Andrzej Sapkowski

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Andrzej Sapkowski
Sapkowski at Lucca Comics & Games 2015
Sapkowski at Lucca Comics & Games 2015
Born (1948-06-21) 21 June 1948 (age 72)
Łódź, Poland
Alma materUniversity of Łódź
GenreFantasy, history
Notable worksThe Witcher saga
The Hussite Trilogy
Notable awardsJanusz A. Zajdel Award
Paszport Polityki
Medal for Merit to Culture - Gloria Artis
World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement
David Gemmell Legend Award
Ignotus Award
European Science Fiction Society Award


Andrzej Sapkowski (Polish pronunciation: [ˈandʐɛj sapˈkɔfskʲi]; born 21 June 1948) is a Polish fantasy writer. He is best known for his book series The Witcher. His works have been translated into over 20 languages.[1]


Sapkowski novels on display occupying two shelves at an Empik bookstore in Katowice, Poland

Sapkowski studied economics at the University of Łódź, and before turning to writing, he had worked as a senior sales representative for a foreign trade company. He started his literary career as a translator, in particular, of science fiction. He says he wrote his first short story, "The Witcher" ("Wiedźmin", also translated "The Hexer" or "Spellmaker") on a whim, in order to enter a contest by Polish science fiction and fantasy magazine Fantastyka. In an interview, he said that being a businessman at the time and thus familiar with marketing, he knew how to sell, and indeed, he won the 3rd prize.[2] The story was published in Fantastyka in 1986 and was enormously successful both with readers and critics. Sapkowski has created a cycle of tales based on the world of "The Witcher", comprising three collections of short stories and five novels. This cycle and his other works have made him one of the best-known fantasy authors in Poland in the 1990s.[3]

The main character of "The Witcher" is Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter trained for this since childhood. Geralt exists in a morally ambiguous universe, yet manages to maintain his own coherent code of ethics. At the same time cynical and noble, Geralt has been compared to Raymond Chandler's signature character Philip Marlowe.[3] The world in which these adventures take place is heavily influenced by Slavic mythology.[4]

Translations of his books and other derivative works[edit]

Sapkowski's books have been translated into Czech, Georgian, Hungarian, Russian, Lithuanian, German, Spanish, French, Chinese, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Finnish, Slovak, Bulgarian, Serbian, English, Italian, Dutch, Turkish, Estonian, Romanian, Korean, Swedish and Croatian. An English translation of The Last Wish short story collection was published by Gollancz in 2007.[5] From 2008, the Witcher saga is published by Gollancz.[6] The English translation of Sapkowski's novel Blood of Elves won the David Gemmell Legend Award in 2009.[7][8]

In 2001, a television series based on the Witcher cycle was released in Poland and internationally, entitled Wiedźmin (The Hexer). A film by the same title was compiled from excerpts of the television series but both have been critical and box office failures.[9]

The Polish game developer, CD Projekt Red, created a role-playing game series based on The Witcher universe. The first game, titled simply The Witcher, was first released in October 2007.[10] The sequel, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was released in 2011.[11] The third game in the trilogy, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, was released in May 2015.[12]

In May 2017, Netflix commissioned The Witcher, an English-language adaptation of the book series. The Witcher television series premiered on Netflix on 20 December 2019. Sapkowski served for a while as a creative consultant on the project.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Andrzej Sapkowski at the 2010 Book World Fair in Prague, Czech Republic

Sapkowski admitted that The Witcher series was created at the request of his son, who was an avid reader of the Polish Fantastyka magazine.[14]

In an interview, Sapkowski mentioned that his favorite writers included Ernest Hemingway, Mikhail Bulgakov, Raymond Chandler and Umberto Eco, and stated "I love their style, but I know I can never match them". When also asked about feminism, Sapkowski said "I believe that the feminine element dominates in nature. Women are generally stronger than men. All power of this world should be in the hands of women. Life, the world are too serious to leave it in our hands".[15]

He resides in his hometown of Łódź in central Poland.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Sapkowski is a recipient of numerous awards from Polish fandom. Sapkowski has won five Zajdel Awards, including three for short stories "Mniejsze zło" ("Lesser Evil") (1990), "Miecz przeznaczenia" ("Sword of Destiny") (1992) and "W leju po bombie" ("In a Bomb Crater") (1993), and two for the novels, Krew elfów (Blood of Elves) (1994) and Narrenturm (2002). He also won the Spanish Ignotus Award, best anthology, for The Last Wish in 2003, and for Muzykanci (The Musicians), best foreign short story, same year. In 2003 he was nominated for one of Poland's most prestigious literary prizes Nike Award for his novel Narrenturm. He also received several Russian fandom awards[16] and was awarded Sfinks Award [pl], the readers' award of the SFinks [pl] magazine, in 1995, 1997, 1998 (two awards), 2000, 2005, 2007.

Since 2008, he has been an honorary citizen of the city of Łódź.

