Andrzej Sapkowski is a Polish fantasy writer. He is best known for his book series, The Witcher. His books have been translated into over 20 languages.
BiographySapkowski 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" 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. 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.
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. The world in which these adventures take place is heavily influenced by Slavic mythology.
Translations of his books and other derivative worksSapkowski'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. From 2008, the Witcher saga is published by Gollancz. The English translation of Sapkowski's novel Blood of Elves won the David Gemmell Legend Award in 2009.
In 2001, a television series based on the Witcher cycle was released in Poland and internationally, entitled Wiedźmin. A film by the same title was compiled from excerpts of the television series but both have been critical and box office failures.
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. The sequel, ' was released in 2011. The third game in the trilogy, ', was released in May 2015.
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.
Personal lifeSapkowski admitted that The Witcher series was created at the request of his son, who was an avid reader of the Polish Fantastyka magazine.
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".
He resides in his hometown of Łódź in central Poland.
Awards and recognitionSapkowski is a recipient of numerous awards from Polish fandom. Sapkowski has won five Zajdel Awards, including three for short stories "Mniejsze zło" , "Miecz przeznaczenia" and "W leju po bombie" , and two for the novels, Krew elfów and Narrenturm. He also won the Spanish Ignotus Award, best anthology, for The Last Wish in 2003, and for Muzykanci, 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 and was awarded, the readers' award of the magazine, in 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2007.
Since 2008, he has been an honorary citizen of the city of Łódź.
- 2016: World Fantasy Award—Life Achievement for The Witcher saga
- 2014: Silver medal Gloria Artis, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland
- 2012: Silver medal Gloria Artis, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland
- 2010: European Science Fiction Society "European Grand Master" honorary award
- 2009: David Gemmell Legend Award
- 1997: Polityka's Passport award, which is awarded annually to artists who have strong prospects for international success
- 1996: European Science Fiction Society Hall of Fame: author
The Witcher Saga
Short story collections
- The Witcher, 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, 6 stories. English edition: 2015
- The Last Wish, 7 stories. English edition: 2007. Its stories 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 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 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.
- Something Ends, Something Begins, 8 stories. Only two of its stories are related to The Witcher saga.
- The Malady and Other Stories, 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.
- Blood of Elves. English edition: 2009.
- Time of Contempt. English edition: 27 June 2013.
- Baptism of Fire. English edition: 6 March 2014.
- The Tower of Swallows. English edition: May 2016.
- Lady of the Lake. English edition: 14 March 2017.
- Season of Storms. English edition: 22 May 2018 – set between the short stories in The Last Wish.
- The Tower of Fools. English edition: 2020
- Warriors of God.
- Lux perpetua.
- Viper, a stand-alone novel set during the Soviet–Afghan War.
- The Eye of Yrrhedes, roleplaying game.
- The World of King Arthur. Maladie, essay and an illustrated short story set in Arthurian mythology.
- Manuscript Discovered in a Dragon's Cave, fantasy encyclopedic compendium.