Novelist Alex Vella Gera made headlines in his native Malta in 2009 when he found himself in court over a short story deemed obscene by the authorities. The piece had been written several years earlier, during a spell the writer – then in his 20s – spent living in Prague in the second half of the 1990s. Vella Gera has just been back in the Czech capital for the first time since then for a short visit. When he came into our studios, I asked what for him had been the appeal of ‘90s Prague. More
A court in Brno has cleared the publishers of Adolf Hitler’s speeches of charges of propagating Nazism. The regional court on Friday upheld the verdict of a court in Brno issued in September last year, which found no evidence that the collection of Hitler’s speeches promoted the Nazi ideology. Two co-owners of a Brno-based publishing house, Guidemedia, and an editor faced up to ten years in jail on charges of propagating Nazism. The book, which was released in 2012, consists of 18 addresses delivered by the Nazi dictator between 1939 and 1942.
Czech author Miloš Urban has written such novels as The Seven Churches and Lord Mord. His works have been translated into a variety of languages asides from Czech, including English, Polish, Spanish and Hungarian. He is also a prolific short story writer, and has translated books by such authors as Julian Barnes, Graham Masterton and Rose Tremain into Czech. He also works at the Czech publishing house Argo. More
As of January 1st, Czechs should save money on books, baby food and medicines which are now subject to a lower 10 percent value added tax. More
Specialists have been conducting an extensive inventory of items at a villa in Prague 10 which was once owned by writer Karel Čapek and his brother Josef. Included on the list, is a trove of original sketches, drawings and handwritten letters found in a secret safe, reported just this week. More
Rachael Weiss is an Australian author with Czech roots, who has just published her second book about Prague, based on her own experience of living in the Czech capital. The memoir, called The Thing about Prague, is chock-full of entertaining stories about how she went about looking for a job, finding an apartment and trying to blend in with Czechs. On the occasion of the book launch, I asked Rachael Weiss what made her write yet another book dedicated to Prague: More
Even if you have never read anything by the great German novelist Thomas Mann, you will almost certainly have come across Visconti’s film of his most famous novella, “Death in Venice”. Thomas Mann is the best known member of one of Germany’s most celebrated literary families. Several of his children also had literary careers, but it is Thomas Mann’s elder brother Heinrich, born in 1871, who is the focus of this week’s Czech Books. Also a novelist, he had close associations with Czechoslovakia. David Vaughan explores the Czech branch of the Mann family. More
A former close associate of President Miloš Zeman has launched an attack on the head of state in a new book. Miroslav Šlouf worked with Mr. Zeman while he was leader of the Social Democrats and is regarded as having masterminded his presidential campaign. In Jak se dobývá Hrad (How to Conquer the Castle), he says that Mr. Zeman’s behaviour is increasingly determined by three negative traits: unpredictable mood swings, dogged obstinacy and practically non-existent social intelligence. The president broke off contact with Mr. Šlouf after his election in January least year.
The poet, playwright and novelist Irena Eliášová spent her early childhood in a Romany village in south-western Slovakia. The memory of this time has become the defining experience in her writing. But Irena does not write just about the lost world of her childhood in the 1950s and 60s. She has also written powerfully and poignantly about the life of Roma in the Czech Republic today. Yet even when she writes about the present, her work is permeated with a sense of family and community that also draws us back to an older world of Roma tradition. David Vaughan meets one of the Czech Republic’s foremost Romany writers. More
Czech writer Jan Němec was given the EU Prize for Literature for 2014 at a ceremony in Brussels on Tuesday night. The 33-year-old Němec was awarded for his novel Historie světla or A History of Light, based on the life of the famous Czech photographer František Drtikol. The prize, accompanied by 5,000 Euros, is dedicated to new and emerging European authors. Jan Němec is the second Czech writer to receive the prize after Tomáš Zmeškal, who was awarded the EU Prize for Literature in 2011.