Publishers that focus on contemporary writing from Central Europe are few and far between, but they play an important role in bringing Czech poetry and prose to an international audience. One of the newest players is Jantar Publishing, based in London. In just a few years it has established a strong reputation with its beautifully produced translations, several of which we have already talked about here on Radio Prague. As David Vaughan finds out in this week’s Czech Books, Jantar is going from strength to strength with ambitious plans for the
The Magnesia Litera award for Czech book of the year has gone to Točité věty (Spiral Sentences) by Daniela Hodrová. The judges described it as a powerful work reflecting on friendship, memory and man’s ultimate concerns. Ms. Hodrová, who is a literary theoretician and is in her late 60s, picked up the award and a cheque for CZK 200,000 at a ceremony at the New Stage of the National Theatre in Prague on Tuesday night.
There are some novels that take us on a journey to a place, either real or imagined; others take us into the world of the mind. Every now and then a novelist manages to do both. Such is the case with Daniela Hodrová and her novel “Podobojí’ which has just been translated into English for the first time under the title “Kingdom of Souls”. It is also a brilliant book to read if you are visiting Prague, as we recognize a city that is intensely physical but at the same time shifting in time and space, in imagination and memory. David Vaughan finds out
The novel The Prague Cemetery, by the Italian author Umberto Eco, has won the daily Lidové noviny’s prestigious Book of the Year poll. The book about conspiracy theories received the highest number of votes – 11 – from some 200 writers, translators, critics, and others, invited to take part in the poll, first time held in 1928. Second came Martin Hilský’s translation of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, and third a publication marking the 20th anniversary of the Torst publishing house.
As is customary on the Day of Czechoslovak Independence, the Czech president awarded the highest honours of the land last week to doctors and scientists, soldiers and artists, political prisoners and everyday heroes. Many received the orders of the Czech Republic after tremendous travails, one after giving his own life.
President Václav Klaus on Friday awarded state decorations and honours. WWII veterans Mikuláš Končický, Jan Velík and Václav Djačuk received the Order of the White Lion, the highest Czech decoration; the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was awarded to seven people who were jailed by the Nazis or the Communists; the Medal of Courage was awarded in memoriam to a 16-year-old boy who died when he was saving his drowning friend, and the Medal of Merit was handed to 16 people including translator Martin Hislký, ski jump champion Jiří Raška, the jazz musician Emil Viklický, the cartoonist Vladimír Renčín, and others.
Author Daniela Hodrová has been named the laureate for this year’s state prize for literature for her latest novel Vyvolávání and also previous work. Martin Hilský received the state for prize for his translations of works by Shakespeare. The results were announced on Wednesday. Jury head Vladimír Novotný praised Ms Hodrová work, saying long intervals between publication (not publishing four books a year) showed her dedication and ‘aesthetic responsibility’.
Last week, some 600 Shakespeare scholars came to Prague for the 9th World Shakespeare Congress, an international academic events that has previously been held in such cities as Brisbane, Berlin or Los Angeles. Among the guests was the Australian scholar Peter Holbrook, a member of the International Shakespeare Association’s Congress Committee and author of a book titled “Shakespeare’s Individualism.” In this interview, he speaks about his central thesis, Shakespeare research in different countries and what his experience at the congress has been