Andrzej Sapkowski

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Andrzej Sapkowski
Andrzej Sapkowski - Lucca Comics and Games 2015 2.JPG
Sapkowski at Lucca Comics and Games 2015
Born (1948-06-21) 21 June 1948 (age 68)
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
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, former translator and economist. He is best known for his widely popular book series, The Witcher. His books have been translated so far into nineteen languages.[1]


Sapkowski novels on display at an Empik store 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. Being an expert in marketing[citation needed], 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 2003 he was nominated for one of Poland's most prestigious literary prizes Nike Award for his novel Narrenturm.

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

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

In 2012 Sapkowski was awarded the Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis.[6]

Translations of his books and other derivative works[edit]

Sapkowski's books have been translated into Czech, Hungarian, Russian, Lithuanian, German, Spanish, French, Chinese, 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.[7] From 2008, the Witcher saga is published by Gollancz.[8] The English translation of Sapkowski's novel Blood of Elves won the David Gemmell Legend Award in 2009.[9][10]

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.

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.[11] The sequel, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was released in 2011. The third and final game in the trilogy, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, was released in May 2015.


Sapkowski is a recipient of numerous awards from Polish fandom, as well as two European Science Fiction Society awards (1996, 2010), David Gemmell Legend Award (2009), and several Russian fandom awards.[12] In 2016 he received World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement.

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


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).
  • Sword of Destiny (Miecz przeznaczenia, 1992), 6 stories. English edition(e-book): 19 May 2015 [13]
  • 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 .[14]
  • 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).

Series novels[edit]

Standalone novels[edit]

The Hussite Trilogy[edit]

Other novels[edit]

Other works[edit]


  1. ^ "Andrzej Sapkowski - Biografia". 
  2. ^ НО МЫ ЖЕ СЛАВЯНЕ! РАЗГОВОР С АНДЖЕЕМ САПКОВСКИМ, An interview with Sapkowski for Russian monthly magazine "World of Fatnastics"
  3. ^ a b (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. ^ "Andrzej Sapkowski - biography". October 2010. 
  6. ^ Informacja na stronie
  7. ^ "The Last Wish Cover Reveal. . . of sorts!". Gollancz blog. 
  8. ^ "Blood of elves". 
  9. ^ "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. 
  10. ^ Alison Flood, Gemmell prize for fantasy goes to Polish novel, Blood of Elves, Guardian, Friday 19 June 2009
  11. ^ "The Witcher Official Website – Official Release Date!". Archived from the original on 9 July 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2007. 
  12. ^ "Анджей Сапковский". 
  13. ^ "Sword of Destiny". 
  14. ^ "A Polish Book of Monsters: Five Dark Tales from Contemporary Poland". 
  15. ^ Amazon page
  16. ^ "ISBN Unavailable". Orion Publishing Group. 
  17. ^ a b "Gollancz Acquire Three More Witcher Novels". Gollancz blog. 
  18. ^ Aleksandra Ksann. "Sezon Burz - Wiedźmin - Andrzej Sapkowski - Serwis o filmach, książkach, grach i technologiach". 

External links[edit]