At the heart of Polish language and literature, Krakow is celebrated for its publishing tradition dating back to the 16th century. Home to over 75 bookstores and nearly 100 publishing companies, the Polish Book Institute and Poland’s oldest university, the Jagiellonian, founded in 1364, Krakow is also recognized for having the first scriptoria, established in the city in the 11th century.
Renowned writers are connected with the city, including Joseph Conrad Korzeniowski, Adam Zagajewski and Nobel Prize Laureates in Literature, Henryk Sienkiewicz and Wisława Szymborska.
Each year several prestigious awards, including the Jan Długosz Prize, the Kazimierz Wyka Award and the Wisława Szymborska Poetry Award are awarded to highly recognized literary figures. Krakow regularly designates a Book of the Month, and every year, the Transatlantyk Award allocates a literary prize for the promotion of Polish literature abroad. In 2011, Krakow joined the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), an association of 40 cities providing persecuted writers with a safe haven to write and live. Krakow also grants residencies in partnership with the Villa Decius Association for ICORN guest writers.
Hosting many literary festivals, including the Conrad Festival, the Milosz Festival, and the largest international Book Fair in Poland, Krakow is also known as a center for avant-garde poetry and is a leader in innovative visual, performance, cyber and kinetic poetry.