Saturday, 7 September, is National Reading Day organized by the Polish President since 2012. This year, 8 short stories by Polish authors are being read at 3000 locations all over Poland as well as abroad.
A record number of people took part in the National Reading organised in 2018, the centennial of Poland's recovery of independence. The first edition of the event, conceived as a way of promoting readership, launched with Adam Mickiewicz's great epic poem "Pan Tadeusz", and over the years has included such Polish classics as “The Trilogy” by Henryk Sienkiewicz, “The Doll” by Bolesław Prus, “Quo Vadis” by Henryk Sienkiewicz and “The Wedding” by Stanisław Wyspiański.
Reading events on National Reading Day are now organized by small communities and neighbourhood groups, as well as schools, libraries, theatres, on trains and public transport, in hospitals and even at army training grounds and prisons.
This year's choice was selected by the Presidential couple out of a proposed 100 literary works and includes stories by Polish writers from the 19th and 20th century: Maria Konopnicka, Eliza Orzeszkowa, Bolesław Prus, Władysław Reymont, Henryk Rzewuski, Bruno Schulz, Henryk Sienkiewicz and Stefan Żeromski. In the words of President Andrzej Duda “The common denominator of this selection is the Polish identity blended with universal content and insights into individual and society. With their concise form, exquisite style and vividness, they leave an indelible impression on readers. (…)"
In a letter promoting the event, President Duda added that he hoped this variety meant that everybody would be able to join in and contribute. "Besides the promotion of readership, this project proves that the beauty of Polish literature has the power to unite us around common goals and values,” wrote President Duda for National Reading Day.