Who are we?
The Institute of Literature is a national cultural institution, established in February 2019 by the Order of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. The purpose of the IoL is to implement the country’s cultural policy in the field of contemporary Polish literature, but its activity also covers other related arts, as well as literary studies and literary education.
IoL staff and collaborators not only include those who work in and around literature but also those who create it. Our goal is to make our presence felt among writers and take them under our wing.
Where does our money come from?
The IoL is funded from an earmarked budget, awarded annually by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, which goes toward its statutory objectives, as well as from resources acquired on an irregular basis for specific purposes from state authorities, local governments, private foundations, public benefit organizations and private sponsors. All these resources are employed to fund permanent, long-term and temporary programs launched and conducted in response to the identified needs of the literary community in Poland.
Who do we work for?
Our activities are targeted at all those who need and show an interest in literature and care about its growth. Accordingly, we work for writers and readers, literary critics, researchers, translators, publishers, booksellers, librarians, and literary event organizers.
Our goal, however, is not so much to promote readership as to initiate various forms of experiencing the most recent works of contemporary literature, as well as to inspire writers and provide them with financial and organizational support. As part of our comprehensive support program for contemporary literature, we have been working to raise the general level of reading competence, especially among young people and students, as well as to promote various forms of participation in current Polish literary life.
How do we work?
In order to fulfill our mission, we also work in publishing. The IoL publishes a high-circulation arts quarterly entitled “Nowy Napis. Liryka, epika, dramat”, which aims to track the most important developments in Polish literature, confront various ideologies and aesthetics, initiate serious debate, and build a platform for the exchange of opinion in the field. “Nowy Napis” is open to submissions from writers whose works take up original themes and show high artistic quality. Apart from the magazine, we also publish a series of popular monographs devoted to the authors and critics of the contemporary period in the broadest sense.
More than seven thousand copies of our magazine, along with a set of the critical books mentioned above, are distributed free of charge among high-school and university libraries, as well as selected public libraries across Poland, Polish cultural and diplomatic centers throughout the world, cultural institutions. Some are gifted to public figures interested in recent literature; the rest of the circulation is sold on the market.
The IoL also publishes a series known as “Biblioteka Pana Cogito”, which includes scholarly monographs on contemporary literature by prominent Polish and foreign researchers. In addition, it publishes fiction and poetry, as well as books about literature, and supports other publishers in the framework of its programs.
As an important element of our publishing activity, we also publish a “permanent periodical”, widely available online, which follows and fuels current literary life by publishing book reviews, recounting literary events, and holding interviews with a variety of writers. Other online activities include a continually updated archive of contemporary literature, an online TV channel, and a collection of writer profiles.
We believe that the state aid intended for culture should go to those who make Polish literature possible, i.e. to writers and the organizers of literary life. We make a conscious effort to provide them with financial support, purchasing their texts and paying decent author’s fees. We strive to provide writers with the right conditions to promote their work, support them financially, and look for practical ways to show our appreciation of their creativity.