Presidential couple launch National Reading event

Polish actors and actresses (pictured center and right) were invited took part in the joint reading sessions. Tomasz Gzell/PAP

Polish President Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda inaugurated the 8th edition of the National Reading campaign at the Saski Garden in Warsaw on Sunday, with eight short Polish novels selected for the programme.

The annual event was scheduled to take place in over 3,000 locations across Poland and abroad.

The president said that this year's edition was different, more difficult and that the novels to be read feature various styles. He said that the selected works pertained to the historical changes in Poland, the longing for independence, the regaining of independence, deep patriotism, and compassion.

First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda noted that this was the first national event, during which works written by women (Eliza Orzeszkowa and Maria Konopnicka) were to be read.

This year's choices, as selected by the Presidential couple, included The Good Lady (Dobra pani) by Eliza Orzeszkowa, Smoke (Dym) by Maria Konopnicka, The Barrel Organ (Katarynka) by Bolesław Prus, My Father Joins the Fire Brigade (Moj ojciec wstepuje do strażaków) by Bruno Schulz, Tilling (Orka) by Władysław Reymont, Ravens and Crows Will Peck Us to Pieces (Rozdziobą nas kruki, wrony) by Stefan Żeromski, Sachem by Henryk Sienkiewicz, as well as Sawa by Henryk Rzewuski.

Polish actors and actresses were invited took part in the joint reading sessions.

The National Reading campaign is an initiative established in 2012 which involves public readings of outstanding works of Polish literature. The annual event is organised by groups of neighbours, social organisations, local governments, as well as schools, libraries, and theatres. It aims to popularise the wealth of the Polish literary tradition, promote reading, and strengthen the national identity. Works read in previous years included Master Thaddeus (Pan Tadeusz) by national bard Adam Mickiewicz, writings by 19th-century satirist Aleksander Fredro, The Trilogy (Trylogia) by Henryk Sienkiewicz, The Doll (Lalka) by Bolesław Prus, and the Nobel-winning Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz.