Biographer and filmmaker Jane Rogoyska explores in the novel Kozłowski the tragedy of the Katyń Massacre and the pain of post-war Polish exile.
Kozłowski (Holland House Books, May 2019) tells the story of a young Polish army doctor whose life is changed forever by a single, mysterious event: the disappearance, in April 1940, of 4,000 of his comrades from a Soviet interrogation camp in Starobelsk, Ukraine. Exiled in post-war London, Kozłowski builds a new life, working to convince himself that the past cannot affect him. In reality, the past is the only place he longs to be. As the silence surrounding his lost comrades deepens, his attempts to submerge his feelings threaten to destroy him. A novel about loss, memory and guilt, written in sparse and elegant prose.
In this event, author and critic Boyd Tonkin will discuss with Jane Rogoyska the challenges and rewards of writing fiction that is based on real events. They will explore the aftermath of Poland’s wartime experience in culture, history and memory, the dilemmas of identity and belonging that arise for the children of exiles and émigrés, and the power of the myths that try to make sense of a troubled past.