The most prestigious distinction for an eminent ambassador of Polish literature abroad, granted by the Book Institute, was awarded this year to Professor Ewa Thompson, a leading American Slavicist and promoter of Polish culture in the United States.
"This award is a signal to me that, for some time now, institutions promoting Polish culture have been focused on something more permanent than occasional speeches and exhibitions. I have been following its fortunes for the past few years, and I believe that it has been awarded to people who are really trying to introduce foreign cultural circles to the wide array of Polish literature, not just the latest productions of celebrities," said the winner.
"Professor Ewa Thompson has been promoting Polish culture in the United States for many years. Her role as a guardian of young Polish scientists in the USA, including at her university in Houston, cannot be overestimated. Professor Thompson is an example that today, we can ‘interpret’ Polish culture literally, but also the way she has been doing for several decades, i.e. publishing magazines, writing books and articles, acting as a patron," stated a member of the Jury for the Award, Professor Maciej Urbanowski.
Ewa Thompson (born August 23, 1937) is a professor emeritus of Slavic studies at Rice University, Houston, where she not only raised successive generations of Slavicists, but also edited (from 1981 to 2018) the Sarmatian Review periodical, in which Slavic themes are the main subject. Sarmatian Review publishes translations from Polish literature, articles on Polish culture, and scientific texts on the culture, history, and societies of Slavic nations.
Professor Thompson's activity was recognised by the Union of Polish Writers Abroad, and, in 2015, she was honoured with an award for the dissemination of Polish culture and literature in the world.
The Transatlantyk Award is an annual award from the Book Institute for an eminent ambassador of Polish literature abroad. It can be awarded to a translator, a publisher, a critic, or an animator of cultural life.