The Nike Literary Award went to Zbigniew Rokita for his book “Kajś. The Story of Upper Silesia”. It was announced during Sunday’s gala at the University Library in Warsaw. Zbigniew Rokita was also awarded the Nike Readers’ Prize for “Kajś”.
“Kajś” (Somewhere) is a reporter’s story about Upper Silesia.
“For most of my life, I thought of Silesians as cavemen with a pickaxe and a rolling pin. I suppressed my Silesianness. In elementary school, Mrs. Chmiel played Rota on the accordion for us, and I had no idea that the German spitting in my face from the song was my ancestor. I knew little about my roots. I did not believe that any history took place in Silesia before the war. My ancestors were like from another planet, they had some impossible names: Urban, Reinhold, Lieselotte. (…) I decided to poke around, try to put it together. And what I didn’t find there: almost a million people declaring a “non-existent” nationality, an ecological disaster of unknown proportions, stories about a Polish colony, about separatism, and people cheering for the wrong national team. This is our silezjogonia,” wrote the author in the preface.
This year, in an online poll, the readers also indicated the best book among those awarded at all 25 editions of the Nike Awards – this distinction went to the book “Nie ma” (There is no) by Mariusz Szczygieł (winner in 2019).
The Nike Literary Award is given each year for the best book of the previous year. The competition is open to titles representing all literary genres, including humanistic works “of outstanding literary value”. Nike cannot be awarded posthumously, it cannot be divided or not awarded. The jury presents a long list of nominees in spring, so 20 books. Then, they reveal the final seven at the end of the summer and the beginning of the fall.