Andrzej Sapkowski

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Andrzej Sapkowski
Andrzej Sapkowski - Book World Fair 2010 Prague.jpg
Sapkowski at Book World Fair in Prague in 2010
Born (1948-06-21) 21 June 1948 (age 66)
Łódź, Poland
Occupation Novelist
Citizenship Polish
Period 1986–present
Genre Fantasy, history
Notable works The Witcher Saga
The Hussite Trilogy
Notable awards Janusz A. Zajdel Award
Paszport Polityki


Andrzej Sapkowski (Polish pronunciation: [ˈandʐɛj sapˈkɔfskʲi]; born 21 June 1948) is a Polish fantasy writer. He is best known for his best-selling book series The Witcher.

In 2012 Sapkowski was awarded the Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis.[1]


Sapkowski studied economics, 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. Being an expert in marketing, he says 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 many 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, a mutant hunter who has been trained since childhood to hunt down and destroy monsters. 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]

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 1997, Sapkowski won the prestigious Polityka's Passport award,[5] which is awarded annually to artists who have strong prospects for international success.

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.

Sapkowski's books have been translated into Czech, Hungarian, Russian, Lithuanian, German, Spanish, French, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Finnish, Slovak, Bulgarian, Serbian, English, Italian, Dutch, Estonian and Swedish. An English translation of The Last Wish short story collection was published by Gollancz in 2007.[6] From 2008 the Witcher saga is published by Gollancz.[7]

Sapkowski novels on display in a Polish bookstore

The Polish game publisher, CD Projekt, created a role-playing PC game based on this universe, called The Witcher, which was released in October 2007.[8] There is also a mobile version of the game which has been created by Breakpoint Games and is being published by Hands-On Mobile[9] in Western Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific. The sequel, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was released in 2011. Finally, closing the Witcher trilogy of games will be the upcoming The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, developed and directed by CD Projekt Red. This last part of the Witcher video game saga is set for a May 2015 release window for PC, Sony's PS4, and Microsoft's Xbox One.

The English translation of Sapkowski's novel Blood of Elves won the David Gemmell Legend Award in 2009.[10][11]


The Witcher Saga[edit]

Short story collections[edit]

  • The Witcher (Wiedźmin, 1990), 5 stories (4 were reprinted in The Last Wish, one in Something ends, Something begins).
  • The Sword of Destiny (Miecz przeznaczenia, 1992), 6 stories.
  • The Last Wish (Ostatnie życzenie, 1993), 7 stories. English edition: 2007 (in US: 2008).
  • The short story "Spellmaker" in A Polish Book of Monsters (edited translated by Michael Kandel, 2010) is another translation (by Michael Kandel) of the short story "The Witcher" from The Witcher .[12]
  • Something ends, Something begins (Coś się kończy, coś się zaczyna, 2000), 8 stories (only two are related to The Witcher saga).
  • Maladie and other stories (Maladie i inne opowiadania, 2012), 10 stories (only two are related to The Witcher saga).

The Saga[edit]

Standalone novels[edit]

  • Season of Storms (Sezon burz, 2013) – a prequel taking place before the events of The Witcher.[15]

The Hussite Trilogy[edit]

Other novels[edit]

Other works[edit]


Sapkowski is a recipient of numerous awards from Polish fandom, as well as two European Science Fiction Society awards (1996, 2010), the The David Gemmell Legend Award for Fantasy (2009), and several Russian fandom awards,[16]

Preceded by
Alain le Bussy
ESFS award for Best Author
Succeeded by
Rafał A. Ziemkiewicz


External links[edit]