20 best genre fiction writers from other countries to expand your horizons

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6. Andrzej Sapkowski

You are probably at least passingly familiar with the popular Witcher video game, but the sprawling fantasy world of the series has been around since the 1990s. Central character Geralt of Rivia had his start in an immensely popular fantasy novel series written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.

Actually, Sapkowski first started writing about the Witcher universe in Fantastyka, a Polish science fiction and fantasy magazine. He eventually collected those short stories into two anthologies before starting in on longer-form novels. The first novel, Blood of Elves, was published in 1994 and translated into English in 2008.

Of course, just because something isn’t translated into English doesn’t mean it can’t be popular. Indeed, Sapkowski’s work had become a cult hit long before it debuted in America, making him one of the most popular genre fiction writers in Europe.


So, what exactly is a “witcher”? Turns out that it’s actually a job description, and a pretty cool one at that. More than a millennia before the events of the series takes place, an event known as the “Conjunction of the Spheres” occurs. This disaster brings all sorts of creepy beings into our world, including monsters like vampires and werewolves. A witcher is a person (usually a man, though not always) who has been trained for many years to battle these monsters.

Throughout their training process, Witchers are given mutagens that grant them cool powers and a longer lifespan. However, it also leaves them sterile. This means that Witchers, in order to keep filling their ranks, have to resort to folklore style tricks, such as asking for the first thing or person to greet someone when they return home.

Witchers, as you might expect, are not terribly popular people. Still, their adventures are pretty fun to read and fill hundreds upon hundreds of pages. If you’re ready for a new saga, then dive in.