Katarzyna Boni

Katarzyna Boni was selected for the 2023 Shortlist with The eye of the whale.

Katarzyna Boni is a Polish freelance writer and reporter who writes about trauma, loss, grief, and hope.

Her major interest lies in people’s capacity to deal with a new reality (be it a reality created by political decisions or natural catastrophes) and individual efforts to change that reality. She writes about war refugees, people traumatized by natural disasters, and those caught in the middle of the climate crisis. Humanity’s strength and resilience never cease to surprise me and they fill me with hope.

For several years, Boni has been writing about the climate crisis and how it edges us into a new reality. She investigates how we can deal with the anxiety that the crisis has generated, and how we can find ways to live in this new world. In her recent work, she tries to make space for non-humans and their perspective. She believes that becoming less anthropocentric can help us to deal with the Anthropocene.

Boni is an author of three non-fiction books for adults, one children’s book (fiction) about the ocean and its creatures, many essays, and several short stories. Her first book (“The Container”), written together with Wojciech Tochman, described the fate of Syrian refugees living in one of the biggest camps in the world in the Jordanian desert. Her second book (“Ganbare! Workshops on dying”) told a story of loss and grief in post-tsunami Japan. It showed how people rebuilt themselves and their communities from scratch, but it also showed how deeply the grief can penetrate – even three, four, or five years after the tsunami. Her third book (“Auroville. A city from dreams”) was an attempt to explain Auroville – a universal utopia built in 1968 on Indian land by people from all over the world with the support of UNESCO. The city – built by those traumatized by World War II and the Vietnam War – was supposed to be a place for human unity. I was curious what was left from this dream after 50 years of the city’s existence. I lived there for a year to see if building a better world is at all possible. Currently, she is working on a book about grief during the climate crisis.

Boni’s work has received several national awards and national and international nominations.