This year OFF Festival will bring you not only fantastic concerts (M.I.A., Charlotte Gainsbourg or Ariel Pink), but also the Literary Café where you will be able to meet with writers, listen to radio plays and discuss literature. We interviewed Sylvia Chutnik – the curator of OFF’s literary corner. 

– 20/07/2018 –


What is the theme of this year’s edition of the Literary Café at the OFF Festival?

The word „sometimes”! Everyone from time to time does something that doesn’t define them. But it makes them try new things, experiment, try something different than before. These actions obviously involve risk but thus they are even more interesting from the artistic perspective. We want to discuss what is significant for the contemporary literature and the authors. We don’t want to stay trapped in the genres, poses and conflicts of the literary milieu. This is why, we raise different topics – cooking, sex, song writing, filming letters, describing reality and even killing.


You are the curator of the event, you design the programme, and you run the meetings. Which part of the programme you are especially looking forward to?

Looking back at my experiences from last year, I will probably be so stressed with the organisation that I will hardly remember what was going on. But I am looking forward to meet all the authors – in the end it was me who invented the programme and invited them. I am very eager to see how the radio play will be received. It will have its premiere in the Literary Café. It is based on the novel “Zły” (Eng. “The Man With White Eyes”), by Leopold Tyrmand and it will take us to the 1950s. Thanks to the play we will be able to “see” the sound live.


Go to a concert, or talk about books – it must be a difficult decision for the audience. Do you like concerts and festivals yourself? Is there any especially memorable one that comes to your mind?


I love the festival atmosphere and the audience, who react very spontaneously to what’s going on. I often go to various music or literary festivals and I know how much I can take – usually after four concerts in a row I need a break to recharge. I hope that the Literary Café is a good place to rest from the music, but at the same time, to participate in something engaging. I know that there are people who come to OFF Festival just to participate in the literary discussions, they are present at all the meetings. I like literary festivals myself – Big Book Festival or Apostrof. OFF, Opener and Jarocin are also very important music events to me. And, of course, Nowe Horyzonty film festiwal. You could actually spend the whole holidays just travelling from festival to festival.


What are the concerts in this year’s OFF programme you can’t wait for? 

I like it that each year at OFF there are very original and charismatic female artists. This year it’s M.I.A. and Charlotte Ginsbourg. I also want to see  Hańba and  Kult – I am really curious how they will be playing the entire 1988’s “Spokojnie” record. Then there are Panieneczki and Kapela ze Wsi Warszawawith their new approach to traditional music. There will be many surprises too, I always discover something new for myself at OFF.


In the programme of the Literary Café there is also reading with accompanying music – what’s that about?

Zyta Rudzka, Magda Grzebałkowska and Marcin Kącki will be reading their books and the invited musicians will be improvising to their texts. Last year the result was very interesting – we were listening to fantastic interpretations by the authors themselves and the music was also adding yet another new interpretation level.


Great! See you at OFF!

Sylwia Chutnik photo by Wojciech Rudzki


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