In recent years the annual Prague Writers’ Festival has done much to promote writing from North Africa and the Middle East in the Czech Republic. This year was no exception, with the award-winning Algerian novelist Kamel Daoud and the Egyptian poet Mohamed Metwalli prominent among the writers taking part. David Vaughan caught up with Mohamed Metwalli to talk about his poetry, the complexities of writing in Egypt today and the pleasures of Prague beer.
The annual Prague Writers’ Festival, which brings together prominent writers and thinkers from around the world, gets underway in Prague on Friday. The 26th edition of the festival focuses on the theme of Crime and Punishment in a world where the destruction of universal human values often leads to extreme individualism. As always, the festival brings a number of guests, including US writer Chuck Palahniuk.
The 26th Prague Writers’ Festival will welcome the South African writer J.M. Coetzee and US novelist Chuck Palahniuk, organisers announced on Tuesday. The theme of this year’s festival, which takes place in October, is crime and punishment. Other scheduled guests include Egyptian poet Mohamed El-Baaly and Yan Lianke, a Chinese writer and recipient of the 2014 Franz Kafka Prize.
The 25th Prague Writers’ Festival is underway in Prague. The three-day event, which brings together prominent writers and thinkers from around the world, this year revolves around a particularly topical theme – that of fear: fear of the unknown, fear of occupation, fear of change. Among the invited authors are Samuel Shimon from Iraq, Mahmoud Dowlatabadi fom Iran and Constantine Kokossis from Greece who will receive the Spiros Vergos Prize for Freedom of Expression. All festival events are being broadcast live by Czech Television.
The 23rd annual Prague Writers’ Festival began in the Czech capital on Wednesday. The event kicked off with a reading by Czech author Vladimír Körner. The biggest name at this year’s festival is the Noble Prize-winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk; other guests include Mary Heimann, writer of the divisive Czechoslovakia: The State That Failed, Egypt’s Sonallah Ibrahim, Miguel Sousa Tavares of Portugal, and other authors. The Prague authorities have significantly reduced their financial support for the festival which will only last for three days instead of the usual week.
Wednesday sees the launch of the 23rd Prague Writers’ Festival, whose highlights will include appearances by one of the most important guests the event has ever brought to the Czech capital: the Noble Prize-winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk. However, problems surrounding funding mean that this year’s festival will be the shortest to date.
Final preparations are underway for the 23rd Prague Writers’ Festival, which begins in the Czech capital on Wednesday. The biggest name at this year’s festival will be the Nobel Prize-winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, while other guests will include Mary Heimann, writer of the divisive Czechoslovakia: The State That Failed. The Prague authorities have said they will significantly reduce their financial support for the Prague Writers’ Festival next year.
Organisers have confirmed that Turkish Nobel prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk will attend the Prague Writers’ Festival in April. The vice-president of the festival, Vlasta Brtníková, told the Czech news agency on Friday that the festival had already secured the author a return plane ticket. She compared his attendance at the festival to that of author Salman Rushdie in 2001. Others who have attended the Prague Writer’s Festival in past years include Margaret Atwood, Irvine Welsh and Yann Martel.
It was apt that one of the participants in this year’s Prague Writers’ Festival was the Egyptian novelist Hamdy el-Gazzar, who played an active part in the dramatic events last spring on Cairo’s Tahrir Square. It is no coincidence that the revolutions across North Africa and the Middle East came to be known as the “Arab Spring”, taking their name from events in Czechoslovakia – the Prague Spring – over forty years earlier. You do not have to look far to find parallels between the atmosphere of then and now, and the events of ’68 are also a warning
Undoubtedly the most famous guest at this year’s Prague Writers’ Festival, the British novelist, screenwriter and playwright Hanif Kureishi rose to international fame in 1985, with his screenplay for the film “My Beautiful Laundrette”. Since then, he published the novel “The Buddha of Suburbia” to great acclaim and continues to write extensively, both for the screen and works of fiction. Ahead of his first reading at the festival, I asked him about his work, why he enjoys the short story form and if he had previously visited Prague.