Ryszard Kapuscinski Biography

Ryszard Kapuściński (March 4, 1932 – January 23, 2007) was a Polish journalist and writer whose dispatches in book form brought him a global reputation. Also a photographer and poet, he was born in Pińsk—now in Belarus—in the Kresy Wschodnie or eastern borderlands of the second Polish Republic, into poverty: he would say later that he felt at home in Africa as "food was scarce there too and everyone was also barefoot". Kapuściński himself called his work "literary reportage", and reportage d'auteur. In the English-speaking world, his genre is sometimes characterised as "magic journalism" (in counterpoint to magic realism), a term coined for him by Adam Hochschild in 1994. More recently, during the period since his death, scholars have indicated the similarities between Kapuściński's style of writing and the traditional Polish form known as the gawęda szlachecka. He was one of the top Polish writers most frequently translated into foreign languages, having been surpassed on this count only by the Nobel Prize-winner, Wisława Szymborska.