European First Novel Festival - 2015


European First Novel Festival will be held for the 15th time within the frame of the Book Festival to introduce talented young authors from the members of the European Union. This event is a joint effort of 28 EU-member countries. Guest from Poland: Żanna Słoniowska

Saturday 25 April 2015, 3:45 pm


Budapest II. Kis Rókus u. 16–20.

photo: Adrian Błachut

Żanna Słoniowska was born in 1978 in Lviv and is a Ukrainian journalist and translator of Polish extraction. She lives in Kraków. She is the first winner of a new prize founded by the publishing house, Znak, for the best novel. Her winning entry, The House with a Stained-Glass Window, was chosen from among almost a thousand submissions.


The House with a Stained-Glass Window, Wydawnictwo Znak, Kraków 2015

She would never have met Mikołaj if not for the vast, multi-coloured stained-glass window in one of Lviv’s apartment houses. Together they try to save it from demolition. The thread of understanding that develops between them soon grows into mutual passion.

The mature Mikołaj shows his much younger girlfriend the hidden side of Lviv – a city of crumbling balconies, apartment houses with elaborately sculpted façades, and vandalized statues of Lenin.

The House with a Stained-Glass Window is about opening one’s eyes to history and art, about the unforeseeable incidents that affect our lives, and about revolution, which turns the world upside down and takes away our loved ones. And finally it’s about a newly awakened desire for liberty, to live and to think freely.

As Słoniowska says of her own novel: “While I was writing this book, the shedding of blood for a free Ukraine was in the realm of fiction. Unfortunately in February 2014 it became fact.”