Andrzej Sapkowski: Meet the Man Behind The Witcher Series


Andrzej Sapkowski

Fantasy Writer

A successful Polish fantasy writer, Andrzej Sapkowski is best-known for his series The Witcher. Originating from Sapkowski’s first short story, The Witcher, it chronicles the story of

Andrzej Sapkowski Life and Career

Andrzej Sapkowski, born June 21, 1948 in Łódź, Poland, is a highly successful fantasy writer. An economist by education, he had worked as a senior sales representative for a foreign trade company before turning to writing. 

Sapkowski is of Polish nobility descent and his ancestors lived in the Kaunas region for centuries. His paternal grandfather served in the Imperial Russian Army for several years. After his service, Sapkowski’s grandfather moved his family to Russia. During the Russian Revolution, the Sapkowski family moved once again to Lithuania, and from there, the family moved permanently to Łódź, Poland. 

After working as a senior sales representative, Andrzej Sapkowski turned to writing. Originally, he worked as a translator for Fantastyka, a Polish magazine, before winning third-place in the company’s fantasy fiction competition – a competition that his son encouraged him to join. Though it came third, his short-story The Witcher (Wiedźmin) was massively successful with both critics and readers. Capitalizing on its success, Sapkowski created a series of tales based on the world of The Witcher, involving five novels and three collections of short stories. These series of tales and his many other works have made him one of the most successful and well-known fantasy authors in Poland in the 1990s. 

Today, Sapkowski and his wife continue to live in Łódź, Poland. They had one son, Krzysztof Sapkowski, who unfortunately passed away in June 2019. The Witcher was actually created at the request of Krzysztof, who was a big fan of the Polish Fantastyka magazine. Without inspiration from his son, Sapkowski would not have submitted to his short story into the fantasy writing contest – without Krzysztof, the witcher Geralt of Rivia would never have been conceived.

Andrzej Sapkowski Net Worth

With the success of The Witcher and his other works, Andrzej Sapkowski is one of the most prolific Polish fantasy writers. Due to that, Sapkowski has a multi-million dollar net worth, with a decent amount of earnings.

Originally, Sapkowski received 35,000PLN (approximately $9,500) paid in two installments for the license to The Witcher 1. At the time, Sapkowski wanted the payment upfront; he had no interest in video games and was only looking at the deal from a financial standpoint – a decision that he later regretted. In 2018, Sapkowski publicly demanded more than $16 million in royalties from CD Projekt Red who developed The Witcher games. The issue was settled on December 20, 2019, when CD Projekt Red, developer of The Witcher video games, and Andrzej Sapkowski, author of The Witcher novels, signed a new licensing agreement.

Andrzej Sapkowski Books and Translations

Andrzej Sapkowski is best known for The Witcher, but that is not all that he wrote. He is also well-known for his other trilogies, standalone novels, and short stories. 

Sapkowski’s books have been translated into several languages: Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Georgian, German, Hungarian, Italian, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and Ukrainian.

His most notable works include:

The Witcher Series

Short Story Collections

  • Witcher (Wiedźmin) (1990)
  • The Last Wish (Ostatnie życzenie) (1993; English edition 2007)
  • Sword of Destiny (Miecz przeznaczenia) (1992; English edition 2015)
  • Something Ends, Something Begins (Coś się kończy, coś się zaczyna) (2000)

Note: The Last Wish Andrzej Sapkowski. Although The Last Wish was published after Sword of Destiny, it is considered as the first book of the series as it includes all the stories in The Witcher. It also includes new short stories which take place before the events in Sword of Destiny. 

The Witcher Saga

  • Blood of Elves (Krew elfów) (1994; English edition 2009) 
  • The Time of Contempt (Czas pogardy) (1995; English edition 2013)
  • Baptism of Fire (Chrzest Ognia) (1996; English edition 2014)
  • The Tower of the Swallow (Wieża Jaskółki) (1997; English edition 2016)
  • The Lady of the Lake (Pani Jeziora) (1999; English edition 2017)
  • Standalone Novel 
  • Season of Storms (1999; English edition 2017)

Non-Witcher Works

Hussite Trilogy (or Narrenturm Trilogy)

  • Narrenturm (2002)
  • Warriors of God (2004)
  • Lux perpetua (2006)
  • Other Works
  • The Eye of Yrrhedes (Oko Yrrhedesa) (1995) – A roleplaying game
  • The World of King Arthur. The Malady. (Świat króla Artura. Maladie.) (1995) – An essay and a short story based on Arthurian mythology 
  • Manuscript Discovered in a Dragon’s Cave (Rękopis znaleziony w Smoczej Jaskini) (2001) – A fantasy encyclopedic collection
  • Żmija (Viper) 2009 – A historical fantasy novel set in a Soviet occupied Afghanistan

Andrzej Sapkowski Witcher Books, Games, and Other Adaptations

The Witcher (Wiedźmin) is a fantasy series of short stories and novels written by Andrzej Sapkowski. 

The series revolves around Geralt of Rivia, a mutant assassin who has been trained since childhood to hunt and destroy monsters. Geralt is a “witcher” – a genetically enhanced human with supernatural abilities designed to slay monsters and beasts. The world in which The Witcher takes place is heavily influenced by Slavic mythology.

From 1993 to 1995, Sapkowski, in collaboration with Maciej Parowski (story) and Bogusław Polch (art), adapted The Witcher stories into six comic books: The Road with No Return (Droga bez powrotu), Geralt (based on the short story Wiedźmin/The Witcher), The Lesser Evil (Mniejsze zło), The Last Wish (Ostatnie życzenie), The Bounds of Reason (Granica możliwości), and Betrayal (Zdrada)

In 2013, Dark Horse Comics, in collaboration with CD Projekt Red, announced a comic book series entitled The Witcher based on the video-game series. 

A television series entitled, Wiedźmin (The Hexer), was released in Poland and internationally in 2001 – it was based on The Witcher stories. A film by the same title was developed based on excerpts from the television series; unfortunately, both the television series and the film were not successful. 

The Polish game developer, CD Projekt Red, developed an action role-playing game based on The Witcher series. The first game, The Witcher was released in October 2007. The game was massively successful, and its sequel, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was released in 2011. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the third game in the trilogy, was released in May 2015. 

A Netflix adaptation of The Witcher was released in December 2019. Produced by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, it is based on the book series of the same name by Andrzej Sapkowski – it isn’t tied to the Witcher game franchise developed by CD Projekt Red. Sapkowski serves as a creative consultant on the project.

Andrzej Sapkowski Awards

In 1996, Sapkowski was inducted into the European Science Fiction Society Hall of Fame. 

In 1997, Sapkowski won the Polityka’s Passport Award – a prestigious award presented annually to artists who have strong prospects for international success. From then on, Sapkowski has been continually recognized for his literary prowess and has been a recipient of numerous awards. 

He has won five Zajdel Awards – three for short stories, Lesser Evil (Mniejsze zło), Sword of Destiny (Miecz przeznaczenia), and In a Bomb Crater (W leju po bombie); and two for the novels, Blood of Elves (Krew elfów) and Narrenturm. In 2003, he was nominated for Poland’s most prestigious literary prizes, Nike Award for his work, Narrenturm

He has also received the following honors:

In 2008, Sapkowski was made an honorary citizen of the city of Łódź. 

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