National Library receives honorary award from the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport for the Year of Gustaw Herling-Grudziński - News - The National Library

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National Library receives honorary award from the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport for the Year of Gustaw Herling-Grudziński

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The National Library has been granted an honorary award as part of the Annual Awards of the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport, in the category "Protecting Polish Cultural Heritage Abroad". The award recognises not just the National Library's work coordinating the Year of Gustaw Herling-Grudzińskicelebrations but also its digitisation of Herling-Grudziński's works, its publication of Katalog Archiwum Gustawa Herlinga-Grudzińskiego w Fundacji „Biblioteca Benedetto Croce” (A Catalogue of the Gustaw Herling-Grudziński Archive in the "Fondazione Biblioteca Benedetto Croce"), edited by Joanna Borysiak, and the launch of a website devoted to his life and work.

We encourage readers to visit the website, entitled Rok Gustawa Herlinga-Grudzińskiego 2019. It aims to make Herling-Grudziński's works available to a wide audience and was created with the permission of his heirs. Featured items include materials from the writer's archives in the Fondazione Biblioteca Benedetto Croce in Naples, the collection in London and that of the Culture Maisons-Laffitte, plus excerpts from manuscripts and correspondence with his publishers.

Katalog Archiwum Gustawa Herlinga-Grudzińskiego w Fundacji „Biblioteca Benedetto Croce” is available online via the POLONA digital library. The task of organising and preparing an inventory of the archive and digitising the material was carried out over the course of several years by a team of specialists from the National Library of Poland. The entire archive of Herling-Grudziński in Naples has been arranged, catalogued and secured as a permanent monument to the writer's work. On August 12, 2019, the National Library signed an agreement with the Fondazione Biblioteca Benedetto Croce giving all those interested in Herling-Grudziński's legacy access to digital copies of items from the writer's archive from the National Library's reading rooms. An important part of the Archive is its biographical materials, including personal documents, certificates of honorary degrees, literary awards and decorations, such as the Virtuti Militari (awarded for Herling-Grudziński's participation in the Battle of Monte Cassino) and the Order of the White Eagle (Poland's highest order, which he received in 1998). This group of documents also includes letters that he received whilst in the Yertsevo labour camp (including from Professor Juliusz Kleiner) and a small notebook with a metal frame that he bought just after he left the camp, containing notes that he later used in his memoir Inny świat (A World Apart), plus photographs taken while the Polish II Corps was stationed in the Near East.

Herling-Grudziński was an outstanding writer and "journalist in exile". His correspondence is extraordinarily valuable, comprising over 20,000 letters to prominent individuals such as Jerzy Giedroyc, Jerzy Stempowski, Konstanty Jeleński, Czesław Miłosz, Adam Ciołkosz and Lidia Ciołkoszowa, Sławomir Mrożek, Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, Włodzimierz Sznarbachowski, Jan Lebenstein, Kazimierz Wierzyński, Aleksander Wat and Ola Watowa, and Wiktor Weintraub, as well as Italian, English, French and American intellectuals, writers and publishers, among them Giovanni Spadolini, Ignazio Silone, Nicola Chiaromonte, Indro Montanelli, Sergio Romano, Enzo Bettiza, Bertrand Russell, Graham Greene, Albert Camus and William Heinemann, the first publisher of Inny świat.

In celebration of the Year of Gustaw Herling-Grudziński in 2019, the National Library also dedicated the Name Day of Jan Kochanowski event to his honour. Herling-Grudziński's daughter Marta Herling spoke about her father, and she was joined by prominent authors and journalists who discussed how Herling-Grudziński had inspired them.

The Annual Awards of the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport have been granted since 1997. In 2020 the list of winners included 21 individuals and institutions.