September 26, 2016 Karola Gajda

Poles in the UK book launch

New book ‘Poles in the UK’ launches

I had the huge pleasure of attending the launch yesterday of a new important book ‘Poles in the UK: A Story of Friendship and Cooperation’ by writer Brin Best, from Otley, and Leeds-based Polish author Maria Helena Zukowska. The book is available on Amazon and the event was held at the Leeds Catholic Centre.

Why do I call the book important? Because it is all about the great contribution Poles have made to the UK.

Poles in the UK book

Brin and Maria have created a book (you can see and like their Poles in the UK Facebook page here) that collates all kind of interviews and amazing facts about Poland. I know I’m going to love it, learn from it – and be dipping into it all the time.

I also finally met writer B.E. Andre (pictured on stage below) who read two wonderful extracts from her novel ‘With Blood And Scars’, which touches on Stalin’s deportation of Poles to Siberia. I’ve just started reading it and I can already identify with a lot of it because of our shared Polish upbringing in the north of England. It was also great to meet and connect with a writer who, like me, wanted to write about a tragic part of Polish history so few people know about.

The event reminded me a lot of  the Polish functions I took part in as I grew up in a Polish community in Doncaster – going to Polish school and being part of Polish do’s and dances (I remember them like they happened only yesterday, in particular one occasion where aged about 8, I had to stand dressed up as a mushroom with a broad paper hat on my head and wrapped up in a sheet).

Poles in the UK launch

Maria Helena Zukowska presented the event and I think she should be snapped up by the BBC as I’ve rarely seen someone link so many varied pieces in such a poised, clear and engaging way.

I also met some ladies, Basia Domzal-Karpowicz and her daughter Maja who amazingly, saw my theatre show My Polish Roots and Other Vegetables ten years ago in Edinburgh. Maja has contributed to the section on Polish geography.

The top photo of the lovely Polish heritage art tree is by Adrianna Green.

To learn so much about Poland old and new, buy Poles in the UK here and B.E. Andre’s novel here. And finally, you can buy my book here.

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