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Wislawa Szymborska was Poland’s fourth winner of the literature Nobel but she could have been my great aunt

When Wislawa Szymborska won the Nobel prize for literature, I was at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The announcement of the prize always falls like clockwork in the middle of the fair, each October. I’d not heard of her. A better-informed Dutch journalist, the late Michael Zeeman, wrote out her name for me.

Just over two years later I interviewed her in Krakow, a visit I recalled vividly when I heard…

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