about which I need to learn a lot. I wanted to write a novel about the Jews of Dębica, that is, about the inhabitants of my hometown before World War II. Make a panorama of this novel about these Polish, Jewish and Ruthenian relations. However, it is still, I think, a long way ahead for me – said the TVN24 guest.