- Marcin SzczygielskiAuthor–Poland
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Marcin Szczygielski (born 1972), is a Polish writer and graphic designer. Szcygielski is an author of theatrical plays as well as of novels for adults and young people. Since December 2012, he has been a member of Stowarzyszenie Pisarzy Polskich (the Polish Writers Association). His debut was PL-BOY (published in 2003)—a fictional, humorous account of the editorial department of the Polish Playboy magazine, of which Szczygielski used to be the art director. The novels that followed—Wiosna PLBOYa (2004), Nasturcje i cwoki (2005), Farfocle namietnosci (2006), Berek (2007), Bierki (2010), Sanato (2014), and Bingo (2015)—established him as one of the most widely read authors of popular literature in Poland. Published in 2011, Poczet Krolowych Polskich was claimed to be the most mature and most ambitious of Szczygielski's novels. This elaborate, multigenerational family saga that portrays contemporary Polish history through the lives of women from four generations was nominated for the Srebrny Kalamarz Literary Prize. Although Marcin Szczygielski's debut was not in children's literature, his books for young people placed him among the most interesting fiction writers in Poland.
Szczygielski says that his imagination is heavily influenced by the classics of European children's literature, especially British fantasy fiction and the works of Lewis Carroll. Magic and supernatural elements and characters are at the crux of the secondary worlds in his novels, starting with the first one, Omega (2009). Szczygielski's literary worlds are usually constructed around intensely experienced events. Whether historical (Rafe and the Ark of Time and The Theatre of Invisible Children), contemporary fantasy (The Black Mill), or realistic (Behind the Blue Door), they affect the outside world and the protagonists' perception of reality. They are connected with danger, risk, change, and anomaly. They bring about transformations, after which the world can never be the same as before. However, the author is not a pessimistic misanthrope. His protagonists are never passive; they bravely face the challenge.
Szczygielski draws his child characters' emotional and mental portraits with profound sensibility and accuracy, and he always emphasizes their otherness. Rafe, from Rafe and the Ark of Time, and Michal, from The Theatre of Invisible Children, are more mature than their age. Lukasz, from Behind the Blue Door, experiences things that no adult can understand, while in a coma. Omega shuns the company of her peers and despises her mother's expectations of her, whilst living her life on the Internet. Maya is a witch. But the most representative example of a child perceiving the world in her own unique way is Mela, from The Black Mill. Born with a severe disability, which makes her unable to move or talk, she requires constant care. Mute and invisible, she is the only one that can communicate with the energy of the Black Mill and thereby save the world. [End Page 31]