Wivenhoe Bookshop Magazine & Newsletter | Thursday 9 July 2020

Wivenhoe Writer Awarded Top International Medal

Earlier this year Wivenhoe writer Anita Jones Debska was awarded the prestigious Medal for Merit to Culture by the Republic of Poland in acknowledgement of her distinguished contribution to Polish culture and national heritage through her books on Polish poetry and prose. The Wivenhoe Bookshop imprint, Wivenbooks, is proud to have published three of her books, and we are delighted that she has been honoured in this way.

The Gloria Artis Medal is a decoration awarded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland, and was bestowed by the Polish Ambassador to the Court of St James, Professor Arkady Rzegocki at a recent ceremony at the Polish Embassy in London.

Prof Rzegocki said “It was a great honour and privilege to present the Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis to three outstanding ambassadors of Polish culture: Adam Czerniawski, Anita Jones-Dębska and Antonia Lloyd-Jones. Thanks to them, Poland is becoming more well known in Great Britain and the world”

Anita Jones Debska went to teach at a Polish university In 1958 aged 22, knowing little of Poland, and nothing of its language, and thus beginning a life-long love affair with the country and its culture.

She has previously written a book about Adam Mickiewicz, and has translated a wide range of Polish verse, and she currently lives in Wivenhoe. Anita champions Polish poetry and culture, and is a frequent speaker at the Essex Book Festival and the Felixstowe Book Festival.

Migrant Birds; Poems by Adam Mickiewicz published by Wivenbooks in 2012 featured poems by Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855), national bard in the 19th century struggle for Polish independence, and  still Poland’s best-known poet. His early poetry initiated Polish romanticism, and his own biography reads like a story of the archetypal Romantic.

The Well-tempered Lute; Poems from Poland’s Golden Age published by Wivenbooks in 2013 introduced the Golden Age of Polish lyric poetry to readers of verse in English.

In the 16th century the Republic of Poland-Lithuania was home to a golden age of humanist culture and science, and saw the flowering of Polish Poetry. The poets in this collection wrote of love and grief, the injustices of the world and the struggles of the soul, joy in living and the mutability of life with a freshness that still touches us.

The Language Land, published by Wivenbooks in 2018 presents images of the Polish countryside in the words of nineteenth-century Polish writers accompanied by modern photographs of Polish landscapes, a personal selection on the part of translator and photographer.

After Poland was partitioned by its neighbours in 1795 and disappeared from the map, the poets in exile created a ‘language-land’ from their native landscapes and writers still living in the territory of the former Republic recorded ongoing rural life and

Anita Jones Debska

traditions. The book is a tribute to those forced into exile who preserved the sense of Polish identity and attachment to their country.

The Wivenbooks Press applauded Anita’s achievement with a special celebratory tea at The Pier in Harwich.