This year, the Nike Literary Award went to Zbigniew Rokita for his book “Kajś. A Tale of Upper Silesia.” The author was also awarded the Nike Readers’ Award.
“I denied my Silesian identity. In elementary school, Mrs. Chmiel played the Rota accordion for us, and I had no idea that the German from the song, spitting in the face, was my ancestor. I knew little about my roots. I did not believe that any history had taken place in Silesia before the war. When I went there, I found: nearly a million people declaring a non-existent nationality, an ecological catastrophe of unknown size, stories about the Polish colony, separatism, and people cheering for the wrong representation,” he said.
This year’s final of the competition was dominated by reportages; there were four of the seven nominated books.
The Nike Literary Award has been awarded since 1997 for the best book of the previous year. The competition is open to titles representing all literary genres, including humanistic works of “outstanding literary value.” Nike cannot be awarded posthumously, cannot be divided, or not awarded. In the spring, the jury presents a long list of nominees of 20 books. At the turn of summer and autumn, they reveal the final seven.
The founders of the PLN 100,000 award are “Gazeta Wyborcza” daily and the Agora Foundation. Previous winners of Nike include Wiesław Myśliwski, Czesław Miłosz, Stanisław Barańczak, Tadeusz Różewicz, Andrzej Stasiuk, Dorota Masłowska, Olga Tokarczuk, Marek Bieńczyk, Cezary Łazarewicz, Mariusz Szczygieł. Last year, Nike was won by Radek Rak for “A Tale of a Snake’s Heart or a Second Word About Jakób S