In 2005, Stanisław Bereś conducted a lengthy interview with Sapkowski that was eventually published in a book form as Historia i fantastyka.[24]


The Witcher Saga[edit]

Short story collections[edit]

  • The Witcher (pl:Wiedźmin, 1990), 5 stories. Currently out of print, although 4 of its stories were reprinted in The Last Wish along with new material, and the other one was reprinted in Something ends, Something begins and The Malady and Other Stories.
  • Sword of Destiny (Miecz przeznaczenia, 1992), 6 stories. English edition: 2015[25]
  • The Last Wish (Ostatnie życzenie, 1993), 7 stories. English edition: 2007 (in US: 2008).[26] Its stories (including both its original stories and the stories which it republishes from The Witcher) take place before Sword of Destiny even though it was published later.
  • The short story "The Hexer" in the English anthology Chosen by Fate: Zajdel Award Winner Anthology (by SuperNOVA in cooperation with the Silesian Club of Fantasy Literature, 2000) is an English translation by Agnieszka Fulińska of the short story "The Witcher" which had previously been published in Polish in The Witcher and The Last Wish. The Last Wish was later translated into English in full.
  • The short story "Spellmaker" in the English anthology A Polish Book of Monsters (edited and translated by Michael Kandel, 2010) is another translation of the short story "The Witcher" which had previously been published in The Witcher, The Last Wish, and Chosen by Fate: Zajdel Award Winner Anthology.[27]
  • Something Ends, Something Begins (pl:Coś się kończy, coś się zaczyna, 2000), 8 stories. Only two of its stories are related to The Witcher saga ("The Road with No Return" and the titular "Something Ends, Something Begins").
  • The Malady and Other Stories (pl:Maladie i inne opowiadania, 2012), 10 stories. It includes the 8 stories from Something ends, Something begins plus two new stories that aren't related to The Witcher saga. The only one of its stories that was translated into English is the titular "The Malady" which was published in 2014 under the title The Malady and Other Stories, although that English publication didn't include the other 9 stories from the Polish collection of the same name.[citation needed]


Standalone novel[edit]

  • Season of Storms (Sezon burz, 2013). English edition: 22 May 2018 – set between the short stories in The Last Wish.[31]

Hussite Trilogy[edit]

Other novels[edit]

Other works[edit]

  • The Eye of Yrrhedes (Oko Yrrhedesa, 1995), roleplaying game.
  • The World of King Arthur. Maladie (Świat króla Artura. Maladie, 1995), essay and an illustrated short story set in Arthurian mythology.
  • Manuscript Discovered in a Dragon's Cave (Rękopis znaleziony w Smoczej Jaskini, 2001), fantasy encyclopedic compendium.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Andrzej Sapkowski".
  2. ^ НО МЫ ЖЕ СЛАВЯНЕ! РАЗГОВОР С АНДЖЕЕМ САПКОВСКИМ, An interview with Sapkowski for Russian monthly magazine "World of Fatnastics"
  3. ^ a b (in Polish) Marek Oramus Jedynie słuszny wizerunek wiedźmina, Polityka – nr 36 (2261) from 2000-09-02; pp. 52–54
  4. ^ The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski , fantasybookreview
  5. ^ "The Last Wish Cover Reveal. . . of sorts!". Gollancz blog. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  6. ^ "Blood of elves".
  7. ^ "The final 2008 longlist for the David Gemmell Legends Award". 1 January 2009. Archived from the original on 6 February 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  8. ^ Alison Flood, Gemmell prize for fantasy goes to Polish novel, Blood of Elves, Guardian, Friday 19 June 2009
  9. ^ "Before Netflix Adapted 'The Witcher,' There Was A Polish Version of the TV Series". The Inquisitr. 25 December 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  10. ^ "The Witcher Official Website – Official Release Date!". Archived from the original on 9 July 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2007.
  11. ^ Robinson, Andy (16 January 2010). "Witcher 2 release date confirmed". CVG. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  12. ^ Karmali, Luke (8 December 2014). "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt release date delayed again". IGN. Archived from the original on 29 March 2015.
  13. ^ Stanhope, Kate (17 May 2017). "'The Witcher' Saga TV Series Adaptation Ordered at Netflix". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  14. ^ "10 ciekawostek o Andrzeju Sapkowskim". 24 February 2017.
  15. ^ "Wszelka władza w ręce bab". 13 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Анджей Сапковский".
  17. ^ "sfadb: World Fantasy Awards 2016".
  18. ^ "Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski wręczył medale „Zasłużony Kulturze - Gloria Artis”", 14 April, 2014
  19. ^ Gloria Artis award database Archived 28 November 2018 at the Wayback Machine, award dated by 10 October 2012
  20. ^ "2010 – 2019 – European Science Fiction Society".
  21. ^ Flood, Alison (19 June 2009). "Gemmell prize for fantasy goes to Polish novel, Blood of Elves". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  22. ^ "Andrzej Sapkowski - biography". October 2010.
  23. ^ "1990 – 1999 – European Science Fiction Society".
  24. ^ Orliński, Wojciech (26 October 2005). "Historia i fantastyka, Bereś, Stanisław; Sapkowski, Andrzej". (in Polish). Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  25. ^ "Sword of Destiny".
  26. ^ Sapkowski, Andrzej. (2008). The last wish. Stok, Danusia. London: Gollancz. ISBN 978-0-575-08244-1. OCLC 861342636.
  27. ^ "A Polish Book of Monsters: Five Dark Tales from Contemporary Poland".
  28. ^ Amazon page
  29. ^ "ISBN Unavailable". Orion Publishing Group. Archived from the original on 26 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  30. ^ a b "Gollancz Acquire Three More Witcher Novels". Gollancz blog. Archived from the original on 19 June 2018. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  31. ^ Aleksandra Ksann. "Sezon Burz - Wiedźmin - Andrzej Sapkowski - Serwis o filmach, książkach, grach i technologiach". Archived from the original on 13 March 2014.
  32. ^ "A brand new fantasy trilogy by Andrzej Sapkowski, New York Times bestselling author of the Witcher novels!". Orbit Books. Retrieved 23 April 2020.

External links[edit]