Through a Child’s Eyes: Swallowing Mercury with Wioletta Greg

Mon 16 Jan 2017, 6:45pm – 9:00pm, Free Word Centre, book here.
Polish writer Wioletta Greg introduces her book Swallowing Mercury, the tale of a girl growing up in communist Poland and trying to make sense of it in her own way.


Swallowing Mercury is the second prose book by award-winning Polish writer Wioletta Greg.

This poetic yet gritty story of a childhood in rural Poland veers between the beautiful and the grotesque, mystery and myth, ugly reality and dreamlike imagery.

Communist politics trickle down into little Wiola’s life and she tries to make sense of it in her own way. There’s family, taxidermy, bees, a broken thermometer, and a matchbox collection.

Wioletta Greg is a poet and every line of this haunting autobiographical novella has its own weird, beautiful atmosphere. – Max Porter (Portobello Books)

To celebrate Swallowing Mercury’s publication in January 2017 and ahead of the Polish Market Focus at London Book Fair in March 2017, come and listen to Wioletta Greg discuss how she weaves the tale of her childhood within Wiola’s.

Wioletta will be joined by her translator, Eliza Marciniak, who will explore the process of translating the book into English.

With thanks to Marta Dziurosz, Free Word Associate and Translator in Residence at Free Word 2015-2016.


Wioletta Greg (Wioletta Grzegorzewska) is a Polish writer; she was born in a small village in 1974 in the Jurassic Highland of Poland. In 2006, she left Poland and moved to the UK. Between 1998–2012 she published six poetry volumes, as well as a novella, Guguły, which spans her childhood and her experience of growing up in Communist Poland. Her short stories and poems have been published in Asymptote, the Guardian, Litro Magazine, Poetry Wales, Wasafiri and The White Review. Her works have been translated into English, Catalan, French, Spanish and Welsh.

Eliza Marciniak is an editor and translator. She lives in London.

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