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Kapuściński
This is London. Life and Death in the World City (Nowi londyńczycy)
Ben Judah

translated from the English by Barbara Gutowska-Nowak

published by Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego

World City
Here is a city that mirrors the world. Some come here to fight for survival, others – to show off their wealth. A princess from the Persian Gulf, waiting in a cloud of marihuana smoke for her time to get married, a dealer from Grenada and a policemen from Nigeria, a Polish clerk in love and a Pakistani Imam singing to the dead – these are just some of the characters we encounter. Exploring London Judah hungrily absorbs human stories so as to touch their core. The result is a deeply moving Dickensian parable about hardship and a struggle for dignity, about human failures and hopes in time of global capitalism.
Olga Stanisławska

An encounter that makes a difference

Chairperson of the Jury, Olga Stanisławska, writes on ‘This is London. Life and Death in the World City’ (‘Nowi Londyńczycy’) by Ben Judah, translated by Barbara Gutowska-Nowak

On the first night of his journey through London Ben Judah will sleep in an underground passage underneath the exclusive Marble Arch shopping mall. Tired, frightened people camp out on pieces of cardboard. What has brought them here? “Crops in northern Romania sold for nothing” – Judah hears. Glitz and sweat of a megalopolis in the age of global capitalism reflect the image of the world – every third inhabitant of London was born abroad. Judah knows the statistics but he wants to experience this reality with his own eyes and ears. The city’s cacophony becomes a fascinating polyphony of voices. Some of them we only hear for a heart-wrenching moment, other develop into passionate stories of ambition, love and resentment, of life and death. People who have entrusted their stories to the young reporter will not easily be forgotten. What happens here constitutes the essence of the best kind of classical reportage – a miracle of encountering another human being. Barbara Gutowska-Nowak’s translation reflects the multiplicity of accents of a London street and the evocative style of the author, in which an intense experience of the city is sometimes transformed into a moment of epiphany, and the evening sky or rain pouring before dawn may also become protagonists of the story.

Olga Stanisławska

Book

This is London. Life and Death in the World City (Nowi londyńczycy)
Ben Judah

translated from the English by Barbara Gutowska-Nowak

published by Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego